Comparable efficacy of adapalene 0.3% gel and tretinoin 0.05% cream as treatment for cutaneous photoaging

Eur J Dermatol. 2018 Jun 1;28(3):343-350. doi: 10.1684/ejd.2018.3320.


Background: Adapalene has been previously evaluated as a treatment for actinic keratosis (AK) and solar lentigines and shown to improve signs of photoaging.

Objectives: To evaluate whether adapalene 0.3% gel is non-inferior to tretinoin 0.05% cream as treatment for photoaged skin.

Materials & methods: An investigator-blinded, parallel-group comparison study was conducted in Brazil. Subjects were randomised in a 1:1 ratio to receive, once daily, adapalene 0.3% gel or tretinoin 0.05% cream. Subjects were evaluated at Weeks 1, 4, 8, 12, 16, 20 and 24, based on clinical signs of cutaneous photoaging, histopathological and digital morphometric findings, as well as safety and tolerability.

Results: A comparison of clinical efficacy showed that both treatments did not differ significantly regarding clinical evaluation of the following criteria: global cutaneous photoaging, periorbital wrinkles, ephelides/melanosis, forehead wrinkles, and AK.

Conclusion: Adapalene 0.3% gel showed non-inferior efficacy to tretinoin 0.05% cream as treatment for photoaged skin, with a similar safety profile. Adapalene 0.3% gel may therefore be considered a safe and effective option for the treatment of mild or moderate photoaging.

Keywords: adapalene; melanosis; photoaging; retinoid; tretinoin; wrinkles.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adapalene / administration & dosage*
  • Adapalene / adverse effects
  • Adult
  • Dermatologic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Dermatologic Agents / adverse effects
  • Equivalence Trials as Topic
  • Female
  • Gels
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Skin Aging / drug effects*
  • Skin Aging / pathology
  • Skin Cream
  • Sunlight / adverse effects
  • Tretinoin / administration & dosage*
  • Tretinoin / adverse effects
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects


  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Gels
  • Adapalene
  • Tretinoin