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.