Alpha-Hydroxy, Beta-Hydroxy Acid Serum Significantly Reduces Acne Lesions

Acne on a person's face
Acne on a person’s face
The efficacy of a serum combination product in treating postinflammatory hyperpigmentation in patients with acne vulgaris is assessed.

Daily treatment with a serum containing dioic acid, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, lipohydroxy acid (LHA), citric acid, and hydroxyethylpiperazine ethane sulfonic acid (HEPES) was associated with a significant decrease in the number of postinflammatory hyperchromia acne lesions as well as a significant reduction in oiliness in patients with grade 1 and 2 acne, according to study findings published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.

This single-center, open-label study included 42 patients from Brazil from 18 to 35 years of age (mean age, 28 years) who had grade 1 (n=8) or 2 (n=34) acne, oily skin, and a diagnosis of acne postinflammatory hyperpigmentation. The investigational product was a facial serum comprising dioic acid, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, LHA, citric acid, and HEPES. The study participants used the serum twice per day along with an SPF 50 sunscreen in the morning and a neutral soap cleanser at night.

The investigators performed sebumetry and assessed skin quality and the number of postinflammatory hyperchromia acne lesions at days 7, 28, and 56.

Approximately 42.9% of patients had oily skin, 28.6% of patients had combination to oily skin, and another 28.6% of patients had very oily skin. The investigators observed a significant reduction in the grade of postinflammatory hyperchromic lesions after 28 and 56 days of treatment (P <.001).

The number of lesions decreased by 29.4% from baseline to 56 days (P <.001). Sebumetry values demonstrated a significant 30.7% reduction in oiliness after only 7 days of treatment (P <.001). Oiliness stabilized during the remaining study duration but remained significantly lower than that reported at baseline (P <.001).

No adverse events associated with the investigational product were reported.

Limitations of this study included its single-center design, the lack of a placebo or control group, and the small sample size.

The researchers concluded that the effects of the serum “may be linked to dioic acid due to anti-inflammatory and skin whitening properties associated with [peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARɣ)] activation.”

Disclosure: This clinical trial was supported by L’Óreal Brazil. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.


Campos V, Pitassi L, Kalil C, Gonçalves Júnior JE, Sant’Anna B, Correia P. Clinical evaluation of the efficacy of a facial serum containing dioic acid, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, LHA, citric acid, and HEPES in treating post-inflammatory hyperchromia and controlling oily skin in patients with acne vulgaris. J Cosmet Dermatol. Published online February 22, 2021. doi:10.1111/jocd.14016