Review of Retinoid Therapy for Acne

Title: Retinoid therapy for acne. A comparative review.
Chivot M.
Publication: Am J Clin Dermatol. 2005;6(1):13-9.

Retinoids are a class of chemicals that are commonly used in treating acne because they act on the microcomedo or primary acne lesion. Retinoids are made from vitamin A (retinol) and can be used either in topical or oral forms.

In this review, the authors compared the following types of retinoids:

  • Tretinoin (all-trans-retinoic acid)
  • Isotretinoin (13-cis-retinoic acid)
  • Adapalene (derived from naphthoic acid)
  • Tazarotene (acetylenic retinoid)

for their effectiveness and side effects. These retinoids mainly act as comedolytics (they destroy comedos or acne lesions), but may also have anti-inflammatory actions.

One of the main side effects of retinoids is teratogenicity, or the ability to cause malformed fetus. Because of this, women of childbearing age should be aware of the risk.

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