Questions Raised About Anti-wrinkle Cream
LIKE most things that sound too good to be true, the widely heralded anti-aging effects of rEtin-A have probably been overbilled, say a number of dermatologists around the country. this is not to say that the drug, a vitamin A derivative, is not promising, they add, but its benefits appear to be fairly modest, and its possible long-term effects are not yet known.
Retin-A, a cream containing retinoic acid, has been used since the 1960s to treat acne. Almost immediately, Albert Kligman of the University of Pennsylvania noted its anti-aging benefits on the skin of his older acne patients. But this new study, conducted by John Voorhees and his colleagues at
the University of Michigan Medical Center and published in the 22 January issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, provides the first evidence of anti-aging effect from a double-blind trial (Science, 29 January, p. 457).
In the small, 4-month trial, all 30 subjects showed a slight to marked improvement--fewer fine wrinkles and a "pink rosy glow," the investigators report. In some, coarse wrinkles were reduced, skin became smoother, and sun spots faded. The subjects, ages 35 to 70, applied Retin-A to one forearm and a control cream to the other, and half of them also applied Retin-A to their faces. Effects were far more pronounced on the forearm, where 40% of the subjects showed "major...