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Retinoic acid analogue
Retinoic acid analogue

Retinoic Acid, often referred to as tretinoin in its pharmaceutical form, is the active form of Vitamin A. It is widely recognized for its powerful effects in dermatology and skincare, particularly in treating acne and signs of skin aging.

Retinoic acid works at the cellular level to modify gene expression and affect cell growth. In the treatment of acne, it promotes the turnover of skin cells, reducing the likelihood of pore clogging and helping to clear existing breakouts. Additionally, it decreases the cohesiveness of follicular epithelial cells, further preventing the formation of comedones.

In anti-aging skincare, retinoic acid's ability to stimulate collagen production is a key benefit. This leads to a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles and an improvement in overall skin texture and tone. It also aids in skin discoloration and hyperpigmentation by accelerating cell turnover, bringing new skin cells to the surface faster and shedding pigmented and damaged cells.

Despite its benefits, retinoic acid can be quite irritating to the skin, causing side effects like redness, dryness, and peeling, especially during the initial period of use. Its potency means it is generally available by prescription and requires careful monitoring by a healthcare professional.

Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate (HPR), is a newer, esterified form of retinoic acid. Unlike cosmetic retinol, HPR binds directly to the retinoid receptors of the skin cells without the need for conversion. This direct binding allows it to deliver similar benefits to retinoic acid, such as stimulating collagen production, improving skin elasticity, and reducing signs of aging, but with a lower risk of irritation.

HPR is considered more gentle and less irritating compared to traditional retinoic acid, while offering comparable benefits. With HPR everyone has access to the benefits of prescription retinoids, without the risk of side effects.

Physiological effects of Retinoic acid and HPR and their Role in Managing Dermatological Conditions
  1. Cell Turnover and Renewal: Promotes rapid cell turnover, aiding in the exfoliation of dead skin cells and the generation of new cells.
  2. Skin Texture: By promoting cell renewal it improves skin texture, addressing issues like roughness and dullness.
  3. Collagen Production: It stimulates collagen production, essential for reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and improving skin elasticity.
  4. Acne Treatment: Effective in treating acne by unclogging pores and reducing the size of sebaceous glands, it diminishes both inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne lesions.
  5. Pigmentation: It can reduce hyperpigmentation by accelerating the turnover of hyperpigmented skin cells and inhibiting melanin production.
  6. Photoaging: Effective in treating signs of photoaging, reversing some of the damage caused by UV radiation.
HPR specific benefits
  1. Retinoid Receptor Activity: HPR, an ester of retinoic acid, binds directly to retinoid receptors in the skin, enabling it to work without needing to be converted into retinoic acid.
  2. Lower Irritation: Typically, it causes less irritation than retinoic acid, making it more suitable for sensitive skin types.
  3. Collagen Stimulation and Anti-Aging: Like retinoic acid, HPR helps in stimulating collagen production and has anti-aging properties.
  4. Acne and Hyperpigmentation: It is effective in treating acne and reducing hyperpigmentation, often with fewer side effects compared to retinoic acid.
  5. Stability and Penetration: Being more stable and lipid-soluble, HPR penetrates the skin more effectively and is less prone to degradation.
References
  • Zaenglein, A. L., Pathy, A. L., Schlosser, B. J., Alikhan, A., Baldwin, H. E., Berson, D. S., ... & Thiboutot, D. M. (2016). Guidelines of care for the management of acne vulgaris. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 74(5), 945-973.e33.
  • Fisher, G. J., Wang, Z. Q., Datta, S. C., Varani, J., Kang, S., & Voorhees, J. J. (1996). Pathophysiology of premature skin aging induced by ultraviolet light. New England Journal of Medicine, 337(20), 1419-1428.
  • Truchuelo, M. T., Jiménez, N., Jaén, P. (2018). Assessment of the efficacy of a new complex-based retinoic acid and retinol in a 3-month study using objective methods and skin biomarker analysis. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 17(3), 347-354.
  • Mukherjee, S., et al. (2006). Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: an overview of clinical efficacy and safety. Clinical Interventions in Aging.
  • Randhawa, M., et al. (2015). Hydroxypinacolone retinoate: a new retinoid and its use in dermatology. Skin Therapy Letter.