Antibiotic Resistance and Acne: Another Reason Benzoyl Peroxide and Tea Tree Oil Should Get a Closer Look

Posted on September 23, 2013 by Andy Bosselman

P. acnes bacteria viewed through an electron microscope. 


Andy Bosselman: Founder of Arithmetic, Smart Skincare for Adults with AcneLast week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sounded an alarm: the agency reported that 23,000 Americans die of antibiotic-resistant infections and a staggering 2 million people are infected with antibiotic-resistant diseases each year (New York Times, CNN, CDC Threat Report). 

While most of us haven't had personal experiences with life-threatening superbugs, the increasing persistence of acne is one result of antibiotic resistance. In fact, in a letter published last month in Medscape, researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston called for dermatologists to completely stop using antibiotics for the treatment of acne.

While antibiotic resistance was the authors' main concern, they also cited the side effects of antibiotics, including how they can alter the good bacteria in our guts for up to two years. (Good intestinal bacteria may help our bodies in a number of important ways, including our complexions). 

Antibiotic Alternatives More Effective

The researchers suggested several alternatives to antibiotics, citing a 2008 study where benzoyl peroxide was shown to be more effective at reducing resistant P-acnes bacteria than the antibiotic tetracycline.

A number of studies have also found tea tree oil to be to be nearly as effective in the treatment of acne as benzoyl peroxide, but with fewer side effects. 

A More Tolerable Benzoyl Peroxide 

I often hear from people who don't like benzoyl peroxide. Unfortunately, many have been burned, quite literally, by products that contain dosages of benzoyl peroxide that are too high.


I've personally known about the benefits of benzoyl peroxide for years but for my own acne, I avoided it out of frustration with the dryness, flaking, and burning sensations associated with it.

That's one of the reasons I created this company and made a benzoyl peroxide cream that's balanced with tea tree oil and soothing, moisturizing, and anti-inflammatory ingredients. 

If you're looking for an alternative to antibiotics, even if you've had a bad experience with benzoyl peroxide in the past, you may want to check out our Acne Control Complex

  • About Arithmetic: We're a new skincare company that was born out of my own obsessive pursuit of better treatment options for adult acne. Check out our Acne Control Complex.

Posted in acne, acne control complex, acne treatments, adult acne, antibiotic, antibiotic resistance, benzoyl peroxide, benzoyl peroxide cream, best acne treatments, flaking, peeling, persistent adult acne, research, treatments



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