Science Project Details:

Acne medication and bacteria

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Difficulty: Advanced 7
Cost ($): 50
Time required: < 1 week
1 day for preparation, 4 days for the science project experiment
Availability of materials:
Access to laboratory equipment (eg. petri dishes)
Required Skills:
Familiarity with handling of bacteria cultures and access to a laboratory  
Safety concerns:

Always follow laboratory safety guidelines and always practice sterile technique when handling microbes. Never have any food or drink at your workstation and always thoroughly wash your hands with disinfectant soap or alcohol before leaving your workstation. Always dispose of used material in a biohazard bag. If none are available, the bacteria should be destroyed with bleach before being disposed of.

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This science fair project aims to validate the effectiveness of acne medications in preventing the growth of bacteria. This experiment will be carried out using 3 types of acne medication – Tetracycline, Clindamycin and Benzoyl peroxide.


Acne medications effectively inhibit the growth of  bacteria that causes acne.

Scientific Terms

Acne, pilosebaceous unit, sebaceous gland, sebum, Propionibacterium acne (P acne), follicles, enzyme, fatty acids, Tetracycline, Clindamycin and Benzoyl peroxide



Acne occurs in the pilosebaceous unit that consists of a  hair shaft, a sebaceous gland and  a hair follicle. These units are  present in higher numbers on our face, neck and chest areas. These sebaceous glands help keep our hair and skin moisturized by producing a substance called sebum.

Propionibacterium acne (P. acne) bacteria are normally found living on the surface of our skin. It uses the sebum produced by the sebaceous gland as  a nutrient for its survival . People with acne problems  have greater amounts of  P. acne in their follicles. White blood cells are attracted to the presence of P. acne and they  release an enzyme that damage the follicle walls. This process  causes  inflammation  which is aggravated by the presence of  fatty acids produced by  P. acne.

Among the common acne medications are Tetracycline which helps in reducing  the inflammatory lesions. Clindamycin is an antibiotic that helps to destroy P. acne and alleviate inflammations. Benzoyl peroxide helps destroy  P. acne but does not have anti-inflammatory properties.