American Journal of Clinical Dermatology

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 265–276 | Cite as

Topical Retinoids: Therapeutic Mechanisms in the Treatment of Photodamaged Skin

  • Ryan R. RiahiEmail author
  • Amelia E. Bush
  • Philip R. Cohen
Review Article


Retinoids are a group of substances comprising vitamin A and its natural and synthetic derivatives. Retinoids were first used in dermatology in 1943 by Straumfjord for acne vulgaris. Since that time, retinoids have been utilized in the management and treatment of various skin conditions, including photoaging. Photodamage of the skin occurs as a consequence of cumulative exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) and is characterized by deep wrinkles, easy bruising, inelasticity, mottled pigmentation, roughness, and telangiectasias. The mechanism of UVR-induced photodamage is multifactorial. Retinoids have demonstrated efficacy in the treatment of photoaged skin. Indeed, understanding the pathophysiology of photoaging and the molecular mechanism of retinoids can not only provide insight into the effects retinoids can exert in treating photoaging but also provide the rationale for their use in the treatment of other dermatologic diseases.


Retinoid Retinol Isotretinoin Tretinoin Alopecia Areata 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Compliance with Ethical Standards


No funding was received for the preparation of this review.

Conflict of interest

Ryan R. Riahi, Amelia E. Bush, and Philip R. Cohen have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ryan R. Riahi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Amelia E. Bush
    • 2
  • Philip R. Cohen
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of DermatologyLouisiana State UniversityNew OrleansUSA
  2. 2.University of Texas Medical School at HoustonHoustonUSA
  3. 3.Department of DermatologyUniversity of California San DiegoSan DiegoUSA

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