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    Resveratrol inhibits growth of acne-causing bacteria


    The antioxidant resveratrol inhibits Propionibacterium acnes growth. And when combined with benzoyl peroxide, resveratrol seems to enhance the acne drug’s bacteria-killing ability, according to results of a recent study.

    The laboratory study, conducted by researchers with the University of California, Los Angeles, involved growing colonies of acne-causing bacteria and adding different concentrations of resveratrol and benzoyl peroxide, both alone and in combination. Researchers monitored the cultures for 10 days and found that benzoyl peroxide initially killed the bacteria at all concentration levels, but the bactericidal response didn’t last beyond the first 24 hours.

    While resveratrol didn’t have a strong killing capability, it inhibited bacterial growth for a longer period of time. Combined, resveratrol and benzoyl peroxide showed high initial antibacterial activity and sustained bacterial growth inhibition, according to the study.

    When researchers cultured human skin cells and blood cells with the two compounds to test toxicity, they found resveratrol was less cytotoxic than benzoyl peroxide. Combining the compounds resulted in prolonged antibacterial effects, while minimizing skin cell toxicity.

    “I think the real importance of this study is that it shows that resveratrol (an antioxidant) and benzoyl peroxide (an oxidant) actually have enhanced and sustained antibacterial activity,” says Emma Taylor, M.D., the study’s first author and an assistant clinical professor of medicine in the division of dermatology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “This was not expected as the two compounds have opposing effects.

    “This finding may allow for new combination topical acne therapies focusing on antioxidants and benzoyl peroxide, and allow for lower concentrations of benzoyl peroxide, which could increase tolerability and patient compliance to acne regimens. Further in vivo human studies and clinical trials are needed to validate these findings.”

    The study was funded by the Women’s Dermatologic Society and National Institutes of Health. A patent application has been filed for the combination treatment of benzoyl peroxide and resveratrol, which is owned by University of California Regents.

    The study was published online Sept. 17 in Dermatology and Therapy.

    Reference: Taylor EJ, Yu Y, Champer J, Kim J. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2014 Sep 17 (Epub ahead of print)

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    Lisette Hilton
    Lisette Hilton is president of Words Come Alive, based in Boca Raton, Florida.


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