Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages
Filter by Categories
15th National Conference of the IAOMFP, Chennai, 2006
Abstract
Abstracts from current literature
Acne in India: Guidelines for management - IAA Consensus Document
Addendum
Announcement
Art & Psychiatry
Article
Articles
Association Activities
Association Notes
Award Article
Book Review
Brief Report
Case Analysis
Case Letter
Case Letters
Case Notes
Case Report
Case Reports
Clinical and Laboratory Investigations
Clinical Article
Clinical Studies
Clinical Study
Commentary
Conference Oration
Conference Summary
Continuing Medical Education
Correspondence
Corrigendum
Cosmetic Dermatology
Cosmetology
Current Best Evidence
Current View
Derma Quest
Dermato Surgery
Dermatopathology
Dermatosurgery Specials
Dispensing Pearl
Do you know?
Drug Dialogues
e-IJDVL
Editor Speaks
Editorial
Editorial Remarks
Editorial Report
Editorial Report - 2007
Editorial report for 2004-2005
Errata
Erratum
Focus
Fourth All India Conference Programme
From Our Book Shelf
From the Desk of Chief Editor
General
Get Set for Net
Get set for the net
Guest Article
Guest Editorial
History
How I Manage?
IADVL Announcement
IADVL Announcements
IJDVL Awards
IJDVL AWARDS 2015
IJDVL Awards 2018
IJDVL Awards 2019
IJDVL Awards 2020
IJDVL International Awards 2018
Images in Clinical Practice
In Memorium
Inaugural Address
Index
Knowledge From World Contemporaries
Leprosy Section
Letter in Response to Previous Publication
Letter to Editor
Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor - Case Letter
Letter to the Editor - Letter in Response to Published Article
LETTER TO THE EDITOR - LETTERS IN RESPONSE TO PUBLISHED ARTICLES
Letter to the Editor - Observation Letter
Letter to the Editor - Study Letter
Letter to the Editor - Therapy Letter
Letter to the Editor: Articles in Response to Previously Published Articles
Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor - Letter in Response to Previously Published Articles
Letters to the Editor: Case Letters
Letters to the Editor: Letters in Response to Previously Published Articles
Medicolegal Window
Messages
Miscellaneous Letter
Musings
Net Case
Net case report
Net Image
Net Letter
Net Quiz
Net Study
New Preparations
News
News & Views
Obituary
Observation Letter
Observation Letters
Oration
Original Article
ORIGINAL CONTRIBUTION
Original Contributions
Pattern of Skin Diseases
Pearls
Pediatric Dermatology
Pediatric Rounds
Perspective
Presedential Address
Presidential Address
Presidents Remarks
Quiz
Recommendations
Regret
Report
Report of chief editor
Report of Hon : Treasurer IADVL
Report of Hon. General Secretary IADVL
Research Methdology
Research Methodology
Resident page
Resident's Page
Resident’s Page
Residents' Corner
Residents' Corner
Retraction
Review
Review Article
Review Articles
Revision Corner
Self Assessment Programme
SEMINAR
Seminar: Chronic Arsenicosis in India
Seminar: HIV Infection
Short Communication
Short Communications
Short Report
Special Article
Specialty Interface
Studies
Study Letter
Supplement-Photoprotection
Supplement-Psoriasis
Symposium - Contact Dermatitis
Symposium - Lasers
Symposium - Pediatric Dermatoses
Symposium - Psoriasis
Symposium - Vesicobullous Disorders
SYMPOSIUM - VITILIGO
Symposium Aesthetic Surgery
Symposium Dermatopathology
Symposium-Hair Disorders
Symposium-Nails Part I
Symposium-Nails-Part II
Tables
Technology
Therapeutic Guidelines
Therapeutic Guidelines - IADVL
Therapeutics
Therapy
Therapy Letter
View Point
Viewpoint
What’s new in Dermatology
Original Article
2003:69:2;148-150
PMID: 17642863

The therapeutic value of glycolic acid peels in dermatology

C Grover, BS Reddu
 Dept. of Dermatology, Maulana Azad Medical College & Hospitals, New Delhi - 110 002, India

Correspondence Address:
C Grover
Dept. of Dermatology, Maulana Azad Medical College & Hospitals, New Delhi - 110 002
India
How to cite this article:
Grover C, Reddu B S. The therapeutic value of glycolic acid peels in dermatology. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2003;69:148-150
Copyright: (C)2003 Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology

Abstract

Chemical peeling or chemexfoliation has become increasingly popular in recent years for treatment of a number of cosmetic skin problems. Topical glycolic acid in the concentration of 10-30% for 3-5 minutes at fortnightly intervals was investigated as a therapeutic peeling agent in 41 patients having acne (39%), melasma (36.5%), post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (12%) and superficial scarring of varied etiology (12%). A final evaluation done at 16 weeks revealed that this modality is useful especially in superficial scarring and melasma, moderately successful in acne patients with no response in dermal pigmentation. No significant untoward effects were seen.
Keywords: Chemexfoliation, Alpha-hydroxy acids, Glycolic acid, Acne, Melasma, Superficial scarring, Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation

Introduction

Chemical peeling with glycolic and trichloroacetic acid has become an increasingly popular method to treat a myriad of benign skin disorders. The basic procedure aims at the production of controlled chemical burns of epidermis and/or dermis resulting in exhalation and subsequent resurfacing of the epidermis and a remodeling of collagen and elastic fibers with deposition of glycosaminoglycans in dermis.[1] Since there is a paucity of literature with this modality of treatment in Indian patients, a study was conducted to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of glycolic acid peels in various cosmetic skin problems.

