Efficacy of topical 0.05% retinaldehyde in skin aging by ultrasound and rheological techniques

Dermatology. 1999;199 Suppl 1:37-41. doi: 10.1159/000051377.


Background: The natural precursor of retinoic acid, i.e. retinaldehyde, has been proven to exert retinoid activities.

Aim and methods: The aim of this prospective instrument study was to determine the effect of topical retinaldehyde 0.05% on the physical properties of aging skin. This was performed using two devices, namely a high-resolution (70-80 microm) ultrasound scanner, which visualizes the thickness of both the epidermis and the dermis, and an echorheometer, which assesses the stiffness and elasticity of the skin by suction. In a 1-year study, 21 patients applied retinaldehyde cream 0.05% on the face, while another group of 19 volunteers were only treated with an emollient (control group). Epidermal and dermal thicknesses were measured on the forehead and temple, and stiffness and elasticity were measured on the forehead only. All the instrumental parameters were assessed at baseline and at the end of treatment.

Results: Compared to the control group, retinaldehyde treatment induced a significant increase in epidermal thickness of the temple, as well as in cutaneous elasticity (p < 0. 01). Similarly, retinaldehyde treatment tended to increase dermal thickness and reduce cutaneous stiffness, but no statistical difference could be observed between the two groups.

Conclusion: Taken together, the results further suggest that retinaldehyde has counteracting effects on skin aging

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Elasticity
  • Face
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retinaldehyde / administration & dosage*
  • Skin / diagnostic imaging*
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Skin Aging / drug effects*
  • Skin Aging / physiology
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena
  • Ultrasonography


  • Retinaldehyde