Maintenance Therapy Beneficial for Reducing Adult Acne

Acne scarring on the face
Acne scarring on the face
Investigators assessed the efficacy of maintenance therapy in adults with acne.

Maintenance therapy with adapalene 0.1% plus alpha and beta hydroxy acid reduces the number of acne lesions after active therapy in patients with adult acne, according to study results published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment.

The study included adult participants age 25 to 39 with mild and moderate acne (n=100). The participants were introduced to maintenance therapy after completing an active treatment phase with isotretinoin, oral antibiotics, contraceptives, or topical cream with retinoids. For 12 weeks, all participants used adapalene 0.1% 3 times a week. Participants were also randomly assigned to receive either low doses of alpha and beta hydroxy acids (study group) or neutral moisturizing products (control group).

After 12 weeks, both the study and control groups had a significant decrease in the severity of acne lesions (P <.001 for both groups).

In both groups, the mean number of acne lesions at baseline was slightly higher than 30. At the end of treatment, the mean number of acne lesions was 12.25 in the study group and 20.00 in the control group (P <.001 for both groups).

While both treatments were effective, the results showed that the treatment used by the study group was significantly more effective. The difference in efficacy could be noted after just 4 weeks of maintenance therapy; the mean number of acne lesions at week 4 was significantly smaller in the study group compared with the control group (P =.039).

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“There are no clear guidelines as to what maintenance treatment methods should be used after oral treatments or during periods with mild acne lesions. The idea of long-term maintenance treatment seems to be justified due to the chronic recurrent nature of adult acne, marked by periods of exacerbations,” the researchers wrote.


This investigator-initiated trial was supported by Sanofi.


Chlebus E, Serafin M, Chlebus M. Is maintenance treatment in adult acne important? Benefits from maintenance therapy with adapalene, and low doses of alpha and beta hydroxy acids [published online June 6, 2018]. J Dermatolog Treat. doi:10.1080/09546634.2018.1484874