Topical acne treatment with acetylcysteine: clinical and experimental effects

Skinmed. 2012 Nov-Dec;10(6):348-51.


Among the large variety of effects of acetylcysteine, several of them relate to cutaneous function in general and to sebaceous activity in particular. Due to the latter, a study was undertaken to investigate a possible effect of this substance in grade I acne. An analysis of the data from 99 patients in a double-blind study demonstrated that 5% acetylcysteine topical gel is significantly superior to placebo (P = .04) in reducing comedo counts. Comparable results were obtained in both sexes. This study indicates that acetylcysteine is an effective therapeutic option for the treatment of mild to moderate acne.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcysteine / administration & dosage
  • Acetylcysteine / therapeutic use*
  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy*
  • Acne Vulgaris / pathology
  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Adolescent
  • Dermatologic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Dermatologic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Gels
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Gels
  • Acetylcysteine