Retinoids and wound healing

Dermatol Surg. 2006 Oct;32(10):1219-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.2006.32280.x.


Background: Retinoids are widely used in dermatology and may play a role in wound healing. The exact role of retinoids in wounds is confusing and controversial, however. Systemic retinoids are presumed to be detrimental to wound healing; however, this standard is based on isolated reports.

Objective: The objective was to provide a critical review of the available literature regarding the role of both topical and systemic retinoids in various aspects of wound healing.

Conclusions: Pretreatment with retinoids likely promotes wound healing after facial resurfacing procedures and full- or partial-thickness wounds. While the evidence is mixed regarding the effects of retinoids applied to fresh and healing wounds, the majority of the evidence available shows favorable wound-healing properties in this setting. The medical-legal standard regarding the avoidance of facial resurfacing and surgical procedures in patients on or recently completing a course of systemic retinoids was likely prematurely established.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Retinoids / pharmacology*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wound Healing / drug effects*
  • Wounds and Injuries / drug therapy*
  • Wounds and Injuries / pathology


  • Retinoids