Acne vulgaris and the power of propolis

Acne vulgaris and the power of propolis

Acne vulgaris is a common skin disorder affecting the pilosebaceous unit, arising commonly during adolescence and causing psychological stress.

The pathogenesis of acne is attributed to multiple factors. Clinically, it is characterised by the presence of comedones, inflammatory papules, pustules, and sometimes nodules and cysts. There is an increased hyperproliferation of follicular epidermis, so there is retention of sebum. Distended follicles rupture and release pro-inflammatory chemicals into the dermis, stimulating inflammation. C. acnes, Staphylococcus epidermis, and Malassezia furfur induce inflammation and induce follicular epidermal proliferation. 

There are four grades

Grade 1

Comedones. They are of two types, open and closed. Open comedones are due to plugging of the pilosebaceous orifice by sebum on the skin surface. Closed comedones are due to keratin and sebum plugging the pilosebaceous orifice below the skin surface.

Grade 2

Inflammatory lesions present as a small papule with erythema.

Grade 3



Grade 4

Many pustules coalesce to form nodules and cysts.


Acne is associated with seborrhea and in the case of hyperandrogenism associated with hirsutism, acanthosis nigricans, irregular menstrual period, and weight gain.

Different treatment modalities have been reported for acne vulgaris based on the type and severity. 

Many factors are known to contribute to the pathogenesis of acne: increased production of sebum, anomalous keratinization of the pilosebaceous canal, bacterial colonization (Propionibacterium acnes, Staphylococcus aureus,  and Staphylococcus epidermidis are the most important pathogens, and the production of inflammatory factors. 

Propolis has been attracting the attention of researchers due to its skin healing benefits. 

Several studies have highlighted the antimicrobial, antiviral, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties of propolis extract in some skin diseases 

Propolis ethanolic extract is ideal to treatment of acne vulgaris. It is natural, safe, tolerable, cheap, and has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. 

The application of propolis lotion in the comedones should always be accompanied by cleaning the skin twice day, morning, and night, with a dermo-cleanser and subsequent hydration.