Topical creams that remove precancerous skin lesions without surgery can also serve an antiaging function for the skin, according to a recent study published in the Archives of Dermatology.

In the June 16 edition of USA Today, an article reports that doctors who have treated actinic keratoses have known about the rejuvenating effects of 5-FU for some time now, but until now, there hasn’t been any clinical trials formally testing the observation.

Lead author Dana Sachs of the University of Michigan, and researchers found that of the 20 patients included in the study, the majority said the cream reduced their precancers, and 95% rated their sun damage as much, mildly or moderately improved. Furthermore, the study noted that most indicated that their skin texture had improved and that their wrinkles were less noticeable. Doctors confirmed their patients’ observations, noting significant improvements.

The study shows that 5-FU cream injures the skin and prompts the body to repair itself, according to the USA Today article. During this process, the body produces more collagen, therefore smoothing wrinkles.

Nevertheless, Sachs notes that the study has limitations. She said because doctors and patients would have easily figured out which patients were using the real medication, patients were not given a placebo cream.

Side effects include redness, peeling, crusting and pain that last for weeks after the two-week treatment ends, yet nearly 90% of patients in the study said they would use the cream again, just to look more youthful.

[Source: USA Today]