5 December 2019

The A Team: Why Retinoic Acid Continues to Wage War Against Acne

The A Team: Why Retinoic Acid Continues to Wage War Against Acne

We’ve all heard of the retinoids, the family of drugs hailed to cure-skin problems. And, whilst they may not be the magical ingredient for all skin problems, they carry the power to deliver proven results for certain skin conditions.

So, first things first, what exactly is retinoic acid and why might a dermatologist prescribe topical use of it to treat acne or similar skin conditions – like psoriasis?

Retinoic acid is a metabolite of vitamin A, which plays a roll in cell growth and differentiation. Retinoids for acne treatment was approved in 1971, today skin specialists still agree it has a firm place in treating acne. Recent evidence-based guidelines for acne, including those from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) and the European Dermatology Forum (EDF), back this evidence. With the academy stating “retinoids are the core of topical therapy for acne because they are comedolytic, resolve the precursor microcomedone lesion, and are anti-inflammatory, and allow for maintenance of clearance.”

So, which retinoids have demonstrated real results? Well according to research results reported by James Leydon, in his recent analyse, ‘Why Topical Retinoids Are Mainstay of Therapy for Acne’, "Retinoids such as: adapalene 0.1% and 0.3%; tazarotene 0.1%; tretinoin 0.01%, 0.025%, 0.038%, 0.04%, 0.05%, 0.08%, and 0.1% in the USA; isotretinoin 0.05% and 0.1%, have a central role in acne therapy because they have been shown both to reduce visible lesions and also inhibit the development of microcomedones and new lesions."

So, how do retinoids combat acne. Well topical retinoids are used to treat several types of acne, and may help improve the symptoms of acne by:

• Upping the ante on cell growth to allow lesions and scars to heal

• They work to decrease inflammation

• Some can decrease oil production

• Can unclog pores and prevent dead cells from additional clogging

• Improve the performance of additional medical creams/gels

• They can help reduce the development of acne scars

• They can also have a skin smoothing and even skin tone effect

• They may also protect against environment effects.

Living with acne can be both traumatic, frustrating – and sometimes depressing – for many people, but with expert care, advice and the right treatment plan, overcoming the acne hurdle is doable. Every person’s skin is different – even though we may bear similar problems – so it is essential to seek individual solutions. Speak to our expert team of dermatologists, Nicola Abbott and Amy Stanway.