Topical vitamin A: types and applications in aesthetic medicine
Vitamin A is a class of substances frequently referred to as retinoids. Retinoids describe all forms of Vitamin A and both naturally and synthetically produced derivatives. Topical retinoids have been in regular use in dermatology for half a century, and have been used to treat a variety of cutaneous disorders, such as photoageing, hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles. This article explores the different forms of topical retinoids and their functions relating to treatment and prevention of photoaging and the treatment of acne vulgaris.
Retinoids have been used both as pharmaceuticals and cosmetics for many years. There is a significant amount of data for all forms of Vitamin A, and, as a topical preparation, retinoids are widely used for dermatological disorders, such as plaque psoriasis, acne and oily skins and photoageing. This article will review the various forms of Vitamin A, how they work and the differences in actions, as well as their relevant uses and clinical evidence.
The use of retinoids for topical treatment of acne and photoageing has increased in recent years, both in pharmaceutical and cosmetic arenas; however, as with other key topical ingredients for photoageing, Vitamin A has actually been in use for centuries—it has been reported that liver was used to treat night blindness in ancient Egypt (Mukherjee et al, 2006). More recent medical literature reports the use of retinoids for both topical and systemic treatment of cutaneous disorders.
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