Tretinoin emollient cream: a new therapy for photodamaged skin

J Am Acad Dermatol. 1992 Feb;26(2 Pt 1):215-24. doi: 10.1016/0190-9622(92)70030-j.


Background: Tretinoin administered topically in 0.1% concentration has been shown to improve the wrinkling and irregular pigmentation of photoaged skin.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess the safety and efficacy of various concentrations of tretinoin in a new emollient cream base in the treatment of photoaged skin.

Methods: Three concentrations of tretinoin (0.05%, 0.01%, and 0.001%) in a new emollient cream formulation were compared with vehicle in a 24-week, double-blind, randomized, multicenter study of 296 subjects with photodamaged facial skin.

Results: Tretinoin emollient cream 0.05% gave a significantly better global response to therapy than vehicle (p less than 0.001), with 68% of subjects exhibiting improvement at the end of therapy, compared with 43% of subjects in the vehicle group. An excellent or good response was found in 26% of subjects treated with tretinoin emollient cream 0.05% versus 11% of vehicle-treated subjects. Fine wrinkling, mottled hyperpigmentation, and roughness were more improved in subjects who received tretinoin emollient cream 0.05% than in vehicle-treated subjects (p less than 0.05). No significant difference was found between vehicle and tretinoin emollient cream 0.01% or 0.001%. Histologic examination showed increases in epidermal and granular layer thickness, decreased melanin content and compaction of the stratum corneum after therapy with tretinoin emollient cream 0.05% or 0.01%. Mild to moderate skin reactions, such as erythema, peeling, and burning, were the most common side effects and, although most prevalent in the group using the 0.05% concentration, generally did not limit tretinoin use.

Conclusion: Tretinoin emollient cream 0.05% appears to be safe and effective in the treatment of photodamaged skin.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Emollients / administration & dosage
  • Emollients / adverse effects
  • Emollients / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Self-Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Skin Aging / drug effects*
  • Tretinoin / administration & dosage
  • Tretinoin / adverse effects
  • Tretinoin / therapeutic use*


  • Emollients
  • Tretinoin