Investigative Report

Antimicrobial Activity of Topical Skin Pharmaceuticals – An In vitro Study

Mikael Alsterholm, Nahid Karami, Jan Faergemann
DOI: 10.2340/00015555-0840


The aim of this study was to investigate the antimicrobial activity of currently available topical skin pharmaceuticals against Candida albicans, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis and Streptococcus pyogenes. The agar dilution assay was used to determine the minimal inhibitory concentration for cream formulations and their active substances. Corticosteroid formulations with the antiseptics clioquinol or halquinol were active against all microbes. The hydrogen peroxide formulation was primarily active against staphylococci. Clotrimazole, miconazole and econazole showed an effect against staphylococci in addition to their effect on C. albicans. In contrast, terbinafine had no antibacterial effect. Fusidic acid was active against staphylococci, with slightly weaker activity against S. pyogenes and no activity against C. albicans or E. coli. In summary, some topical skin pharmaceuticals have broad antimicrobial activity in vitro, clioquinol and halquinol being the most diverse. In limited superficial skin infection topical treatment can be an alternative to systemic antibiotics and should be considered. With the global threat of multi-resistant bacteria there is a need for new, topical, non-resistance-promoting, antimicrobial preparations for the treatment of skin infections.

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