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Retinoic acid is the oxidized form of Vitamin A.
Retinoic Acid is often used to improve the appearance and texture of the skin. It produces a mild, superficial peel of the epidermis. Retin-A has effects on the both the superficial (epidermis) and the deep(dermis) parts of the skin. The major benefit is to decrease the effects of sunlight caused aging by increasing the speed with which the surface cells are replaced.
In the epidermis it thins the outer later, or stratum corneum, which makes the skin more permeable. However the overall thickness of the epidermis is increased. The epidermal cells are also more active.The production of collagen in the dermis is increased.
The most common problems are redness and sensitivity to the sun but serious complications are rare. If Retinoic acid is used repeatedly there is a risk of loss of pigment or lightning of the skin. Some patients say that the irritation is painful but scarring does not occur.
Some patients find that Renova which is Retinoic acidmixed with an emollient cream is less irritating.
Many surgeons like to use Retinoic acid to prepare the skin before skin resurfacing with peels and lasers.
Some doctors feel that bleaching agents are more effective in the treatmentof chloasma (pigment change during pregnancy) when combined with retinoic acid.