OBJECTIVES: To compare the efficacy and tolerability of tazarotene 0.1% cream and tretinoin 0.05% emollient cream in the treatment of photodamaged facial skin. METHODS: Subjects were eligible to enroll in this multicenter, double-blind, randomized, parallel-group study if they had at least mild levels of facial fine wrinkling and mottled hyperpigmentation, and at least moderate levels of one of these. Subjects were randomly assigned to apply either tazarotene cream or tretinoin emollient cream to their faces once each evening for 24 weeks. RESULTS: A total of 173 subjects were enrolled, of whom 157 completed. All significant between-group differences in efficacy measures were in favor of tazarotene - for fine wrinkling at the study endpoint and, at earlier timepoints, for treatment success (≥50% global improvement), and the overall integrated assessment of photodamage, mottled hyperpigmentation, and coarse wrinkling. Both products were comparable in terms of cosmetic acceptability and tolerability except that tazarotene was associated with a transiently higher incidence of a burning sensation on the skin (in the first week of treatment but not thereafter). CONCLUSIONS: Tazarotene 0.1% cream can offer superior efficacy over tretinoin 0.05% emollient cream in the treatment of facial photodamage, particularly with respect to the speed of improvement.
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