Antille C, Tran C, Sorg O Vitamin A exerts a photoprotective action in skin by absorbing ultraviolet B radiation. J Invest Dermatol. 2003; 121:(5)1163-1167

Armstrong RB, Lesiewicz J, Harvey G Clinical panel assessment of photodamaged skin treated with isotretinoin using photographs. Arch Dermatol. 1992; 128:(3)352-356

Baumann L. Cosmetic dermatology and medicine: principles and practice, 2nd edn. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2009

Bermannn PE. Aging skin: causes, treatments, and prevention. Nurs Clin North Am. 2007; 42:(3)485-500

Biro DE, Shalita AR. Clinical aspects of topical retinoids. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 1993; 6:(1)53-60

Burke BM, Cunliffe WJ. The assessment of acne vulgaris—the Leeds technique. Br J Dermatol. 1984a; 111:(1)83-92

Chandraratna RA. Tazarotene—first of a new generation of receptor-selective retinoids. Br J Dermatol. 1996; 135:18-25

Cosmetic dermatology: products and procedures, 2nd edn. In: Draelos ZK (editor). Chichester: John Wiley & Sons; 2016

Edward M, Gold JA, MacKie RM. Different susceptibilities of melanoma cells to retinoic acid-induced changes in melanotic expression. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1988; 155:(2)773-778

Fisher GJ, Datta SC, Talwar HS Molecular basis of sun-induced premature skin ageing and retinoid antagonism. Nature. 1996; 379:(6563)335-339

Fisher GJ, Wang ZQ, Datta SC Pathophysiology of premature skin aging induced by ultraviolet light. N Engl J Med. 1997; 337:(20)1419-1428

Fluhr JW, Vienne MP, Lauze C Tolerance profile of retinol, retinaldehyde and retinoic acid under maximized and long-term clinical conditions. Dermatology (Basel). 1999; 199:57-60

Giguere V, Ong ES, Segui P, Evans RM. Identification of a receptor for the morphogen retinoic acid. Nature. 1987; 330:(6149)624-629

Griffiths CE, Finkel LJ, Tranfaglia MG An in vivo experimental model for effects of topical retinoic acid in human skin. Br J Dermatol. 1993; 129:(4)389-394

Griffiths CE, Kang S, Ellis CN Two concentrations of topical tretinoin (retinoic acid) cause similar improvement of photoaging but different degrees of irritation. A double-blind, vehicle-controlled comparison of 0.1% and 0.025% tretinoin creams. Arch Dermatol. 1995; 131:(9)1037-1044

Griffiths CEM, Maddin S, Wiedow O Treatment of photoaged skin with a cream containing 0.05% isotretinoin and sunscreens. J Dermatolog Treat. 2005; 16:(2)79-86

Hoal E, Wilson EL, Dowdle EB. Variable effects of retinoids on two pigmenting human melanoma cell lines. Cancer Res. 1982; 42:(12)5191-5195

Jick SS, Terris BZ, Jick H. First trimester topical tretinoin and congenital disorders. Lancet. 1993; 341:(8854)1181-1182

Kakita L. Tazarotene versus tretinoin or adapalene in the treatment of acne vulgaris. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2000; 43:(2 Pt 3)S51-54

Kang S, Duell EA, Fisher GJ Application of retinol to human skin in vivo induces epidermal hyperplasia and cellular retinoid binding proteins characteristic of retinoic acid but without measurable retinoic acid levels or irritation. J Invest Dermatol. 1995; 105:(4)549-556

Kang S, Fisher GJ, Voorhees JJ. Photoaging and topical tretinoin: therapy, pathogenesis, and prevention. Arch Dermatol. 1997; 133:(10)1280-1284

Kaya G, Saurat J-H. Dermatoporosis: a chronic cutaneous insufficiency/fragility syndrome. Clinicopathological features, mechanisms, prevention and potential treatments. Dermatol (Basel). 2007; 215:(4)284-294

Kim B-H, Lee Y-S, Kang K-S. The mechanism of retinol-induced irritation and its application to anti-irritant development. Toxicol Lett. 2003; 146:(1)65-73

Kligman AM. The growing importance of topical retinoids in clinical dermatology: a retrospective and prospective analysis. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1998; 39:(2 Pt 3)S2-7

Kligman AM, Grove GL, Hirose R, Leyden JJ. Topical tretinoin for photoaged skin. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1986; 15:(4 Pt 2)836-859

Kligman LH, Duo CH, Kligman AM. Topical retinoic acid enhances the repair of ultraviolet damaged dermal connective tissue. Connect Tissue Res. 1984; 12:(2)139-150

Kurlandsky SB, Xiao JH, Duell EA Biological activity of all-trans retinol requires metabolic conversion to all-trans retinoic acid and is mediated through activation of nuclear retinoid receptors in human keratinocytes. J Biol Chem. 1994; 269:(52)32821-32827

Levin J, Momin SB. How much do we really know about our favorite cosmeceutical ingredients?. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2010; 3:(2)22-41

Ligade VS, Sreedhar D, Manthan J, Udupa N. Cosmeceuticals: are they truly worth the cost?. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2009; 75:(1)8-9

