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Skin care treatments

Treatments range from products available at a drug store to procedures performed by a skin care professional. In general, products or treatments that provide the greatest results also require a longer recovery time, and are usually available only through a dermatologist.

Still, if your problem is less severe, certain over-the-counter products that may be effective. Creams or solutions containing at least 8 percent alpha-hydroxy acid, or AHA, (A-H-A) work as a chemical exfoliant, gradually revealing fresher-looking skin.

Avoid using AHA concentrations over 10 percent, as they can irritate the skin. Salicylic (sal-uh-SIHL-ihk) acid is a similar exfoliant, but tends to be gentler. Bleaching creams with ingredients like hydroquinone (hy-droh-KWIHN-ohn) may help to lighten freckles and age spots.

Two percent solutions are sold in stores, while 3 percent strengths must be purchased from a dermatologist. Another prescription-strength product is Renova (reh-NOH-vah), a cream approved by the FDA (F-D- A) for the treatment of fine wrinkles. Dermatologists also offer procedures like light, medium, and deep chemical peels and microdermabrasion (MY-kroh-DEHRM-uh-bray-zhun) to correct lines and spots. Laser treatments can be used to fade age spots, eliminate broken capillaries, or completely resurface the face.