Background: Glycolic acid chemical peels have been widely accepted as a useful modality in many cutaneous conditions characterized by abnormalities of keratinization.
Objective: The aim of this study is to evaluate the use of glycolic peels in the main clinical forms of acne.
Methods: Between January 1995 and December 1996, 80 women, aged 13-40 years, were visited for acne and selected for the study at the Cagliari University Dermatology Department (Italy). The type and severity of acne in each patient was assessed following the Leeds technique. The chemical peels were performed with a 70% glycolic acid solution, for times that varied in a range between 2 and 8 minutes. The number and frequency of the applications depended on the intensity of the clinical response.
Results: The main clinical forms were comedonic acne in 32 cases, papulo-pustular acne in 40 cases and nodule-cystic acne in the remaining eight cases. The most rapid improvement was observed in comedonic acne. In the papulo-pustular forms an average of six applications was necessary. Although nodular-cystic forms required eight to ten applications, a significant improvement of the coexisting post-acne superficial scarring was noted. The procedure was well tolerated and patient compliance was excellent.
Conclusion: Glycolic acid chemical peels are an effective treatment for all types of acne, inducing rapid improvement and restoration to normal looking skin.