Long-term clinical experience with a topical retinoid

Br J Dermatol. 1992 Sep;127 Suppl 41:31-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.1992.tb16985.x.


Topical tretinoin is a well-established treatment for acne, with a low incidence of reported adverse effects, most of which are local skin reactions. The retinoid has limited absorption through the skin, so that even with repeated applications plasma concentrations do not exceed normal endogenous levels. In mice, lifetime treatment with topical tretinoin improved skin texture and did not have any tumorigenic effects. Data from multicentre clinical trials have shown that 0.05% tretinoin emollient cream reduced fine wrinkling, surface roughness and mottled hyperpigmentation caused by photodamage. Improvement of these clinical signs was maintained after 12 months of daily tretinoin therapy, and regressed slowly after cessation of therapy. However, maintenance of the visible effects of topical tretinoin was reported after continued therapy with once or three times weekly applications of tretinoin emollient cream. Data from multicentre studies suggested that 0.1% tretinoin cream has a potential role in the treatment of solar keratoses. It is concluded that the application of tretinoin to photodamaged skin used in conjunction with sunscreens and judicious sun exposure is an effective regimen to treat the damaging cutaneous effects of chronic sun exposure.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Keratosis / drug therapy
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced
  • Skin Absorption
  • Skin Aging / drug effects
  • Sunlight / adverse effects*
  • Time Factors
  • Tretinoin / administration & dosage*
  • Tretinoin / adverse effects
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects


  • Tretinoin