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Clinical Evaluation of Glycolic Acid Chemical Peeling in Patients with Acne Vulgaris: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Split-Face Comparative Study

Kaminaka, Chikako, MD, PhD1,2; Uede, Mikiko1; Matsunaka, Hiroshi1; Furukawa, Fukumi, MD, PhD1; Yamomoto, Yuki, MD, PhD1,2

doi: 10.1111/dsu.12417

BACKGROUND Glycolic acid (GA) peels are frequently performed as adjuvants to the treatment of facial acne. There have been few clinical trials reported of GA peels for acne in people with darker skin.

OBJECTIVES To determine the safety and efficacy of GA peels in the treatment of moderate acne vulgaris in Asian skin.

METHODS In this prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, split-face clinical trial, 26 patients with moderate acne were treated with 40% GA (pH 2.0) on half of the face and placebo on the other half. The procedure was performed five times at 2-week intervals.

RESULTS The GA sides had statistically significant reductions in acne lesions at each time point from baseline values. There were statistically significant differences between the GA and placebo sides. The GA sides had better responses for noninflammatory lesions than for inflammatory lesions. In bioengineering measurements, sebum levels were statistically significantly reduced after the initiation of therapy on both sides at weeks 8 and 10, but there were no statistically significant differences between the two sides.

CONCLUSION Forty percent GA peels significantly improved moderate acne in this study. It is effective and safe in Asians.

1Department of Dermatology, Wakayama Medical University, Wakayama, Japan

2Department of Cosmetic Dermatology and Photomedicine, Wakayama Medical University, Wakayama, Japan

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Chikako Kaminaka, MD, PhD, Departments of Dermatology, Cosmetic Dermatology and Photomedicine, Wakayama Medical University, 811-1 Kimiidera, Wakayama 641-0012, Japan, or e-mail:

The authors have indicated no significant interest with commercial supporters.

Kaminaka and Uede contributed equally to this work.

© 2014 by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, Inc.
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