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For most people, the first course of action used to treat skin problems is over-the-counter topical creams and ointments. When these fail, the next level of treatment is cosmeceuticals: prescription ointments, creams, cleaners and lotions that can augment natural collagen, stimulate skin regeneration, and/or help retain skin elasticity. Generally, cosmeceuticals are used to reduce wrinkles and create the appearance of smoother, younger skin.

Tretinoin, known as Retin-A, is the most widely used cosmeceutical. A variety of products incorporate Retin-A in order to eliminate old surface skin layers with new. Retin-A is now added to some over-the-counter products as well. Continuous use of these products over 2 to 6 months is required to achieve visible results. In some cases, individuals may react negatively to Retin-A and experience itchiness, redness, scaliness or a burning sensation.