Retinaldehyde alleviates rosacea

Dermatology. 1999:199 Suppl 1:53-6. doi: 10.1159/000051380.


Background: Anecdotal observations suggest that retinoic acid may be effective in mild rosacea.

Aim: Our aim was to investigate, by an exploratory clinical and instrumental study, the effects of a topical formulation with the retinoic acid precursor retinaldehyde, in patients with vascular signs of facial rosacea.

Methods: Female patients were treated with a 0.05% retinaldehyde cream that was applied once daily for 6 months. Clinical assessments of persistent erythema and telangiectasia were performed every month, using a 4-point severity score (absent to severe). The clinical response for each parameter was defined as a decrease of at least 1 grade in the severity score. In addition, erythema was further evaluated by measurement of the a* parameter, using a spectrophotometer on lesional and nonlesional areas.

Results: A total of 23 women comprised the study population. At baseline, 10 patients had diffuse erythema, 3 patients had isolated telangiectasia and 10 patients had both. During retinaldehyde treatment, a clinical response was revealed in about 75% of the patients with erythema, after 5 months (p < 0.05). Similarly, isolated telangiectasia responded to retinaldehyde, although to a lesser extent and after a longer period of treatment (46% responders after 6 months, nonsignificant). Using the spectrophotometer, the a* parameter diminished in patients with erythema by about 15%, after 2 months of treatment (p = 0.001).

Conclusion: This study indicates that retinaldehyde has beneficial effects on the vascular component of rosacea.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Erythema / drug therapy
  • Erythema / pathology
  • Facial Dermatoses / drug therapy*
  • Facial Dermatoses / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Ointments
  • Retinaldehyde / administration & dosage*
  • Rosacea / drug therapy*
  • Rosacea / pathology
  • Telangiectasis / drug therapy
  • Telangiectasis / pathology


  • Ointments
  • Retinaldehyde