Sunday, January 15, 2006

tretinoin (Retin-A®)

Tretinoin is a dermatologic cream marketed as Retin-A, which has been traditionally used as a treatment for acne. Recent studies have shown tretinoin effective in the reduction of wrinkles, roughness, and mottled pigmentation (age spots). Caucasians can be helped within a four month period by daily topical application of the cream. Whether this benefit can be maintained after discontinuation of the tretinoin therapy or during continued therapy is not yet determined. The most impressive improvement occurs in fine wrinkling, while little or no improvement is observed in more advanced changes.
Tretinoin has some negative side effects. Initially almost all people treated with tretinoin will experience a dermatitis, which will last two weeks to three months. As the dermatitis begins to subside, improvement in the fine wrinkling and hyperpigmentation becomes evident. This dermatitis includes xerosis, peeling, and subjective irritation. Pinkness of the skin tends to have an onset of one week to two months of therapy. Generally, people view the pinkness as a desired effect of the therapy.
Gilchrest, B. A. "At Last! A Medical Treatment for Skin Aging." JAMA 259: 569-570 (1988).
Weiss, J. S., et al. "Topical Tretinoin Improves Photoaged Skin." JAMA 259: 527-532 (1988).

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