Treatment of Postinflammatory Hyperpigmentation With a Combination of Glycolic Acid Peels and a Topical Regimen in Dark-Skinned Patients: A Comparative Study

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Facial postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is challenging to manage in patients with skin of color because of the risk of subsequent treatment-related hyperpigmentation.

OBJECTIVE

To evaluate the safety and efficacy of combining glycolic acid (GA) peels with a modified Kligman formula (MKF) containing hydroquinone 2%, tretinoin 0.05%, and hydrocortisone 1% for the treatment of facial PIH in Indian patients.

METHODS

Thirty Indian patients (Fitzpatrick skin Types III–V) with facial PIH were randomly assigned to 2 groups of 15 each. One group received serial GA peels combined with an intervening topical regimen containing MKF. The other group received MKF alone. Results were evaluated by a clinical investigator at baseline and at the end of 21 weeks (3 weeks after treatment completion) using an objective scoring system, the Hyperpigmentation Area and Severity Index (HASI) score, and clinical photography.

RESULTS

The baseline mean HASI scores of the 2 groups were comparable. There was a statistically significant difference in the mean HASI score of the peels group compared with the MKF alone group at 12 weeks (p = .004) and 21 weeks (p < .001). Side effects were observed in both groups and were managed with liberal application of emollients. No patient dropped out of the study as a result of the side effects.

CONCLUSION

This study demonstrates that serial GA peels in combination with a MKF are efficacious and safe in the treatment of facial PIH in dark-skinned patients.

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