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To the Editor.—
I have recently had occasion to review an article entitled "Acne Vulgaris" authored by Mills et al, that appeared in the August issue of the Archives (106:200-203, 1972).This article apparently relates to the use of retinoic acid or vitamin A acid. I was greatly distressed to see that no clear differential was made between retinoic acid and vitamin A. For the record, vitamin A is a high molecular weight monohydric alcohol and a poor second cousin of retinoic acid. Chemically, vitamin A alcohol is oxidized first to the aldehyde form then to the acid form to produce retinoic acid. While vitamin A, the parent compound, has been used for many years in dermatology, the use of retinoic acid is very new. As a pharmacist, I would be much concerned that physicians might prescribe the older alcohol form, vitamin A, when what they would like to use
Ward JB. Comment on Mills et al's "Acne Vulgaris". Arch Dermatol. 1973;107(3):468. doi:10.1001/archderm.1973.01620180106044