Retinoid Creams Not Linked to Early Death

creamAn article published in the latest issue of the Archives of Dermatology indicates that retinoid cream made with tretinoin, a topical ointment often prescribed to patients with acne and other skin problems, may have been linked to certain types of cancer, and even premature death.

Researchers wanted to test the efficacy of retinoid compounds on participants who had died, or were suffering from cancer.  The original studies indicate that tretinoin compounds in the creams were linked to some cases of malignant cancer, and those who are suffering from skin conditions because of a weakened immune system may have been putting themselves even more at risk for premature death by using these highly potent creams on a regular basis.

A total of 1,131 patients were selected for the study, and assigned either a cream containing 0.1 percent tretinoin or an unmedicated cream as a placebo.  They were required to apply the cream to their face and ears every day during the study period, and were then evaluated and examined by a dermatologist. In the treatment group, 15 patients died of non-small cell lung cancer, 12 died from vascular disorders and 15 died from respiratory and chest disorders.

However, researchers conclude that some of these deaths may have been the result of smoking that produces additional health risks; when the study was conducted in late 2004, the researchers did not take age, smoking and other illnesses into consideration  (Source:

Still, some reserachers contend that even though there is not a direct correlation between tretinoin and increased deaths, the study suggests tretinoin may play a role the development of cancer.

Medical News Today recently reported on this issue, pointing out that the Veterans Affairs Topical Tretinoni Chemoprevention (VATTC) Trial that  assessed the outcomes of the high-dose retinoid treatment study found there was not enough supportive evidence of the data and further investigation was needed in order to determine if topical tretinoin is in fact, linked to premature deaths.

Further Reading

  • Teenagers and many adults can suffer from acne and its side effects for several years, and severe cases of acne can cause excessive scarring and trauma to the skin. While some acne treatments at medical spas and cosmetic dermatology centers can help to keep acne under control, most acne sufferers need to maintain a healthy skin care routine to keep breakouts at bay. A recent study published in the July 2010 issue of the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology shows that a once-daily treatment of the Retin-A Micro® Pump in the morning, along with a benzoyl peroxide treatment, can help to keep acne under control.

  • Many people suffering from acne turn to prescription benzoyl peroxide cleansers and powerful cleansing solutions made with salicylic acid to help clear up congested pores and calm down irritated skin. However, these acne treatments may aggravate the skin even further.

  • Allergan, the makers of Botox and other cosmetic surgery treatments, has recently been approached the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about its marketing and advertising campaign of Aczone, an acne treatment that was announced for the U.S. markets earlier this year.