Developments in Topical Retinoid Therapy for Acne
Topical retinoic acid was introduced for acne treatment three decades ago. Since that time, researchers have discovered thousands of retinoids, originally defined as chemical analogs of vitamin A. After the identification of nuclear retinaid receptors in 1987, the definition of this class expanded to include molecules that bind to and activate such receptors. The receptor-selective retinoid agents, adapalene and tazarotene, were developed in the 1990s. Other Innovations of the past decade include retinoid formulations and methods aimed at limiting retinaid absorption. Cutaneous irritation may be reduced without losing retinoid efficacy by inhibiting retinoid penetration into the deep epidermis and dermis. Examples include tretinoin in slow-release vehicles and the short-contact method of tazarotene gel therapy. Only trace amounts of adapalene are absorbed after topical application, perhaps explaining its relatively low irritancy. New formulations of existing agents, such as additional concentrations of tretinoln in mlcrosphere gel and cream formulations of tazarotene, are now under investigation for acne. Current research focused on receptor selectivity holds the promise of yielding new retinaid molecules with improved benefits and safety.