DOI: 10.1111/jocd.16141 ISSN: 1473-2130

A pilot study examining a double‐conjugated, retinoid‐based skincare regimen for darker, blemish‐prone skin

Corey L. Hartman, Rayna M. Dyck, Diane B. Nelson
  • Dermatology



Retinoids and alpha‐ and beta hydroxy acids are common components utilized in regimens for blemish‐prone skin. However, balancing efficacy and tolerability is often challenging.


This pilot study evaluated a double‐conjugated retinoid serum specifically formulated for blemish‐prone skin (AHARet‐SA) in combination with exfoliating peel pads (double‐conjugated retinoid, glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids), a cleanser, mineral‐based sunscreen, and a lightweight moisturizer in female participants with mild‐to‐moderate blemish‐prone skin. Fifty‐five percent of participants were Fitzpatrick Skin Type (FST) IV and 27% were FST V. Participants used the exfoliating peel pads (3x/week for 8 weeks; 2x/week for 4 weeks) followed by nightly AHARet‐SA and a moisturizer (as needed). Improvements in skin were assessed using the 5‐point Investigator Global Assessment Scale, and participant satisfaction and tolerability were assessed over 12 weeks.


Significant mean improvement from baseline in skin clarity occurred after 4 weeks (14%; p = 0.04) with progressive improvements through week 12 (52%; p = 0.004). Eighty‐eight percent of participants reported improvements in the appearance and texture of their skin and fewer blemishes/breakouts. Mild, transient adverse events were reported.


A regimen comprised of a double‐conjugated serum and exfoliating peel pads formulated for blemish‐prone skin led to significant improvements from baseline in skin clarity after 12 weeks in participants with predominately darker skin tones and mild‐to‐moderate blemish‐prone skin.

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