Acne vulgaris frequently occurs in the second decade of life. The pathogenesis of the disease is multifactorial. In this study, we aimed to investigate the role of reactive oxygen species in inflammation of acne by determining the activity of antioxidant defense enzymes in leukocytes. Fifty-two patients with papulopustular type acne vulgaris and 36 healthy controls were enrolled. The severity of the disease was examined by the Global Acne Grading System, and the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) and catalase (CAT) enzymes as well as the level of thiobarbituric acid reactive substance (TBARS) were detected in leukocytes. The activities of SOD and GSH-Px were significantly decreased in the acne group. CAT activity and TBARS level were higher in patients than controls. Only a poor correlation was detected between GSH-Px activity and severity of the disease. Antioxidative defense enzymes are impaired in papulopustular acne, and drugs with antioxidative effects might be valuable in treatment.