Tags: acne medication, age spots, anti-aging ointment, bleaching cream, blemishes, clogged tube, dermatologist, glycolic acid, metabolic process, retinoic acid, sensitive skin, Skin Care, skin treatment, wrinkles
Originally developed as an acne medication to unplug clogged pores, retinoic acid, the active ingredient found in products like Retin-A and Differin, has found resounding success as an anti-aging ointment. Though not a fountain of youth, retinoic acid works to eliminate fine wrinkles, blemishes, and age spots by stimulating cell turnover in a metabolic process that still is not entirely understood.
To remove an age spot, dermatologists often recommend applying the strongest dosage of retinoic acid that you can tolerate directly on the spot. The area will proceed to peel, and after a few months, the spot should diminish and possibly even disappear.
In a 9-month study of 83 people with age spots, researchers found that people treated with a retinoic acid gel experienced lightening of these spots after 1 month. After 9 months, 57 percent of those treated with the gel showed significant lightening of their age spots.
Retinoic acid can be even more effective when used in combination with other treatment. We often have people apply glycolic acid in the morning and retinoic acid at night. Or combine it with a bleaching cream.
Retinoic acid cream comes in a variety of concentrations, but it’s available only by prescription, so you’ll need to work with your dermatologist to find the dosage that’s right for you.
And because retinoic acid continually sloughs off the outermost, dead layer of skin, it can not only eliminate existing spots but also nip new spots in the bud. The downside of this process is that an area of skin previously sheltered from evaporation and the elements is exposed. That’s why a common side effect of retinoic acid is dry, sun-sensitive skin that can be irritated and scaly. Though this effect typically diminishes with time, if you’re using retinoic acid, you’ll likely need a moisturizer. Sunscreen is also a must once you start using retinoic acid.