Triclosan is an antibacterial agent that is found in many OTC acne treatment products, such as soaps and cleansers.

Triclosan and Acne

Clinical research and patient reports indicate that face washes with Triclosan are somewhat helpful for people with mild acne symptoms (Acne Types: 1-2). Similar to salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, triclosan does not penetrate deeply into the skin and is a poor option for inflammatory acne (Acne Types: 3-4).

Triclosan Side Effects

Use of triclosan containing washes is usually well tolerated by the user with minimal side effects. Excessive use of any face wash (with our without Triclosan) can cause dryness and skin irritation.>

There are some concerns that triclosan can degrade into toxic substances such as chlorophenol, dioxin and formaldehyde. However, normal use of topical antibacterial products that contain Triclosan is unlikely to generate toxic concentrations of these molecules. There is currently no evidence that demonstrates a specific health risk from the exposure associated with normal use of Triclosan-containing products.


Hydrogel patches containing triclosan for acne treatment. Lee, et al. 2003.
Treatment modalities for acne. Fox, et al. 2016.
A study of the efficacy of cleansers for acne vulgaris. Choi, et al. 2010.
The effectiveness of topical antibacterials in acne: a double-blind clinical study. Franz, et al. 1978.
Over-the-counter acne treatments: a review. Decker, et al. 2012.