Comparison of the efficacy and safety of 40% glycolic acid & 60% lactic acid chemical peel in treatment of epidermal melasma

Asia Hafeez, Shehla Shaukat, Madiha Sanai, Tahir Jamil Ahmad, Shahbaz Aman


Objective To compare the efficacy and safety of chemical peel with 40% glycolic acid and  60% lactic acid in the treatment of epidermal melasma.


Methods In this comparative interventional study, 112 patients of 18 to 40 years, suffering from epidermal melasma, not taking any treatment for melasma for last 4 weeks were included. Pre-treatment melasma area severity index (MASI) was calculated. 56 patients were treated with lactic acid peel and 56 with glycolic acid peel. Total of 6 sessions of each peel with 4 weeks interval were done and then monthly post treatment follow up for 2 months. During each visit MASI score was calculated. Photographs were taken at baseline and at follow-up visit.  Percentage reduction of MASI was calculated at the end of therapy.


Results In Group A, treated with 40% glycolic acid chemical peeling, efficacy of treatment was seen in 38 (67.5%), while in Group B, treated with 60% lactic acid chemical peeling efficacy was seen in 45 (80.4%). This proved that efficacy was higher in Group B but was not significantly different (P value=0.13) so final MASI reduced significantly in both study groups. Side effects e.g burning, erythema, scarring, crusting, post peel hypo/hyper pigmentation were 52 (64.20%) in Group A and 29 (35.80%) in Group B.


Conclusion Both 40% Glycolic acid & 60% lactic acid chemical peeling agents are effective in treatment of epidermal melasma. 60% Lactic acid chemical peel is safer than 40% Glycolic acid chemical peel.



Epidermal Melasma, chemical peel, Glycolic acid, Lactic acid

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