WINTER WELLNESS SALE: $50 Off & Free 2-Day Shipping. Use Code | SAVE50
The promo code has been copied to your clipboard.

What Kills Acne Bacteria: An Overview of 10 Options

It’s no secret that positive affirmations, encouraging self-talk, and mindfulness can work wonders on your mental health.

Unfortunately, some problems require more than meditating your way to a state of enlightenment.

To solve the very real and frustrating problem of acne breakouts, for example, you need to research different treatment options, and then perform some trial and error.

But what effective treatment options are out there? What kills acne bacteria? Never fear; we’re here to answer your questions and then some!

What Is Acne Bacteria?

Before asking what kills acne bacteria, it’s important to understand what acne bacteria is in the first place.

While the word “bacteria” alone has many negative connotations, bacteria are found everywhere. They cover nearly every surface on the planet, including both inside and outside the human body.

In fact, some scientists estimate your body may contain more bacterial cells than human cells! Even those who disagree with this estimate believe the ratio of bacterial to human cells is one to one.

The specific type of bacteria that contributes to acne breakouts is Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), recently renamed Cutibacterium acnes. No matter what you call it, this microbe can lead to trouble!

How Acne Forms

The presence of P. acnes on the skin is not the only thing that leads to an acne breakout. A few unfortunate circumstances can come together to ruin your day. 

Your skin contains glands called sebaceous glands that produce oil known as sebum. Sebum keeps your skin moist and hydrated, but too much of a good thing is bad for anyone. Excess sebum, mixed with dirt and dead skin cells, clogs pores. By itself, this forms whiteheads and blackheads.

If the bacteria on your skin join the party, they cause an infection within the pore. Your immune system responds with an abundance of white blood cells, leading to inflammation and redness. At this stage, you see swollen, perhaps tender bumps on your skin — an acne breakout.


What Is Light Therapy?

So, what kills acne bacteria? Let’s start with light therapy.

Light therapy is an acne-blaster that’s gaining steam in the skincare world. For acne-fighting purposes, it employs two main wavelengths of light — blue and red.

Blue light therapy destroys the P. acnes present on the skin and even within pimples, reducing the existing infection and helping to prevent other acne infections. Blue light therapy is also effective at reducing excess sebum. The blue wavelengths inhibit the oil-producing cells in your skin, keeping your pores clog-free.

Red light therapy is known for its healing properties and can help resolve acne breakouts faster. In particular, regular red light therapy treatments help to:

It’s easy to see why so many dermatologists promote light therapy as a treatment for mild to moderate acne!

Quote: What Kills Acne Bacteria: An Overview of 10 Options

What Kills Acne Bacteria?

So, what kills acne bacteria?

Well, blue light therapy, as we explained. But what else?

Several active ingredients can kill P. acnes and prevent future breakouts. Some of these ingredients can be harsh on your skin and cause excessive dryness, so be sure to test new products on a small patch of skin before applying to a larger area.

Below are 10 of the most well-known over-the-counter and prescription products that kill acne bacteria, in no particular order:

    1. Tea tree oil: A natural sanitizer, tea tree oil can take about three months of regular use before it starts visibly working against breakouts.

    2. Benzoyl peroxide: Benzoyl peroxide is available at any pharmacy or grocery store and works best on inflammatory acne.

    3. Triclosan: Used in many products to prevent contamination from bacteria, high concentrations of topical triclosan can be effective against acne bacteria, though there are some questions about side effects.

    4. Manuka honey: This anti-inflammatory, antibacterial honey from Australia and New Zealand reduces bacteria, balances your skin’s pH, and reduces inflammation.

  1. Chrysanthemum: Often used in traditional Chinese medicine, chrysanthemum is an antiseptic used to treat acne, wounds, and inflamed bruises.

  2. Clindamycin: Doctors prescribe this topical antibiotic as a way to treat stubborn acne.

  3. Minocycline: Another antibiotic prescribed to address cases of stubborn acne, minocycline kills and stops the spread of acne bacteria. Taken orally, minocycline’s side effects mean it’s not usually a first-line treatment.

  4. Tetracycline: An oral antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections, prescription tetracycline is anti-inflammatory and significantly slows the growth of acne bacteria. It has fewer side effects than several other oral options.

  5. Isotretinoin: A prescription medicine formerly known as Accutane, this powerful medication targets acne-causing bacteria that live in pores and on the skin. Some people are hesitant to use it due to its long list of possible side effects.

  6. Retin-A: Also known as tretinoin, this topical retinoid medication is available with a prescription. It works by killing acne bacteria and clearing out clogged pores. Side effects are relatively mild, but results can take up to 12 weeks.

Infographic: What Kills Acne Bacteria: An Overview of 10 Options

Making the Right Choice

From over-the-counter products to prescription options, there are many answers to the question “What kills acne bacteria?”

Of course, all topical ointments or prescribed drugs come with a varying number and degree of potential side effects. If you’d prefer to try a side effect-free option to start with, the aforementioned light therapy could be the right choice for you!

Older Post
Newer Post
Something went wrong, please contact us!

SPECIAL PROMO: $50 Off & Free 2-Day Shipping | SAVE50

Shopping cart

You may also like...

Shipping: FREE
Estimated Total: $