Acne lesion extraction versus oral doxycycline for moderate acne vulgaris: A randomized clinical trial


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BACKGROUND: Acne vulgaris is a polymorphic skin condition comprising inflamed and noninflamed lesions. In addition to topical retinoids, systemic antibiotics play a role as a main therapy for acne with inflamed papules and cysts. However, due to the increasing tendency for bacterial resistance, alternatives to antibiotics are needed. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of acne lesion extraction compared to oral doxycycline for moderate acne vulgaris and to explore the impact of both treatments on Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1 alpha. METHODS: This randomized clinical trial was conducted in two teaching hospitals in 2016. Subjects with moderate acne vulgaris (N=140) were divided into two groups. Each subject in both groups received 0.05% tretinoin cream, applied to the entire face each night, and 2.5% benzoyl peroxide gel, applied to the acne lesions in the morning and afternoon. One group was also treated with oral doxycycline 100mg once daily and the other was treated with acne lesion extraction performed on all facial lesions every two weeks; the patients were evaluated via patient-reported self-assessment and lesion counts every two weeks for six weeks. HIF-1 alpha expression of the biopsied lessions was examined via immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: 128 subjects completed the study. Among these 128 subjects there was a prominent decrease in inflamed lesions at Week 6 in the lesion extraction group compared to the oral doxycycline group (p<0.05). HIF-1 alpha expression of the biopsied lesions was found in 7 of 9 samples taken from the oral doxycycline group, while 3 of 4 samples in the lesion extraction group were found negative. CONCLUSION: According to our results, acne lesion extraction appeared to be more effective than oral doxycycline in treating this sample of patients with moderate acne vulgaris. Additionally, HIF-1 alpha expression appeared to be decreased after acne lesion extraction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E61-E65
JournalJournal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • Acne lesion extraction
  • Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha
  • Moderate acne vulgaris
  • Oral doxycycline


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