Materials and Methods

A total of 41 patients of both sexes who attended the Dermatological out patient clinic of a tertiary care teaching hospital in New Delhi with varied skin problems including acne, melasma, post inflammatory hyperpigmentation and superficial scarring, constituted the subjects for this study- Before starting therapy, skin typing and photoageing status was evaluated for all patients according to Fitzpatrick′s and Glogau′s classification systems[2] respectively. Patients clinical details and the nature and severity of lesions were noted. Clinical photographs using standard positioning were taken at week 0 (baseline) and week 16 (completion of study).

Following an informed consent and a test peel, all the patients were primed with tretinoin cream (0.025%) for a total of 2 weeks. Serial glycolic acid (GA) peels were then undertaken at fortnightly intervals. Superficial chemical peels (upto the level of stratum granulosum) were attempted according to Brody′s and Mark Rubin′s classification, keeping in mind the peculiarities of the Indian skin. We started with 10% GA for a period of 1-2 minutes, serially increasing the duration and concentration of 30% GA for five minutes was used. All the patients were advised total sun protection with a broad -spectrum sun screen having SPF of more than 15. Side effects if any, which appeared over the course of therapy were also recorded.

At 16 weeks, patients were evaluated and the response to therapy was graded on a five point scale as good (>60%improvement); fair (31--60%%); poor (< 30%); no change or worse. The final assessment was recorded on the basis of the opinion of the clinician, perception of the patient and photographic analysis.

Results

Among the 41 patients included in the study there were 8 males and 33 females. The patients were in the age group of 16-46 years. Skin typing revealed Fitzpatrick type IV in 68.2% type III in 20% and type V in 14% similarly, potoageing status according to Glogau′s classification revealed group I (minimal potoageing) in 51 %, group II in 30% and group III/IV in 19%.

Acne patients comprised 39% of the study group. All of them had a greasy skin with high sebaceous activity. Severity of acne (graded on a four point scale) revealed that mild to moderate acne comprised 50% of the patients while severe acne were seen in 43%. There was a single patient with nodulocystic lesions. Apart from comedones, papules and pustules, a significant number of our patients also had scarring and pigmentation. After undergoing peels with GA, the therapeutic response was good to fair in 75% of the patients (both on the basis of patients and observer assessment). Patients with post inflammatory hyperpigmentation and scarring showed excellent improvement. Significant decrease in the number of comedones and papulopustules was observed in patients with mild to moderate acne. However, the single patient with nodulocystic lesions did not respond well to therapy.

Fifteen cases of melasma, both molar (53.3%) and centrofacial (46.6) were included.[3] On Wood,s lamp examination, melosma was considered to be epidermal (80%), dermal (13.3%) and mixed (6.6%).[3] There was no correlation between the clinical pattern, age, skin type and ingestion of oral contraceptives or pregnancy. With GA peels, a good to fair response was seen in more than 90% of the patients. The poor responders included patients with dermal type of melasma. Side effects in the form of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (2 patients) and GA induced hypopigmentation (1 patient) noted in this group.

In patients with post inflammatory hyperpigmentation induced by superficial burns (2cases) or drugs (3cases), the results were not encouraging with appreciable response being seen in only 40% of the patients.

Five cases of superficial scarring of varied etiologies (post herpetic, post TCA application and rhytides) were treated with peels and good to fair response was seen in 80%of them. Apart from this, overall 80% of the patients had experienced an improvement in their skin texture in terms of a smoother and brighter looking skin.

Mild discomfort and irritation of the skin was seen in 11 of our patients (26.5%) however, none of them discontinued treatment on this basis. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, herpes labialis and glycolic acid induced hypopigmentation were the other side effects observed [Table - 2].

Discussion

Chemical peeling is based on the scientific principle of skin healing pattern seen with chemical burns. For centuries, this method of skin rejuvenation has been in vogue, though in less refined ways. This is reflected out in the use of sour milk by Cleopatra centuries ago. Since then a myriad of chemicals have been used as peeling agents, out of which the most fruitful ones are the alpha hydroxy acid (ANA′S). These have been shown to improve photodamaged skin and fine wrinkles[4],[5] and modulate stratum corneum barrier function.[6] GA, a member of AHA family is one of the most commonly used and versatile peeling agent. It has been found used in a variety of skin disorders including disorders of keratinization (xerosis, ichthyosis) apart from the commoner skin problems like pigmentary changes (post inflammatory hype rpigmentation, melasma), acne, wrinkles, warts, actinic and seborrhoeic keratoses etc, the commonest indication being skin rejuvenation. GA is available at lower concentration as home care products, but the dermatologists in practise are the only ones to use concentrations in excess of 20%.[7] Applications of GA peels can enhance the effect of local treatments such as topical steroids in lichen simplex chronicus or psoriasis and topical antifungals in various dermatophyte infections involving palms and soles.

