Vitamin C Versus Glycolic Acid

Comparative studies have also been done, specifically with glycolic acid peel. An early study evaluated the efficacy of vitamin C iontophoresis and 30 % glycolic acid peel. Thirty-four patients were enrolled in the study. The first group received vitamin C only, the second group received only the peel, and last group received both treatments. Iontophoresis was done weekly for 12 weeks, under a direct current of 0.3 mA/cm2 for 6 min. The glycolic acid peel, on the other hand, had a contact time of only 2 min. Outcome measures were the modified MASI (mMASI) score and melanin indices measured by a Mexameter. At the end of the study, all groups had lower mMASI scores and Mexameter readings (p < 0.05) [9].

More recently, a single-blinded study was done that compared topical nanosome vitamin C to 70 % glycolic acid peel. Fourteen patients with skin types IV and V were enrolled, with each patient receiving the glycolic acid peel on the right side of the face, while 0.5 ml solution containing 10 % ascorbic acid liposome was applied on the left side using iontophoresis at 50 mA for 10 min. Each patient received a total of six treatments. Photographs, MASI scores, and global evaluation were taken at baseline and at the end of the study.

Results showed a statistically significant improvement of both sides, but the side treated with the vitamin C had a greater improvement, with a 43 % decrease in the MASI score (versus 22 % for right side) at end point. Global assessment by the patient, attending physician, and two blinded physicians likewise revealed greater improvement on the vitamin C treated side. The authors concluded that nanosome vitamin C delivered via iontophoresis was safe and effective in the treatment of melasma and was superior to the glycolic acid peel [10].

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