Acne vulgaris is a common skin condition, that affects approximately 60-70 percent of all Americans. The signs of acne vulgaris are quite pronounced: open or closed non-inflammatory comedones and inflammatory pustules, nodules, and papules that appear on the face, chest, and back. The frequency of these legions depend on genetics, environmental stress, and other factors. Some individuals may experience interspersed legions, while others may suffer severely. A common concern is how to treat acne. There are numerous over the counter medications and prescription medications claiming to treat acne. However, how useful are they?
In a study conducted by a team of researchers, including Yu Sung Choi, Ho Seok Suh , Mi Young Yoon , Seong UK Min , Jin Sook Kim Jae Yoon Jung , Dong Hun Lee , and Dae Hun Suh, all from Seoul National University Hospital, in Seoul, Korea, the efficacy of several common acne treatments were tested. The researchers conducted an eight week, double-blind, randomized clinical study on a total of thirteen patients with acne vulgaris. Two cleansers were compared in the study. Cleanser A was a typical over the counter cleanser, while cleanser B had additional triclosan, salicylic acid, and azelaic acid.
Patients were instructed to apply cleanser A to one side of their face and cleanser B to the other side of their face. These applications were applied twice daily. Both cleansers caused a reduction in the number of lesions, but there was a rebound in the lesions treated with cleanser A at four weeks following the treatment. This rebound was not observed with the application of cleanser B. Externally, there was very little difference between the two treatments during the trial period. The major differences between the cleansers occurred after the trial period. Cleanser B prevented the re-occurrence of acne after the trial and showed a decrease in inflammatory reactions.
The results of this study show that cleansers containing triclosan, salicylic acid, and azelaic acid are more effective at preventing the re-occurrence of inflammatory and non-inflammatory legions resulting from acne vulgaris. The use of over the counter medications have been shown to at least be effective in the short-term treatment of acne. However, depending on the active ingredient, there is a varying efficacy of the medication. From this study alone, it seems cleansers with triclosan, salicylic acid, and azelaic acid are more effective.
Chris Gromisch is a Junior Chemistry Major at Trinity College