Short contact therapy of acne with tretinoin

Stefano Veraldi, Mauro Barbareschi, Susanna Benardon, Rossana Schianchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The most frequent side effect of topical retinoids is irritant contact dermatitis. It occurs in approximately 85% of patients; the percentage can reach up to 95% in patients treated with tretinoin. Severity of this dermatitis is moderate to severe in approximately 20% of patients. However, 15% of patients stop the treatment with tretinoin because of skin irritation. The authors used tretinoin as short contact therapy (SCT) in mild to moderate acne, in order to try to reduce the incidence and severity of irritant contact dermatitis. They present the final results of a sponsor-free, pilot, open, multicenter study. Seventy-four patients were treated with 0.05% tretinoin cream. It was applied once daily for 30 min. Treatment duration ranged from 8 to 32 weeks (mean duration: 12 weeks). Acne severity and treatment efficacy were evaluated by means of the Global Acne Grading System. A significant clinical improvement (≥50% from baseline) was observed in 41 patients (55.4%). Thirteen patients (17.6%) developed a mild skin irritation. Four patients (5.4%) stopped the treatment because of severe skin irritation. Efficacy of tretinoin used as SCT seems to be superimposable to that of tretinoin used according to standard modality. Tolerability of SCT with tretinoin is very good. This tolerability allows a high adherence of patients to the treatment and it markedly improves compliance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)374-376
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Dermatological Treatment
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013


  • Acne
  • Irritant contact dermatitis
  • Retinoid dermatitis
  • Short contact therapy
  • Topical retinoids
  • Tretinoin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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