Acne of varying severity has been one of the well-evaluated indications for GA peels. Overall, 75-78%of our patients with acne (except the patient with nodulocystic lesions) showed a good to fair response with GA peels as compared to 90% response seen Wang et al.[8] Upto 69% improvement in scarring and hyperpigmentation seen by Wang et al[8] and Erbgaci et al[7] is also corroborated in our study.

Melasma in the present series showed predominantly a malar pattern (54%) in contrast to the finding by Sanchez et al,[3] where centrofacial melasma was the commonest pattern observed (63%). The incidence of epidermal melasma noticed in the above series was almost similar (72% as compared to 80% in our study). Good to fair results seen in our patients are in agreement with the finding by Lim et al in their study of melasma in Asian women′ and the beneficial effect was clearly outlined in the first two to three serial peels itself.

Burns et al[10] reported a more rapid and better improvement in post inflammatory hyperpigmentation with the use of GA peels. This was reflected in our study also with an overall improvement of skin texture in almost all the patients. GA peels are particularly useful in patients with superficial scarring of varied etiology, as reported in various studies in the past (69% improvement in the study by Wang et al) and also the present study (80% cases showing improvement).

Side effects reported with GA include scarring, infection, post inflammatory hyper and hypopigmentation, atophic texture changes and milia.[11] However, it was found to be quite safe in our study but for minor untoward effects observed in 4/41 patients (9%). This was in close agreement with a 5.6% incidence of side effects seen by Wang et al.[9]

GA is a versatile peeling agent. It alters dermal collagen and matrix via fibroblast modulation[12] and also has an antioxidant action, thus offering photoprotection.[13] In recent years, GA is being used in combination therapy with azelaic acid, tretinoin, ascorbic acid etc. This helps in enhancing the depth of penetration of both agents while decreasing the toxicity and morbidity associated with deeper peels.[14] It is concluded that GA peels in our study were found to be quite effective and safe in the management of some cosmetic skin problems as superficial scarring, melasma, acne and to some extent post inflammatory hyperpigmentation with an overall improvement in texture and rejuvenation of skin.

References
1.
Savant SS, Metho N. Superficial and medium depth chemical peeling. In: Text Book and Atlas of Dermetosurgery and Cosmetology. Edited by Savant SS, Shah RA, Gore D, ASCAD, 1998: 136-144.
[Google Scholar]
2.
Murad H, Shamban RT, Premo PS. The use of glycolic acid as a peeling agent. Dermatol Clin 1995;13:285-307.
[Google Scholar]
3.
Sanchez PN, Pathak MA, Sato S et al. Melasma: a clinical, light microscopic, ultrastructural and immunofluorescence study. J Am Acad Dermatol 1981;4:698-710.
[Google Scholar]
4.
Van Scott E, Ditre CM, Yu RJ. Alpha hydroxy acids in the treatment of signs of photoageing. Clin Dermatol 1996;14;217-226.
[Google Scholar]
5.
Ditre CM, Griffin TD, Murphy GF, et al. Effects of AHA on photoaged skin: a pilot clinical, histologic and ultrastructural study. J Am Acad Dermatol 1996;34:187-195.
[Google Scholar]
6.
Berardesca E, Distante F, Vignoli GP et al. Alpha hydroxy acids modulate stratum comeum barderfunction. Br JDermatol 1997;137:934938.
[Google Scholar]
7.
Erbgaci Z, Akcali C. Biweekly serial glycolic acid peels vs long term daily use of topical low strength glycolic acid in the treatment of atrophic acne scars. lntJ Dermatol 2000;39:789-794.
[Google Scholar]
8.
Wang CM, Huang CL, Hu CTS, et al. The effect of glycolic acid on treatment of acne in Asian skin . Dermatol Surg 1997;23:23-29.
[Google Scholar]
9.
Lim JTEE, Tham SN. Glycolic acid peels in the treatment of melasmo among Asian women. Dermatol Surg 1997;23:177-179.
[Google Scholar]
10.
Burns RL, Prevost- Blank PL, Lawry MA, et al. Glycolic acid for postinflammatory hyperpigmentation in black patients. Dermotol Surg 1997;23:171-175.
[Google Scholar]
11.
Resnick SS, Resnick BI. Complications of chemical peeling. Dermatol Clin 1995;13(2):309-312.
[Google Scholar]
12.
Kim SJ, Won YH. The effects of glycolic acid on cultured human skin fibroblasts: cell proliferative effects and increased collagen synthesis. J Dermatol 1990;25:05.
[Google Scholar]
13.
Perricone NV, DiNardo JC. Photoprotective and antiinflammatory effects of topical glycolic acid. Dermatol Surg 1996;22:435-437.
[Google Scholar]
14.
Kakita LS, Lowe NJ. Azelaic acid and combination therapy of facial hyperpigmentation in darker skinned patients: a clinical comparison with hydroquinone. Clin Ther 1998;20:960-970.
[Google Scholar]
Show Sections