30% Azelaic Acid Peel Reduces Sebum Secretion, Lesions in Women With Facial Acne

Investigators sought to assess the efficacy of a 30% azelaic acid peel on acne lesions.

A 30% azelaic acid peel was found to be associated with significant reductions in sebum secretion and acne lesions, as reported in a study published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment.

Women (n=35) between the ages of 18 and 45 years who had mild to severe acne were enrolled in the study. Acne severity was determined using the Investigator’s Global Assessment (IGA), which graded acne on a scale ranging from 0 (ie, clean skin without inflammatory and noninflammatory changes) to grade 4 (ie, severe disease with numerous comedones and inflammatory changes).

Participants received 6 treatments of 30% azelaic acid peels applied to the affected skin every 2 weeks, for a duration of 10 minutes each session. The researchers measured sebum production and the number of lesions after the sixth treatment session.

After 3 treatments, the amount of sebum secreted on the forehead and the right cheek differed significantly from baseline (P <.01). Similar results were observed between the third and sixth treatments. Reductions in the IGA were also observed after the last treatment (P <.0072).

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The peels were well tolerated by all patients. Common adverse events included burning and tingling sensations, as well as slight pruritus and redness during and after the procedures. None of these events led to treatment discontinuation.

Limitations of the study include the small sample size as well as the limited duration of the entire treatment sequence.

Despite the limitations, the researchers suggest that the reduction of sebum associated with the 30% azelaic acid peels “allows us to believe that obtained good results in patients will be stable and long-lasting.”

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Szymańska A, Budzisz E, Erkiert-Polguj A. Efficacy of 30% azelaic acid peel in the nonpharmacological treatment of facial acne [published online August 28, 2019]. J Dermatolog Treat. doi: 10.1080/09546634.2019.1657222