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Topical Vitamin A Acid in Acne Vulgaris

Albert M. Kligman, MD. PhD; James E. Fulton Jr., MD; Gerd Plewig, MD
Arch Dermatol. 1969;99(4):469-476. doi:10.1001/archderm.1969.01610220097017.
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The therapeutic effectiveness of four local forms of treatment was compared in acne vulgaris: (a) sulfur-resorcinol; (b) benzoyl peroxide; (c) vitamin A acid; and, (d) an inert vehicle. The method of assessment was counting all the lesions on one side of the face at weekly intervals. The order of increasing therapeutic efficacy was: vehicle, sulfur-resorcinol, benzoyl peroxide, and vitamin A acid.

Vitamin A acid increased the rate of production of loose horny cells in the follicular canal, thus preventing formation of comedones and unseating existing ones.

The treatment frequently produces a worsening of the clinical picture during the initial phase of therapy. It is palliative, not curative; relapses occasionally occur when treatment is stopped.


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