Acne

We are examining ways to change the treatment paradigm for people living with acne.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, affecting up to 50 million people of all ages.1 Acne affects 85 percent of teens and young adults, and even for older adults it is a top reason for dermatology office visits.

Because of the highly visible nature of acne, it can affect a person’s quality of life, resulting in social, psychological and emotional impairments. People with acne have reported an impact on their quality of life that is comparable to that expressed by patients with epilepsy, asthma, diabetes or arthritis.2

Excessive sebum production is an important contributing cause of acne.

The formation of acne lesions is believed to result from an interaction of four factors. These include:

  • Excessive sebum production
  • Alterations in skin cells that, along with excess sebum production, contribute to clogging of pores through which sebum is normally released to the skin surface
  • Colonization of the area in and around the sebaceous glands by bacteria that are nourished by sebum
  • Inflammation often associated with colonization by bacteria and their breakdown of sebum into irritating breakdown products
  • Clogged pores can become enlarged and inflamed as sebum and its breakdown products accumulate, resulting in visible lesions that can be unsightly and cause permanent scarring

Sebum, an oily substance made up of lipids, is produced by glands in the skin called sebaceous glands. Excessive sebum production is an important aspect of acne that is not addressed by available topical therapies.

No new, clinically meaningful therapies have been approved to treat acne, in over a decade.

Most acne patients are treated with multiple topical therapies, which reduce the amount of dead skin cells and bacteria. These topical therapies are available by prescription or as over-the-counter treatment options in the United States; however, they have some limitations. There are currently no approved topical therapies that target excess sebum production, and there have been no new clinically meaningful therapies approved for acne treatments in more than a decade.

  • 1 Bickers et al. The burden of skin diseases: 2004 a joint project of the American Academy of Dermatology Association and the Society for Investigative Dermatology. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2006;55:490-500.
  • 2 Mallon et al., British Journal of Dermatology. April 1999.