Alternative Acne Treatment Effectively Reduces Lesions



A cream formulated with tea tree oil, Aloe vera, and propolis effectively reduced acne scars, erythema, and lesions, according to the findings of a recent study.

While antibiotics are standard treatment for acne, alternative treatment options are needed due to the rise of antibiotic resistance. One potential alternative is the use of plants with known innate antimicrobial action.  
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In the study, the researchers assessed the efficacy of a cream formulated with 20% propolis, 3% tea tree oil, and 10% Aloe vera (PTAC) among participants with mild to moderate acne. Participants were randomized to receive either PTAC (n=20), erythromycin cream (n=20), or placebo (n=20). The researchers evaluated acne lesion counts through noninvasive measurements, including the Acne Severity Index (ASI), and macrophotography at baseline, 15 days, and 30 days posttreatment.

The researchers found statistically significant differences in all clinical and instrumental values between placebo, erythromycin cream, and PTAC, except for sebometry, pHmetry, and erythema index values, measured on healthy skin. Compared with participants treated with placebo, those treated with PTAC or erythromycin cream experienced greater erythema reduction 15 days and 30 days after treatment.

PTAC was found to better reduce erythema scars and speed up healing time, which was seen as early as the first 15 days of treatment. Participants treated with PTAC experienced significant reductions in ASI and total lesion count compared with those treated with erythromycin cream. After 15 days and 30 days of treatment, ASI scores were significantly reduced by 31.6% and 66.7%, respectively, among those treated with PTAC. Whereas, ASI scores among those treated with erythromycin cream were reduced by 27.1% after 15 days and 49.7% after 30 days of treatment.

The mean TLC value among participants in the PTAC group decreased significantly by 33.56% and 63.7% after 15 days and 30 days of treatment, respectively, while those in the erythromycin cream group decreased by 23.6% and 46.5%.

“In this study, it has been shown that the cream containing propolis, tea tree oil, and aloe vera is more effective in reducing acne compared to the preparation of synthetic origin such as erythromycin,” the researchers concluded. “In addition, the preparation based on natural product has been shown to have greater function in reducing erythema. Further studies are highly recommended using larger number of patients with a more extended experimental period.” 


Mazzarello V, Donadu MG, Ferrari M, et al. Treatment of acne with a combination of propolis, tea tree oil, and Aloe vera compared to erythromycin cream: two double-blind investigations. Clin Pharmacol. 2018;10:175-181. doi:10.2147/CPAA.S180474