What are the pros and cons of using retinoic acid as treatment for keloids and hypertrophic scars?

Updated: Jun 12, 2018
  • Author: Brian Berman, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Answer

In vitro studies have demonstrated that retinoids can modulate collagen production and the proliferation of normal and keloidal fibroblasts. In vivo applications of 0.05% topical retinoic acid can lead to a reduction of hypertrophic scars in 50-100% of patients and of keloids in less than 20% of patients. The most common adverse effects reported have been photosensitivity, irritant contact dermatitis, and skin atrophy.

Retinoids can be used also as a preventive treatment. Kwon et al compared silicone gel and tretinoin cream use after studying 44 scars post surgery. They found that after 24 weeks of treatment, both therapeutic modalities were equally effective in preventing hypertrophic scars and keloids compared with the control group. [46]


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