Background. Many drugs are being used for prevention and treatment of photoaging, especially topical retinoids. The use of systemic retinoids, more specifically, isotretinoin, for this purpose has not been properly addressed to date. Our study was designed to assess the systemic use of isotretinoin used alone for the therapy of cutaneous photoaging.

Objective. To demonstrate that isotretinoin is converted into retinoid and improves the appearance of the photoaged skin.

Methods. Fifty women aged 40 to 60 years, phototype I, II, or III according Fitzpatrick, were selected to receive 20 mg of isotretinoin orally 3 times a week for a 3-month period. Patients underwent clinical and laboratory evaluation. Two biopsies and photographic control were performed. Patients were requested to use only topical photoprotecting agents during the treatment. Improvement in photoaging clinical parameters were evaluated through pictures taken and also through an evaluation form. Anatomopathologic parameters were obtained by comparing collagen degeneration and skin trophism.

Results. Thirty patients fully complied with study requirements and were adequately analyzed. From the anatomopathologic data, an improvement of photoaging in 20 patients was observed.

Conclusions. Isotretinoin improves photoaging with few adverse events because of the low dose used and to the short treatment duration.