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Dermatol Surg. 2008 Jan;34(1):45-50; discussion 51. Epub 2007 Dec 5.

Comparison of alpha- and beta-hydroxy acid chemical peels in the treatment of mild to moderately severe facial acne vulgaris.

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1
Saint Louis University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri 63104, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Chemical peels are used as adjuvants for treatment of facial acne. No well-controlled studies have compared alpha- and beta-hydroxy acid peels in the treatment of mild to moderately severe facial acne.

OBJECTIVE:

To compare the efficacy of alpha- and beta-hydroxy acid chemical peels in the treatment of mild to moderately severe facial acne vulgaris.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Twenty patients were recruited in this split-face, double-blind, randomized, controlled study. An alpha-hydroxy acid (30% glycolic acid) was applied to one-half of the face and a beta-hydroxy acid peel (30% salicylic acid) was applied contralaterally every 2 weeks for a total of six treatments. A blinded evaluator performed quantitative assessment of papules and pustules.

RESULTS:

Both chemical peels were significantly effective by the second treatment (p<.05) and there were no significant differences in effectiveness between the two peels. At 2 months posttreatment, the salicylic acid peel had sustained effectiveness. More adverse events were reported with the glycolic acid peel after the initial treatment.

CONCLUSION:

The glycolic acid and salicylic acid peels were similarly effective. The salicylic acid peel had sustained effectiveness and fewer side effects. Alpha- and beta-hydroxy acid peels both offer successful adjunctive treatment of facial acne vulgaris.

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