A prospective, randomised, split-face comparative study of 50% glycolic acid peel versus laser toning in the treatment of melasma in Asian skin


  • Jasleen Kaur Department of Dermatology, Sri Guru Ram Das Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Amritsar, Punjab, India
  • Tanreet Kaur Department of Dermatology, Government Medical College, Amritsar, Punjab, India




Hyperpigmentation, Chemical peeling, Nd-YAG laser


Background: Although various treatment options are available for the management of melasma, still it is challenging disorder to treat. Apart from topical therapies, newer modalities like laser toning and chemical peeling are being explored to manage this notorious dermatosis. To evaluate and compare the efficacy and side effects of laser toning versus 50% glycolic acid peel in the management of melasma.

Methods: A split face comparative study was done in 30 female patients with melasma. Over the right half of patient’s face laser toning was done whereas other half was treated with 50% glycolic acid peel. 4 such sessions were given at an interval of 15 days. Response to treatment was assessed using melasma area and severity index (MASI) score.

Results: Baseline mean MASI score on right and left half of patient’s face was 7.85±3.34 and 6.25±1.56 respectively. After completion of 4 treatment sessions, it was reduced to 4.23±1.45 and 3.71±1.10 respectively with statistically insignificant difference between two halves (p=0.08). Recurrence rate of melasma was higher (46.66%) with laser toning in comparison to glycolic acid peel (26.6% patients).

Conclusions: Glycolic acid peel and laser toning were comparable in terms of outcome with laser toning showing slightly better results. In comparison to peels recurrence rate and complications like hypopigmentation in Asian patients were higher with laser toning.


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