A physician-strength superficial peel containing 3% retinol is associated with improvements in skin firmness and dermatologist-rated reductions in fine lines and wrinkles, a study in the Journal of Drugs and Dermatology suggests.
Participants in the study had either photodamaged skin and/or acne (n=14), Fitzpatrick skin types IV-VI (n=5), or mild to moderate melasma or hyperpigmentation (n=5). Every 6 weeks, under physician direction, participants received a total of 2 to 4 peels containing 3% retinol. A supportive homecare regimen was also provided to participants in addition to the peels. Tolerability and efficacy of the peels were evaluated at each study visit through dermatologist grading, self-assessment, and digital photography. Efficacy included visible reductions in fine lines, wrinkles, mottled pigmentation/melasma, pore size, lack of clarity/radiance, laxity, overall global photodamage, and overall global acne evaluation.
Of the 78 peels administered in this study, all participants with all skin types and conditions tolerated the 3% retinol peel regimens. Many participants had noticeable peeling approximately 3 days after the peel, but these resolved by 7 days. Significant improvement in dermatologist clinical grading of fine lines, wrinkles, pore size, laxity, mottled pigmentation, lack of clarity/radiance, and overall photodamage was documented in participants with photodamaged skin (P <.05). Overall acne severity also decreased over the study period; however, statistical analysis was not performed for the case study groups. Tolerability and efficacy parameters were validated in digital photography immediately after the peel.
Limitations of the study include the small sample size as well as the lack of a placebo group or active control.
Based on their findings, the researchers suggest the 3% “retinol peel provides a versatile option to the physician to offer to all patients desiring superficial skin rejuvenation.”
Disclosure: Several study authors declared affiliations with the pharmaceutical industry. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.
Sadick N, Edison BL, John G, Bohnert KL, Green B. An advanced, physician-strength retinol peel improves signs of aging and acne across a range of skin types including melasma and skin of color. J Drugs Dermatol. 2019;18(9):918-923.