A Comparative Study of 50 % Glycolic Acid Peel and 30 % Salicylic Acid Peel in Mild to Moderate Acne - A Split Face Study

Author(s): Mukesh Manjhi1 , Pravesh Yadav2 , Anuja Yadav3 , Vivek Sagar4 , V. Ramesh5

BACKGROUND Acne vulgaris is a commonly encountered disorder at dermatology clinics. For decades, chemical peeling has been used as an effective therapeutic option in the treatment of active acne lesions. Although various peeling agents are available, studies comparing their efficacy in active acne are lacking. The aim of the study was to evaluate the comparative efficacy of 50 % glycolic acid (GA) peel and 30 % salicylic acid (SA) peel in mild to moderate acne. METHODS This is an interventional, split face study involving thirty patients aged more than 12 years with active acne. The patients underwent peeling sessions every 2 weeks with 50 % glycolic acid and 30 % salicylic acid in the right and left half respectively, for a total of six sessions. Lesion count was recorded at baseline and at every follow-up session. Acne severity scoring was noted at each visit to evaluate the response. Patient VAS and Physician VAS were also used to measure the response. Photographic record was maintained. RESULTS The mean acne severity scores improved significantly as compared to baseline on both the sides at each of the follow ups (p = 0.000). On inter group comparison; the fall on SA side was significantly better than the GA side at all the follow ups. VAS-patient and VAS-physician scores also showed a significantly better response on SA side as compared to GA side. No serious side effects were noted on either side. Six sessions of both GA 50 % and SA 30 % peels at 2 week intervals showed good response in the management of mild to moderate acne measured by Acne severity score, Patient VAS and Physician VAS. However, SA peel showed a still better and faster response probably owing to its penetration into the sebaceous glands by virtue of its lipophilic nature. No significant side effects were noted by either peel. CONCLUSIONS Both GA 50 % and SA 30 % peels are effective in mild to moderate acne vulgaris. SA 30 % peel is more effective and provides faster response in treatment of mild to moderate acne vulgaris.