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What Bacteria Causes Acne Vulgaris?

Acne vulgaris is a common sign of skin disease that involves sealing of skin pores and inflammation of pilosebaceous units, which is a combination of a follicle and sebaceous gland. It is possible for acne to occur as inflammatory or non-inflammatory lesions or both. The main portion that acne vulgaris attack is the face. However, it is possible to see its occurrence on the shoulders and neck.

What Bacteria Causes Acne Vulgaris?

Acne vulgaris development consists of four important combinations, which turns it into a multifactorial pathogenesis. The occurrence of acne is due to the mix of excess sebum production, epidermal hyperproliferation with clogged follicles, inflammation, and the presence of Propionibacterium acnes bacteria or P. acne bacteria.

What Bacteria Causes Acne Vulgaris?

Propionibacterium acne is generally a moderate developing, ordinarily aerotolerant anaerobic, Gram-positive bacterium connected to the skin state of skin acne vulgaris. It can likewise cause endophthalmitis and chronic blepharitis. The former especially is caused through intraocular surgery. The genome of the bacterium is patterned and a research has demonstrated that a few qualities can produce enzymes for debasing proteins and skin that might be enacting the immune system in the body.

This P. acne bacterium is to a great extent commensal and part of the skin verdure. It exhibits on most healthy grown-up people’s skin. It is normally not easily noticeable on the skin of healthy pre-teens. In addition to other things, it lives basically on unsaturated fats in sebum emitted by sebaceous glands in the hair follicles. As P. acnes microbes live profoundly inside follicles and pores, far from the surface of the skin.

In these follicles, P. acnes microscopic organisms utilize cellular debris, sebum and metabolic products resulting from the encompassing skin tissue as their essential source of supplements and energy. Increased generation of sebum by hyperactive sebaceous organs which is called sebaceous hyperplasia or a clogged up follicle can prompt P. acnes microscopic organisms to develop and double up.

Diagnosing acne vulgaris in its original stage will be a crucial step in avoiding an occurrence of a dangerous situation. The inflammatory nodules, papules, and pustules, and noninflammatory closed comedones decide the characterization of the illness. The occurrence of acne vulgaris is severe in regions with the highest population of follicles – face, chest, and back. Additional local symptoms include tenderness, erythema, and pain.

There are no systemic symptoms that make it possible to detect the occurrence of severe acne caused due to P. acne bacteria. However, the presence of fever due to severe acne falls under the category of acne fulminans. If there are any systemic symptoms, then the severe acne along with multiple comedones falls under the category of acne conglobata. The occurrence of severe acne heals automatically leaving behind a scar. Besides, acne vulgaris also causes a psychological impact on an individual regardless of the severity of the disease.

Diagnosing the presence of acne vulgaris in several ways is possible. The diagnosis will place the patient in a particular category such as comedonal, mild, moderate, and nodulocystic acne. Diagnosis is dependent on the features represented by the patient along with other complaints as expressed. Although it is a clinical diagnosis, a laboratory testing is feasible in situations where a patient suffers from stimulating follicle hormone, females suffering from dysmenorrhea, and luteinizing hormone.

Management of Acne Vulgaris

Management/treatment of acne vulgaris is possible by understanding the occurrence of pathogenic factors such as the follicle hyperproliferation, excessive secretion of sebum, and Propionibacterium acnes bacteria or P. acne bacteria. It is further accountable to consider both inflammatory and non-inflammatory complaints as expressed by the patient. An appropriate treatment consists of understanding the severity and grade of the acne vulgaris.

Treatment for acne vulgaris includes the use of retinoid agents such as topical tretinoin, tazarotene, isotretinoin, antibiotics, handpicked aldosterone antagonists, oral contraceptive medicines that have a combination of estrogen and progestin, and acne treating goods that contain benzoyl peroxide, erythromycin, and clindamycin. When used with a systemic antibiotic, it is important to use it for a given period to reduce the resistance power of bacteria against the antibiotic.

In addition to the known treatments, it is also feasible to control diet, as it will help in reduction of glycemic content, which is excess in junk foods. The nonpharmacological measure also helps in managing weight, as there is no excess content of fat within the body. As there is no substantial evidence, quite a few physicians do believe that there is a relation between excess of fat content in the body and acne vulgaris.

With complete information about the bacteria that causes acne vulgaris, detecting it in the initial stage, and finding an appropriate solution, you are at an advantage over the others. Make it a point to remember the cause of the occurrence of acne, as it will be helpful in curing during the sighting of its appearance in the first place.


  1. American Academy of Dermatology Association. (2021). Acne. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne/
  2. DermNet NZ. (2021). Acne vulgaris. https://dermnetnz.org/topics/acne-vulgaris/
  3. Nast, A., Dréno, B., Bettoli, V., et al. (2016). European evidence-based (S3) guidelines for the treatment of acne. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 30(8), 1261-1268. https://doi.org/10.1111/jdv.13776
  4. Williams, H. C., Dellavalle, R. P., & Garner, S. (2012). Acne vulgaris. The Lancet, 379(9813), 361-372. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60321-8

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 16, 2023

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