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Derm News: 2007.6(8)

Relationship between sebostatic activity, tolerability and efficacy of three topical drugs to treat mild to moderate acne

Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, March 2007;21(3):320-325
G Stinco, G Bragadin, D Trotter, B Pillon, P Patrone


Acne is a multifactorial disorder in which the sebum plays an important pathogenetic role.

Purpose of the study

To evaluate the sebostatic effect of three anti-acneic ingredients (azelaic acid, adapalene and benzoyl peroxide) conveyed in cream and to determine whether there is a correlation with the therapeutic results.

Materials and Methods

Sixty-five patients with mild or moderate acne localized on the face were divided into three therapy groups at random: 25 applied azelaic acid once a day, 20, benzoyl peroxide and 20, adapalene. All the patients were observed at the time of enrolling and a further four times at fortnightly intervals. At each visit the sebum casual level on the forehead, chin and one cheek was measured using a sebumeter. Furthermore, side-effects and clinical-therapeutic effectiveness were noted.


Four patients did not complete the study. Azelaic acid showed an average reduction of 13.9% in sebum production on the forehead, 14.2% on the chin and 15.2% on the cheek. Benzoyl peroxide caused an increase of 10.5% in sebum production on the forehead, 10.3% on the chin and 25.4% on the cheek. Adapalene reduced sebaceous secretion by 0.2% on the forehead and 6.7% on the cheek whereas sebum production increased by 6.2% on the chin. All three drugs showed a clinical improvement in the acneic lesions with moderate adverse effects.


The three topical drugs bring about good therapeutic Results with scarce side-effects that do not, however, seem to be correlated with the sebostatic activity.

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The Derm News service provided by the Editorial Consultants of Skin Therapy Letter© and its founding editor Dr. Stuart Maddin.