The Effectiveness of Common Acne Products against P. acnes Bacteria Kathryn Henshaw
Taunton High School
Honors Chemistry I
January 23, 2013
Table of Contents
What is Acne Vulgaris? 4
How does Acne Vulgaris Form?6
How is Acne Vulgaris Treated?8
Acne is one of the most common pests to human beings. Although acne lesions do not seem as animated as a typical vermin, inflamed pores are teeming with bacterium. Propionibacterium acnes are understood to be the greatest inducer of acne lesions. When acne breakouts become problematic to an individual, one might resort to over the counter acne medications, the most popular of those being salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and azelaic acid. Those topical antimicrobial products are intended for use in clearing human skin of acne lesions that may be present or to prevent future acne lesions if used regularly. They work to cleanse skin of problematic amounts of P. acnes bacteria in order to keep the human epidermis clear of inflammation.
It is hypothesized that if the topical non-prescription acne treatments salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and azelaic acid are applied to P. acnes bacteria, then azelaic acid will kill the P. acnes bacteria the most effectively. Therefore, it is predicted that it azelaic acid will produce the largest kill zone. However, through the experimentation process by using diffusion off of filter paper to spread the antiseptics on the P. acnes, the results disproved this hypothesis, and proved that salicylic acid was the strongest antiseptic acne product because salicylic acid consistently provided the largest kill zone. It was also concluded that if the experiment were to be redone that benzoyl peroxide may have performed better than it did, but in the trials, salicylic acid preformed the best.
The Effectiveness of Common Acne Products against P. acnes Bacteria According to the National Institute of Health (2010), Acne forms when a pore is blocked by oil, hair, or cells in a way that blocks the oil from accessing the skin’s surface. The combination of oil in cells in the pore gives bacteria normally present on skin a chance to grow. When bacteria grow in a pore, the body’s immune system attacks the bacteria in that area causing inflammation. Propionibacterium acnes are a strain of bacterium particularly recognized for its role in acne breakouts. P. acnes bacteria cells are normally found on the skin, oral cavity, large intestine, and ear canal (Perry A, Lambert P., 2011). According to The Science of Acne’s webpage (2012), P. acnes bacterium is attributed to being the greatest cause of acne symptoms. This bacterium is tolerant of air but it survives best in anaerobic areas such as pores; thus P. acnes tends to thrive in clogged pores. The waste P. acnes produces by consuming sebum present on human tissue also contributes to acne symptoms, and there is some proof that sebum (oil secreted by the skin) production increases in the presence of P. acnes bacterium as a result of an adaptation by the bacterium to gain more food, further contributing to the acne outbreak. Propionibacterium acnes itself does not cause damage to the skin, but the inflammation caused by the immune system is the only danger (p. 1) What is Acne Vulgaris?
Acne Vulgaris is an inflammatory disease of the skin consisting of blackheads, cysts, papules, and pustules. It is usually an unsightly and irritating condition and acne is commonly referred to as blackheads, whiteheads, blemishes, breakouts, pimples, and zits. Acne Vulgaris can occur on the face, neck, shoulders, back, or chest (News in Health, 2010). About eighty percent of people ages eleven to thirty occasionally experience some kind of acne breakout (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, 1999). Acne can...
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