Retinoids are widely used in dermatology and may play a role in wound healing. The exact role of retinoids in wounds is confusing and controversial, however. Systemic retinoids are presumed to be detrimental to wound healing; however, this standard is based on isolated reports.
The objective was to provide a critical review of the available literature regarding the role of both topical and systemic retinoids in various aspects of wound healing.
Pretreatment with retinoids likely promotes wound healing after facial resurfacing procedures and full- or partial-thickness wounds. While the evidence is mixed regarding the effects of retinoids applied to fresh and healing wounds, the majority of the evidence available shows favorable wound-healing properties in this setting. The medical–legal standard regarding the avoidance of facial resurfacing and surgical procedures in patients on or recently completing a course of systemic retinoids was likely prematurely established.