Facial acne: Mandelic acid peel as effective as salicylic acid peel, study finds

Published On 2021-11-29 03:30 GMT   |   Update On 2021-11-29 03:30 GMT

Pondicherry, India: Mandelic acid peel 40% is equally effective as salicylic acid peel 30% in mild-moderate facial acne, show findings from a prospective, randomized study. Further, post-peel stinging and burning were found to be more common with salicylic acid.

The findings of the study were presented at the virtual, 13th International Congress of Dermatology (ICD) of the International Society of Dermatology and the Australasian College of Dermatologists, from November 10–13, 2021. 

Acne vulgaris is one of the commonest skin disorders that mainly affects adolescents. The severity can range from mild to severe. Different treatment modalities are available nowadays. Chemical peels are a relatively inexpensive, popular, and safe method for the treatment of acne.

Mandelic acid is an alpha-hydroxyl acid that is derived from the hydrolysis of an extract of bitter almonds. It is a new emerging peeling agent for acne. As it's a newer peeling hence its comparison with an older established peeling agent, salicylic acid in the treatment of acne vulgaris is required. 

Rajkiran Takharya, MBBS, of the Aarupadai Veedu Medical College and Hospital, Pondicherry, India, set out to compare the 40% mandelic acid vs 30% salicylic acid for mild to moderate acne vulgaris of the face. 

For this purpose, a prospective, randomized study of 12‐week duration was done. Total 30 patients from age 18-30 years, suffering from mild‐to‐moderate acne- vulgaris were randomly divided into two groups 15 each, group one receiving 40% mandelic acid peels and the other receiving 30% salicylic acid peels with intervals of 2 weeks for six sessions. Total duration of the study was 12 weeks. Michaelsson acne scores and clinical photographs were used to evaluate the efficacy of therapy objectively. Adverse reactions of both the peeling agents were also noted at each visit. 


Following were the study's key findings:

  • The difference in results between the two groups was found to be significant from 4 weeks onwards till the end of the therapy.
  • Overall both the peeling agents showed almost equal efficacy in improving mild-to-moderate acne vulgaris.
  • Salicylic acid was found better in treating non-inflammatory lesions, while mandelic acid in treating inflammatory lesions.
  • Adverse effects were lesser with mandelic acid peels.
  • About 40% mandelic acid peel was found to be equally effective as 30% salicylic acid peel in mild‐to‐moderate facial acne-vulgaris.
  • Safety and tolerability of mandelic acid peel were better than salicylic acid peel.

Dr. Takharya concluded that mandelic acid peel 40% were found to be equally effective as salicylic acid peel 30% in mild to moderate facial acne vulgaris. Post-peel burning and stinging sensations were observed more commonly with salicylic acid.

Dr. Takharya added, "Similar studies should be conducted with more participants and longer follow up, at least 6 months."

Article Source : 13th International Congress of Dermatology

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