Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA's) or "fruit acids" are a special group of organic acids found in many natural foods. They have been described in the literature for the treatment of a number of conditions in which abnormal keratinization consistently contributes to pathogenesis. These include the icthyoses, warts, psoriasis, eczema and acne. We have performed a double-blind clinical trial on 150 patients to evaluate the efficacy and skin tolerance of the alpha hydroxy acid gluconolactone 14% in solution (Nuvoderm lotion) in the treatment of mild to moderate acne when compared with its vehicle (placebo) and 5% benzoyl peroxide lotion. The results of this study showed that both gluconolactone and benzoyl peroxide had a significant effect in improving patients' acne by reducing the number of lesions (inflamed and non-inflamed). Furthermore, fewer side-effects were experienced by patients treated with gluconolactone when compared with benzoyl peroxide.