Categorized | Acne

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How to Get Rid of Acne Bacteria Fast

In the fight against acne vulgaris, combating the high levels of bacteria that cause acne spots, and ultimately acne scarring, are very important. An interesting study in acne and face washing, caught my attention, and might shed some new light on acne, spots, treatment and medications for face, chest and back cleansing. In a study by Drs. Leyden, McGinley, Mills and Kligman; the Propionibacterium species that are well known to cause acne were quantified on the foreheads and cheeks of persons with and without acne in three age groups: 11 to 15 years, 16 to 20 years, and 21 to 25 years. Propionibacteria were virtually absent in the (11 -15 years) pubertal non-acne group compared to a huge population of bacteria in the acne group. A similar large difference existed between the acne subjects and non-acne group in the age range of 16 to 20 years. Patients with acne and non-acne subjects over age 21 years showed no difference in Propionibacterium levels.

So what can this mean for us? Well, acne lesions develop in the oil-producing structures of the skin called pilosebaceous follicles. These pores or follicles are present in large numbers on the face, chest, shoulders and upper back. Each pore consists of a hair follicle and sebaceous gland. The glands secrete a greasy mixture called sebum which normally passes out through the hair follicle to the skin surface.

Acne pathology occurs when the normal flow of sebum onto the skin surface is impeded by dead skin cells, bacteria and sebum. The block leads to a swelling up and the development of blackheads, whiteheads and pustules which in turn lead to infection. Some patients will also develop damaging nodules and cysts. These are inflammatory lesions located deep within the dermis and may cause scars.

So the use of an appropriate face wash can go some way to lowering the levels of bacteria on the skin and in the pores. A 1% chlorhexidine soap solution has been found to be a very effective ‘sustantivity’ agent for face washing and it also has the advantage of continuing to work over many hours and sometimes days. This advantage of being long acting, interestingly, leads to very few allergic reactions.

Substantivity is the ability of drugs to attach onto and bind to tissues. The substantivity of chlorhexidine was first found in the 1970s. Because of this property, chlorhexidine can develop an effective concentration for long periods of time on the skin, over all areas of the body.

So this is another topical acne medication, that can help to reduce the bacterial load on the skin and in the pores to ultimately reduce the bacteria that we know cause the acne spots and blemishes.


Journal of Investigative Dermatology (1975), 65, 382-84. JJ Leyden, K J McGinley, O H Mills and A M Kligman. Propionibacterium levels in patients with and without acne vulgaris.

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