Recent Blog Articles
Why all the buzz about inflammation — and just how bad is...
What’s the right way to brush your teeth?
Want to stay healthy over the holidays?
How to help your preschooler sleep alone
21 spices for healthy holiday foods
New guidelines on opioids for pain relief: What you need to know
Should you get an over-the-counter hearing aid?
Shortage of ADHD medicines: Advice on coping if you are affected
When replenishing fluids, does milk beat water?
Melasma: What are the best treatments?
In Brief: Retinol helps reverse normal skin aging
Retinol helps reverse normal skin aging
Throughout life, our skin helps shield us from the sun's ultraviolet rays, often at the price of premature aging (called photoaging), with its attendant lines, wrinkles, and brown spots. Many procedures and skin products are designed to address these effects, including retinoids — topical vitamin A–based drugs. Now research has found that retinol, one of the retinoid compounds, can also help counter the signs of skin aging that's unrelated to the sun, including fine wrinkles, roughness, and skin looseness. The findings, published in the May 2007 Archives of Dermatology, suggest that in addition to improving the appearance of older skin, retinol may also increase its durability and capacity to heal. The implications of these findings are particularly important given the rapidly rising number of older Americans.
Researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School tested retinol in a six-month randomized controlled trial involving 36 men and women, ages 80 to 96. For 24 weeks, three times a week, study personnel applied a lotion containing 0.4% retinol (a minimal dose) to the inner portion of each participant's left or right upper arm (lotion without retinol was used on the other arm). After two, four, eight, 16, and 24 weeks, dermatologists who didn't know which arms had been treated with retinol compared the two arms for roughness, fine wrinkles, and overall severity of aging.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Free Healthbeat Signup
Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!