Lockman PR, Mumper RJ, Khan MA, Allen DD. Nanoparticle technology for drug delivery across the blood-brain barrier. Drug Dev Ind Pharm. 2002; 28:(1)1-13

Lowe N, Gifford M, Tanghetti E Tazarotene 0.1% cream versus tretinoin 0.05% emollient cream in the treatment of photodamaged facial skin: a multicenter, double-blind, randomized, parallel-group study. J Cosmet Laser Ther. 2004; 6:(2)79-85

Maddin S, Lauharanta J, Agache P Isotretinoin improves the appearance of photodamaged skin: results of a 36-week, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2000; 42:(1)56-63

McDaniel DH, Mazur C, Wortzman MS, Nelson DB. Efficacy and tolerability of a double-conjugated retinoid cream vs 1.0% retinol cream or 0.025% tretinoin cream in subjects with mild to severe photoaging. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2017; 16:(4)542-548

Millikan LE. Adapalene: an update on newer comparative studies between the various retinoids. Int J Dermatol. 2000; 39:(10)784-788

Mukherjee S, Date A, Patravale V Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: an overview of clinical efficacy and safety. Clin Interv Aging. 2006; 1:(4)327-348

Nagpal S, Athanikar J, Chandraratna RA. Separation of transactivation and AP1 antagonism functions of retinoic acid receptor alpha. J Biol Chem. 1995; 270:(2)923-927

Oda RM, Shimizu RW, Sabatine SC 1996. Effects of structural changes on retinoid cytotoxity in the CHO clonal assay. In vitro Toxicol. 9:173-81

Orfanos CE, Zouboulis CC, Almond-Roesler B, Geilen CC. Current use and future potential role of retinoids in dermatology. Drugs. 1997; 53:(3)358-388

Pechère M, Germanier L, Siegenthaler G The antibacterial activity of topical retinoids: the case of retinaldehyde. Dermatology (Basel). 2002; 205:(2)153-158

Pechère M, Pechère JC, Siegenthaler G Antibacterial activity of retinaldehyde against Propionibacterium acnes. Dermatology (Basel). 1999; 199:29-31

Petkovich M, Brand NJ, Krust A, Chambon P. A human retinoic acid receptor which belongs to the family of nuclear receptors. Nature. 1987; 330:(6147)444-450

Sendagorta E, Lesiewicz J, Armstrong RB. Topical isotretinoin for photodamaged skin. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1992; 27:(6 Pt 2)S15-18

Singh DK, Lippman SM. Cancer chemoprevention. Part 1: Retinoids and carotenoids and other classic antioxidants. Oncology (Williston Park, NY). 1998; 12:(11)1643-1653

Sorg O, Antille C, Kaya G, Saurat J-H. Retinoids in cosmeceuticals. Dermatol Ther. 2006; 19:(5)289-296

Sorg O, Kuenzli S, Kaya G, Saurat J-H. Proposed mechanisms of action for retinoid derivatives in the treatment of skin aging. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2005; 4:(4)237-244

Sorg O, Tran C, Saurat JH. Cutaneous vitamins A and E in the context of ultraviolet-or chemically-induced oxidative stress. Skin Pharmacol Appl Skin Physiol. 2001; 14:(6)363-372

Stüttgen G. Historical perspectives of tretinoin. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1986; 15:(4 Pt 2)735-740

Tesoriere L, D'Arpa D, Re R, Livrea MA. Antioxidant reactions of all-trans retinol in phospholipid bilayers: effect of oxygen partial pressure, radical fluxes, and retinol concentration. Arch Biochem Biophys. 1997; 343:(1)13-18

Tsuchiya M, Scita G, Freisleben HJ Antioxidant radicalscavenging activity of carotenoids and retinoids compared to alpha-tocopherol. Meth Enzymol. 1992; 213:460-472

University of Rochester Medical Center. Health Encyclopedia. Vitamin A. 2019. (accessed 21 March 2019)

Verschoore M, Bouclier M, Czernielewski J, Hensby C. Topical retinoids. Their uses in dermatology. Dermatol Clin. 1993; 11:(1)107-115

Verschoore M, Poncet M, Czernielewski J Adapalene 0.1% gel has low skin-irritation potential. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1997; 36:(6 Pt 2)S104-109

Wissing SA, Müller RH. Solid lipid nanoparticles as carrier for sunscreens: in vitro release and in vivo skin penetration. J Control Release. 2002; 81:(3)225-233

Yamaguchi Y, Nagasawa T, Nakamura N Successful treatment of photo-damaged skin of nano-scale atRA particles using a novel transdermal delivery. J Control Release. 2005; 104:(1)29-40

Topical vitamin A: types and applications in aesthetic medicine

02 April 2019
Volume 8 · Issue 3


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.

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting Journal of Aesthetic Nurses and reading some of our peer-reviewed resources for aesthetic nurses. To read more, please register today. You’ll enjoy the following great benefits:

What's included

  • Limited access to clinical or professional articles

  • New content and clinical newsletter updates each month