The efficacy and safety of a 70% glycolic acid peel with vitamin C for the treatment of acne scars

Heng Jun Khee, Liau MeiQi May, Yang Shiyao Sam, Aw Chen Wee Derrick, Ho Sue-Ann


Acne scarring is a common complication associated with significant psychological distress. Both glycolic acid (GA) and vitamin C are known to improve the appearance of acne scarring. We performed a review of 13 patients treated with three 70% GA peels with vitamin C at four weeks apart. There was a statistically significant` improvement in acne scarring and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from the baseline. Maximal effects were noted four weeks after the third chemical peel. It has an excellent safety profile with no permanent adverse effects noted. A combination of 70% glycolic acid with vitamin C chemical peel is an efficacious, well-tolerated treatment of acne scarring in Asian skin. 


chemical peel; glycolic acid; acne scars

Included Database


Fabbrocini G, Annunziata MC, D'arco V, De Vita V, Lodi G, et al. Acne scars: Pathogenesis, classification and treatment. Dermatology Res Practice 2010; 2010. doi: 10.1155/2010/893080.

Dreno B, Khammari A, Orain N, Noray C, Merial-Kieny C, et al. ECCA grading scale: An original validated acne scar grading scale for clinical practice in dermatology. Dermatology 2006; 214(1): 46–51. doi: 10.1159/000096912.

Savory SA, Agim NG, Mao R, Peter S, Wang C, et al. Reliability assessment and validation of the postacne hyperpigmentation index (PAHPI), a new instrument to measure postinflammatory hyperpigmentation from acne vulgaris. J Am Acad Dermatol 2014; 70(1): 108–114. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2013.09.017.

Fried RG, Wechsler A. Psychological problems in the acne patient. Dermatol Ther 2006; 19(4) :237–240. doi: 10.1111/j.1529-8019.2006.00079.x.

Bernstein EF, Lee J, Brown DB, Yu R, Van Scott E. Glycolic acid treatment increases type I collagen mRNA and hyaluronic acid content of human skin. Dermatol Surg 2001; 27(5): 429–433. doi: 10.1046/j.1524-4725.2001.00234.x.

Sharad J. Glycolic acid peel therapy: A current review. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol 2013; 2013(6): 281–288. doi: 10.2147/CCID.S34029.

Erbağcı Z, Akçalı C. Biweekly serial glycolic acid peels vs. long‐term daily use of topical low‐strength glycolic acid in the treatment of atrophic acne scars. Int J Dermatol 2000; 39(10) :789–794. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-4362.2000.00076.x.

Sharad J. Combination of microneedling and glycolic acid peels for the treatment of acne scars in dark skin. J Cosmet Dermatol 2011; 10(4): 317–323. doi: 10.1111/j.1473-2165.2011.00583.x.

Kim SJ, Park JH, Kim DH, WON YH, Maibach HI. Increased in vivo collagen synthesis and in vitro cell proliferative effect of glycolic acid. Dermatol Surg 1998; 24(10): 1054–1058. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.1998.tb04074.x.



  • There are currently no refbacks.