Acne Controlled by Gel Treatment - Without Pills
Severe acne sufferers typically achieve clearer skin with a
combination of an oral antibiotic and anti-acne gels applied to the
skin. However, most often acne can be cleared with gels alone,
according to two studies in the Archives of Dermatology.
"This approach is especially attractive in an environment with
rising concerns ... regarding long-term antibiotic use for acne," note
the authors of one report.
For some people, acne may be so severe that a doctor may prescribe
oral antibiotics and a gel containing retinoids derived from vitamin A
that is applied directly to the skin.
But because acne can return, "maintenance" therapy is often needed,
and keeping patients on long-term oral antibiotics is not ideal.
In the first study, investigators tested the efficacy of a topical
retinoid-like gel sold as Differin (adapalene gel 0.1 percent) in
maintaining the clearer skin achieved after 12 weeks' treatment with an
oral antibiotic alone or with Differin gel in 253 people with severe
According to Dr. Diane M. Thiboutot from Pennsylvania State
University and colleagues, 75 percent of acne patients who continued
with Differin gel maintained the improvements they achieved when on
combination acne therapy. In contrast, only 54 percent of those on
placebo gel maintained their clearer skin after the acne outbreak was
Moreover, during the 16-week maintenance study, the number of acne
breakouts gradually increased in the placebo gel group, while in the
Differin gel group, the number of acne breakouts remained stable or
The study was funded by acne medicine Differin maker Galderma Laboratories.