Profilometric evaluation of photodamage after topical retinaldehyde and retinoic acid treatment

J Am Acad Dermatol. 1998 Dec;39(6):960-5. doi: 10.1016/s0190-9622(98)70270-1.


Objective: We compared the activity and tolerance profile of a 0.05% retinaldehyde cream with a 0.05% retinoic acid cream and the retinaldehyde vehicle in patients with photodamaged skin of the face.

Methods: A silicone replica of the left crow's feet area was taken at baseline and at weeks 18 and 44. Skin replicas were then analyzed by means of an optical profilometry technique. Standard wrinkle and roughness features were then calculated and statistically analyzed. The tolerance profile of the test products was also clinically evaluated during the entire study.

Results: A total of 125 patients (40 in the retinoic acid group, 40 in the retinaldehyde group, and 45 in the vehicle group) were studied. At week 18, a significant reduction of the wrinkle and roughness features was observed with both retinaldehyde and retinoic acid. At week 44, a less pronounced reduction was demonstrated in both active groups. No statistically significant changes were observed with the retinaldehyde vehicle at any assessment point. A total of 135 patients constituted the safety population. Retinaldehyde was well tolerated during the entire study. In contrast, retinoic acid caused more local irritation, and affected compliance of the patients.

Conclusion: Retinaldehyde was efficacious and well tolerated in patients with photodamage.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Keratolytic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ointments
  • Pharmaceutical Vehicles / therapeutic use*
  • Reference Values
  • Retinaldehyde / therapeutic use*
  • Skin Aging / drug effects*
  • Tretinoin / therapeutic use*


  • Keratolytic Agents
  • Ointments
  • Pharmaceutical Vehicles
  • Tretinoin
  • Retinaldehyde