Topical methylene blue nanoformulation for the photodynamic therapy of acne vulgaris

Yong Deok Lee, Jin Kyoung Yang, Sunmi Han, Bo Ri Kim, Jung Won Shin, Joona Bang, Sehoon Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Acne vulgaris is a common skin disease caused by multifactorial reasons involving excessive sebum secretion and inflammation by Cutibacterium acnes (C. acnes). Various conventional therapies are available for the treatment of acne vulgaris; however, topical photodynamic therapy (PDT) has attracted much attention because of its great potential for sebum-reducing, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial activities. Although 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) has been broadly used as a photosensitizer for topical PDT, it has several limitations such as long incubation time, pain, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Here, we report a biocompatible nanoformulation consisting of methylene blue and salicylic acid (MBSD), as a potent PDT and acne therapeutics, enclosed within oleic acid. Photoactivated MBSD showed antimicrobial activity against C. acnes along with long-term stability. When 24 patients with acne were treated with MBSD and light irradiation 5 times at 1-week intervals, MBSD-based PDT exhibited a remarkable reduction in acne lesions and sebum production. In addition, the therapeutic procedure was painless and safe, without any adverse events. Therefore, MBSD is a promising topical PDT agent for biocompatible, safe, and effective acne treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)885-893
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Dermatological Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2023 May

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • Acne vulgaris
  • Methylene blue
  • Nanoformulation
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Salicylic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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