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Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 18436
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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HiI suffer from recurrent folliculitis of the

Resolved Question:

I suffer from chronic recurrent folliculitis of the beard. I trim my beard once a week maintaining a hair length of roughly between 3 - 10 mm (i.e. to avoid ingrowns). The folliculitis responds very well to Mupirocin but as you know this isn't suitable for prolonged use.
I'm trying to find out whether Benzoyl Peroxide kills Staphylococcus aureus and epidermidis? It's not particularly easy or obvious from searching Google.
I know that Benzoyl Peroxide effectively kills the acne bacteria Propionibacterium acnes, but I believe the bacterium causing my folliculitis is most likely to be Staphylococcus since it responds well to Mupirocin (apparently Mupirocin doesn't work on Propionibacterium acnes).
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Shantal-Mod replied 2 years ago.
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Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
Hello form JustAnswer.

If you are solely asking whether benzoyl peroxide kills Staph aureus and Staph epidermidis, the answer is no. However, there is some evidence to suggest that it helps improve folliculitis, but it appears to be because of the action of the benzoyl peroxide on increasing skin turnover. With more severe cases, benzoyl peroxide is usually not sufficient, but may be sufficient in mild cases or to use after an antibiotic has helped to achieve initial improvement in folliculitis.

If I can provide any further information, please let me know.
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 18436
Experience: Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
Dr. D. Love and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Dear Dr D Love

Many thanks for your reply.

You have hit the nail on the head but I do seek more information if you've got it.

How sure are you that benzoyl peroxide (BP) does not kill staph aureus or epidermidis? Could you direct me to any studies or text books so I can read the evidence myself? Your point about BP increasing skin cell turnover makes me wonder if a topical retinoid would be more appropriate - assuming BP isn't killing the causative organisms...

I am curious why BP doesn't kill staph. My understanding is that staph is a facultative anaerobe so I'm assuming BPs mode of action (producing oxygen) is ineffective against staph as it can respire with or without oxygen, is that broadly correct?

And finally, are you familar with the antimicrobial properties of blue light?

Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
I'm sorry for the delay, but I was away from the computer when you replied.

When drugs are first developed by the drug companies and they test the properties against bacteria, it is not always published in clinical journals, but the data is submitted to the FDA and incorporated into the prescribing information. The benzoyl peroxide is now over the counter, but it was originally a prescription product. The prescribing information at that time did not include any coverage against Staph species. Since the drug companies do not publish negative results, it is impossible to be certain about what testing was done, but all that I can report to you is what knowledge is available. When I search the medical literature for benzoyl peroxide and Staph, there are no studies that are returned that report antibacterial action against Staph.

There are early studies that have looked at using blue light as an antimicrobial agent, and that includes activity against Staph. However, the studies have not yet reached a level of evidence that blue light treatment is one of the recommended regimens for folliculitis. However, in someone with persistent disease that is not responding to conventional treatments, it would be a reasonable option to consider.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Sorry for taking so long in getting back to you on this.

Thanks for your answers and help on this subject.

So basically no one really knows for certain whether BP is effective against staph species...

I accept your answers and I'm satisified with your service here, however in terms of science and the wider pursuit of knowledge I'm not sure whether I'll keep looking for something more conclusive.

But thanks again.