Chronic sun exposure leads to photodamage, which is characterized clinically by fine and coarse wrinkles, dyspigmentation, telangiectasia, laxity, roughness and a sallow appearance. Many treatments claim to reduce the signs of photodamage, however evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCT) to support these claims is limited. The use of topical retinoids, particularly tretinoin, isotretinoin and tazarotene, has been shown to significantly reduce signs of photodamage both clinically and histologically. Over recent years a number of RCTs, have affirmed that topical tazarotene is an effective and safe treatment for photodamaged skin. © 2008 Dove Medical Press Limited. All rights reserved.