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Br J Dermatol. 2011 Sep;165(3):474-85. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2011.10375.x.

A microbial aetiology of acne: what is the evidence?

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Department of Dermatology, Cardiff University School of Medicine, Cardiff CF14 4XN, UK.


A microbial aetiology of acne has been suggested since the beginning of the last century. There is considerable evidence, circumstantial at best, which suggests that micro-organisms, particularly Propionibacterium acnes, are important in the pathogenesis of acne vulgaris. However, it is still unclear whether P. acnes is actually a causal agent in the development of noninflamed or inflamed acne lesions. Based on a review of the microbiological data on normal and acne-affected skin, we propose that P. acnes neither initiates comedogenesis nor has a role in the initiation of inflammation in inflamed acne lesions.

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