BACKGROUND Chemical peeling by salicylic acid in ethanol or another vehicle may be accompanied by stinging and burning followed by postinflammatory hyperpigmentation in the treated area, or salicylism. We have developed a new formulation: 30% salicylic acid in polyethylene glycol (SA-PEG). A topical application of SA-PEG remodels photodamaged skin in mice and humans, without systemic absorption. OBJECTIVE The objective was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of SA-PEG for clinical use in the treatment of acne. MATERIALS AND METHODS We evaluated the effects of the preparation histologically in mice and its safety and efficacy in 44 volunteers with normally aged skin and in 436 patients with acne. RESULTS Histologic studies in animals showed no inflammatory changes in the skin following topical application of SA-PEG. Volunteers noted an improved skin texture. In the acne patients, the comedones and papules disappeared, resulting in an excellent outcome. There was a notable absence of stinging and burning, edema, bleeding, or crusting in the treated area. CONCLUSION The SA-PEG preparation appeared to be safe and effective, with minimal associated inflammation or adverse effects, even in Asian patients who tend to develop hyperpigmentation or keloids. This preparation is thus ideal for chemical peeling.
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