Topical all-trans-retinoic acid (tretinoin) alone and in combination with 0.5% minoxidil has been tested for the promotion of hair growth in 56 subjects with androgenetic alopecia. After 1 year, the combination of topical tretinoin with 0.5% minoxidil resulted in terminal hair regrowth in 66% of the subjects studied. Tretinoin was shown to stimulate some hair regrowth in approximately 58% of the subjects studied. One female subject with pronounced alopecia for more than 20 years had regrowth of hair using only tretinoin for a period of 18 months. Tretinoin has been shown to promote and regulate cell proliferation and differentiation in the epithelium and may promote vascular proliferation. These factors are important for hair growth promotion. These preliminary results indicate that more work should be done on the role of retinoids in hair growth. The synergistic effect of retinoids in combination with a low concentration of minoxidil should also be further investigated.
Bazzano GS, Terezakis N, Galen W
J Am Acad Dermatol, 15: 4 Pt 2, 1986 Oct, 880-3, 890-3