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Skin Ageing and the Use of Retinoids

Retinoid effects have been explored as a potential treatment to combat the appearance of skin ageing.

Ageing of the skin is an intricate biological process of which there are two types: chronological ageing, whereby the skin inevitably ages in natural simultaneity with the body, and photoaging, which involves premature ageing due to cumulative exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation (UV). There are many genetic and environmental factors that influence skin ageing, but solar UV is unquestionably the most significant contributor.

Various natural and synthetic retinoids have been explored to treat skin ageing and many of them have resulted in clinical improvement. This includes tretinoin, which is possibly the most potent and certainly the most widely investigated retinoid for photoaging therapy. However, chronological ageing and photoaging manifest in very different ways and most studies have only been carried out in patients with photoaged skin, thereby neglecting the other cohort.

Despite retinoids posing a promising treatment potential, patients are often reluctant to accept the treatment because of the known adverse side effects which include burning, scaling and dermatitis. This problem is most prominent with tretinoin and tazarotene but less common with retinoids such as retinaldehyde and retinol. The side effects can be relieved by lowering the potency of the retinoids but, if patients cannot tolerate even the lowest concentration, treatment is discontinued entirely.

The potential for irritation has prompted dermatologists to switch over to less irritating but comparably effective retinoids like adapalene to combat skin ageing. Receptor specific retinoids like seletinoid G have been developed with the same vision and have been found to be successful in small-scale studies. In conjunction, novel drug delivery systems have been employed to minimise the side effects of retinoids; nano-particles, especially, have shown a good potential for improving the stability, tolerability and efficacy of retinoids like tretinoin and retinol. However, more elaborate clinical studies are required to confirm their advantage in retinoid delivery.

Source: US National Library of Medicine
Date, A., Korting, H. C., Mukherjee, S., Patravale, V., Roeder, A. & Weindl, G. (2006) Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: an overview of clinical efficacy and safety. US National Library of Medicine, Vol. 1, Issue 4. P 327-348.

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