A clinicopathological study of the effects of topical retinyl propionate cream in skin photoageing

Clin Exp Dermatol. 1998 Jul;23(4):162-7. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2230.1998.00331.x.


The clinical and histological effects of retinyl propionate cream (a retinyl ester) on extrinsic skin ageing (photo-ageing) in man were assessed in a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled study of 80 subjects, individual parameters of this being assessed for each treatment site (face, dorsal right forearm and hand, dorsal left forearm and hand) at intervals throughout the study, while skin surface replicas from sites of fine wrinkling around the eye and skin biopsies from the dorsal right forearm were also regularly reviewed throughout. Seventy-five subjects completed an initial 24-week study period, following which 60 elected to continue for a further 24 weeks. Although minimal trends towards improvement occurred, no statistically significant differences between the effects of the retinyl propionate cream and the placebo preparation were apparent for any of the clinical, histological or profilometric parameters of skin photoageing; however, in the very few subjects affected, actinic keratoses in the active group were reduced virtually to zero by week 48.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diterpenes
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Keratosis / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retinyl Esters
  • Skin Aging / drug effects*
  • Skin Aging / pathology
  • Vitamin A / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin A / pharmacology


  • Diterpenes
  • Retinyl Esters
  • Vitamin A
  • retinyl propionate