Retin A can help increase dermal collagen and improve photodamaged coloration issues such as lentigines (brown sun spots) but it can not replicate the improvement seen from fraxel repair laser resurfacing which can induce improvement in lines, texture and color and even tightening.
How Do the Results of a Deep Fraxel Compare to Results Achieved After 6 Months Use of Retin-A ?
Doctor Answers 4
Retin A is a good adjunt but not a replacement for Fraxel Repair
Deep Fraxel is more effective for rejuvenation than Retin A
Retin A does stimulate some small amount of collagen production in the dermis, but it is only effective for very superficial wrinkling. Retin A also causes epidermal cell turnover and freshens the epidermis and temporarily reverses some sun damage while it is being used.
Deep Fraxel can affect the deeper dermis and generate more collagen production. It also helps renew the epidermis.
Retin-A vs Deep Fraxel -- which is better?
I disagree. I vote for the deep Fraxel.
Obviously, you can use Retin A at home for a fraction of the cost of a deep Fraxel treatment. And if you were to have deep Fraxel, most doctors would want you to use Retin A beforehand to "precondition" your skin to achieve the best results. Since your question does not address cost, I vote for the deep Fraxel having a greater effect than Retin-A alone. But a moderate depth chemical peel could likely produce similar results at even less cost.