Salicylic acid peel incorporating triethyl citrate and ethyl linoleate in the treatment of moderate acne: a new therapeutic approach

Dermatol Surg. 2013 Aug;39(8):1243-51. doi: 10.1111/dsu.12215. Epub 2013 Apr 29.


Background: Acne affects many adolescents. Conventional therapy often results in side effects and poor adherence, and the treatment does not consider the psychological effect of acne on patients, which is comparable with that of disabling diseases.

Objectives: To evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of a peel (30% salicylic acid, triethyl citrate and ethyl linoleate) combined with a home therapy with three topical agents (triethyl citrate, ethyl linoleate and salicylic acid 0.5% cream, lotion) in moderate acne of the face.

Design: Prospective, observational, multicenter, open-label, postmarketing, phase IV study.

Methods: Patients were assessed by comparing Global Acne Grading System (GAGS) score and total lesion count from 15 days before the first peel (T-15 ), after four salicylic peels (every 10 ± 2 days (T0 , T10 , T20 , T30 ), and 20 days after of the end of the study (T50 ). This treatment was associated to a home therapy.

Results: Fifty-three patients completed the study. The average GAGS score fell 49% between T-15 and T50 (p < .001). No patient withdrew for adverse events.

Conclusions: This therapy was effective and well-tolerated in all cases. Chemo-exfoliation sessions ensured the continuous monitoring of clinical results and improved patient quality of life.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase IV
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Chemexfoliation* / methods
  • Child
  • Citrates / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linoleic Acids / administration & dosage
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Salicylates / administration & dosage*
  • Young Adult


  • Citrates
  • Linoleic Acids
  • Salicylates
  • ethyl citrate
  • ethyl linoleate