Salicylic acid peels for the treatment of acne vulgaris in Asian patients

Dermatol Surg. 2003 Dec;29(12):1196-9; discussion 1199. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.2003.29384.x.


Background: Salicylic acid peels have been introduced as a useful modality in acne treatment. Few studies have examined its efficacy and safety, especially in darker skin.

Objective: To assess the efficacy and safety of salicylic acid peels as a treatment for acne vulgaris in Asian patients.

Methods: Thirty-five Korean patients with facial acne were treated with 30% salicylic acid peels biweekly for 12 weeks. Lesion counts and Dr. Cunliffe's score were assessed by a blinded evaluator. Safety assessments and patient's evaluations were also recorded.

Results: Both inflammatory and noninflammatory acne lesion counts were decreased in proportion to the duration of treatment. Dr. Cunliffe's acne grade was statistically significantly decreased after treatment. The side effects were tolerable in most cases, and all patients were pleased with their peel results. Stratum corneum hydration, skin surface lipid, skin pH, and transepidermal water loss were unchanged from baseline levels.

Conclusion: Salicylic acid peels are an effective and safe therapy for acne vulgaris in Asian patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Chemexfoliation*
  • Humans
  • Keratolytic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Korea
  • Salicylic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Time Factors


  • Keratolytic Agents
  • Salicylic Acid