[Skip to Navigation]
May 1991

Effects of Tretinoin on Photodamaged Skin: A Histologic Study

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology, Boston (Mass) University School of Medicine (Drs Bhawan, Gilchrest, and Gonzalez-Serva, and Ms Nehal and Mr Labadie); and the R. W. Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Raritan, NJ (Ms Lufrano and Dr Thorne). Dr Gonzalez-Serva is now with Pathology Services, Cambridge, Mass.

Arch Dermatol. 1991;127(5):666-672. doi:10.1001/archderm.1991.01680040074006

• The histologic effects of topical tretinoin therapy on photodamaged facial skin were investigated in two 24-week, double-blind, randomized, vehicle-controlled studies involving 533 subjects at eight US centers. Three concentrations of tretinoin (0.05%, 0.01%, and 0.001%) in a new emollient cream were studied. Pretherapy and posttherapy biopsy specimens from the periorbital (crow's foot) area were examined by conventional light microscopy and computerized image analysis. Four significant dose-dependent differences from vehicle were found in the tretinoin groups: increased epidermal thickness, increased granular layer thickness, decreased melanin content, and stratum corneum compaction. There was no significant difference between 0.001% tretinoin and the vehicle, and no obvious dermal changes were detected in any group. The four epidermal changes in tretinointreated skin establish the biologic activity of the new emollient cream formulation and may partially account for the clinical improvements in photodamage observed in the same group of subjects.

(Arch Dermatol. 1991;127:666-672)

Add or change institution