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Retinoic acid is a popular ingredient in anti-aging and anti-wrinkle creams. It is also used to treat severe acne infections. It works by exfoliating to remove dead skin cells and promoting the growth of new, healthier skin cells. Retinoic acid increases the risk of sun exposure so it must be used at night or in conjunction with a powerful sunblock to prevent burns and sun damage. For best results, it must be used regularly.

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Cleanse skin where you plan on applying retinoic acid. Wash the area with a mild cleanser and pat completely dry.

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Apply a dime-sized amount of retinoic acid cream to affected areas. It can be applied on the face, neck, chest and upper arms as needed.

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Rub the cream into your skin using a circular motion. Massage it in for a few seconds and allow it to become absorbed into the problem areas. Use once a day before bedtime. If you use it too frequently, it can cause skin to become irritated and overly sensitive. Apply the cream before bed to minimize sun damage.


Discontinue use and consult a physician if your skin becomes overly irritated and red or if you develop a rash.

Do not use topical retinoic acid if you are pregnant.

About the Author

Maggie Hira

Maggie Hira has been writing professionally since 2006. She has written for numerous websites and print publications, including "LA.Direct Magazine" and The Budget Fashionista. Hira holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California, Los Angeles.