Beyond Benzoyl Peroxide: The new age treatment in acne therapy


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Dr Ludmilla Grobler reports on the development of a new form of benzoyl peroxide – an effective treatment for mild to moderate acne that ensures deeper penetration of formulations into the skin – as well as more efficient elimination of bacteria with less irritation.

Acne, known as acne vulgaris, is a long-term skin condition that occurs when hair follicles are clogged with dead skin and oil. As per our current available statistics, acne is estimated to affect 660 million people globally – making it the eighth most common problematic skin condition worldwide, with teenagers estimated to be affected by 80% to 90%. It is also one of the most common and widely seen skin conditions in South Africa.

The main factors that are involved in the development of acne include:

  • Increased sebum production
  • Propionibacterium acnes (P.acnes) proliferation
  • Abnormal desquamation of the follicular epithelium
  • Inflammatory response

Moreover, genetics is considered to be the primary cause of acne in 80% of cases. During puberty, acne is commonly brought in by an increase in hormones such as testosterone with excessive growth of the P. acnes bacterium.

Treatment modalities

Many treatment options are available to cure acne, including non-prescription and prescription medicines. Some recommended treatments include topical retinoids, hormonal agents, various topical and systemic antibiotics and isotretinoin. Yet, it must be noted that the severity of acne is the most essential component in deciding on what the appropriate treatment option is. For instance, the recommendation for mild superficial acne will include gentle and regular cleansing of the skin, azelaic acid, benzoyl peroxide, resorcinol and sulfurcontaining topical medications.

Mild to moderate acne vulgaris typically uses topical retinoids and antimicrobial agents as first-line agents in treatment, while the more severe forms of acne require the use of oral medication.

Lastly, androgendependent acne will require the use of anti-androgenic agents.

The benzoyl peroxide option

For over 40 years, benzoyl peroxide has been one of the most effective treatments for mild to moderate acne. However, most traditional benzoyl peroxide formulas contain benzoyl peroxide molecules that are larger than the average human pore (50 microns).

This can lead to decreased efficiency, instability and skin irritations. Our unique Curoxyl® formulation contains specially milled Curoxyl® benzoyl peroxide particles that are less than 10 microns. These small and stable particles allow the product to penetrate the pores more efficiently to eliminate the P. acnes bacteria with less irritation.

BP at work

Although the mechanism action of benzoyl peroxide (BP) is not completely understood, it is thought to work by generating free radicals. In the skin follicle, BP kills P. acnes by oxidising its proteins through the formation of oxygen free radicals and benzoic acid.

These free radicals interfere with the bacterium’s metabolism and ability to make proteins. Additionally, benzoyl peroxide is effective at breaking down comedones and inhibiting inflammation. The downside to BP, however, is that as much as it is useful in the management of mild to moderate acne, it also often causes dryness of the skin, slight redness and occasional peeling. One of the reasons for this is that benzoyl peroxide molecules are larger than the average human pore. This can lead to decreased efficiency and skin irritations.

The BP evolution

The latest raw materials innovations have led to the development of a new form of BP, which has molecules of smaller than 10 microns in size. These small and stable molecules ensure deep penetration of BP formulations into the skin, as well as the more efficient elimination of the P. acnes bacterium with less irritation. Due to this, the formulations that contain micronised peroxide can now safely be used on sensitive skin with a minimal risk of skin irritation.

ESSEL Aɘsthet Acne gel

One of the most effective acne treatments on the market is ESSEL Aɘsthet Acne gel, which contains micronised benzoyl peroxide. In addition to micronised BP, the Aɘsthet Acne Gel formulation contains a natural amino acid L-Lysine aspartate and unique Teflose® polysaccharide.

This is obtained by bacterial fermentation with a high content of rhamnose, glucose and glucuronic acid, which inhibits the adhesion of undesirable pathogenic bacteria on the skin surface. Aɘsthet Acne Gel is highly efficient in treating mild to moderate acne and can safely be used on sensitive skin.

Written by Dr Ludmilla Grobler

A2 Disclaimer: This article is published for information purposes only, and should therefore not be taken as an endorsement or advertisement for any product or medical treatment –  nor should it be regarded as a replacement for sound medical advice. 

CURRENT Issue 24 – December 2017 (Summer)

This article was written by Dr Ludmilla Grobler and edited by the A2 team EXCLUSIVELY for the A2 Aesthetic & Anti-Ageing Magazine December 2017 Edition (Issue 24). 

A2 Magazine prints only four magazines each year – reporting seasonally on everything you need and want to know about aesthetics, anti-ageing, integrative medicine, quality and medical skin care, cosmetic dentistry and cosmetic surgery in South Africa – where to go, who to see, what to expect, something new and so much more! Never miss an edition – click here for more info about where you can buy the print and/or digital copy of A2 Magazine (including back copies).

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