Interest of the association retinaldehyde/glycolic acid in adult acne

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2009 May;23(5):529-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2009.03099.x. Epub 2009 Jan 29.


Background: Topical retinoids have been successfully used in the treatment of acne vulgaris but may induce irritation when used twice daily. The association of retinaldehyde (RAL) with glycolic acid (GA) have complementary activities, which could be of interest for adult women with acne because of a better tolerance/efficacy ratio. The aim of this study was to evaluate the tolerance and the efficiency of RAL (0.1%)/GA (6%) in adult women with acne when used alone or in combination with their usual acne products except retinoids.

Methods: Three hundred ninety-seven women with acne (aged between 30 and 40 years old) were included in this open multicentric study. They had to apply cream containing RAL/GA for 90 days without stopping their previous acne treatment (except topical retinoids). The tolerance was the main criteria and the second one is the efficacy, which was assessed by counting inflammatory and retentional lesions after 30 and 90 days of treatment.

Results: Used alone or in association with other anti-acne treatments, RAL/GA was considered to be highly tolerated. A significant decrease in both inflammatory and retentional lesions between day 0 and day 90 indicates that RAL/GA can be used as monotherapy for mild acne or could potentate the efficiency of other anti-acne products used at the same time by patients suffering from moderate acne. Complaints about side-effects were rare. The subjective evaluation of the preparation's efficacy by investigators and patients was strongly favourable.

Conclusion: These data show that a combination of RAL 0.1% and GA 6% may be used in association with other topical anti-acne treatments with an excellent tolerance.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy*
  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Drug Combinations
  • Female
  • Glycolates / administration & dosage
  • Glycolates / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Retinaldehyde / administration & dosage
  • Retinaldehyde / therapeutic use*


  • Drug Combinations
  • Glycolates
  • glycolic acid
  • Retinaldehyde