Antibiotic-resistant acne: getting under the skin

Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2016 Jun;35(2):62-7. doi: 10.12788/j.sder.2016.031.


Propionibacterium acnes is a key pathogenic factor in the development of acne. Antibiotics are the first choice of treatment for mild-to-moderate, mixed, papular/pustular, and moderate nodular acne, and an alternative choice in severe, nodular/conglobate acne. The emergence of resistance to the currently available antibiotics poses a serious set-back to this algorithm, and the reduced arsenal can diminish efficacy of treatment. This emerging situation should catalyze innovations in dermatology; for example, newer drugs and technologies such as next-generation antibiotics with excellent potency and low propensity to develop resistance, rapid diagnostic platforms to select responders and nonresponders, and delivery technologies that target the bacteria. Such innovations can dramatically expand the arsenal for dermatologists in the management of acne.

Keywords: Propionibacterium acnes; acne vulgaris; antibiotic resistance; clindamycin.

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy
  • Acne Vulgaris / epidemiology
  • Acne Vulgaris / microbiology*
  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial*
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Prevalence
  • Propionibacterium acnes* / drug effects
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents