Chemotherapy Skin Cream Improves Sun-Damaged and Wrinkled Skin
Although the skin cream was generally well tolerated, most of the participants found the treatment at least moderately uncomfortable and one person developed severe skin inflammation and had to stop using the skin cream. The cream caused the skin to become red and irritated, making it peel as it worked to eliminate unhealthy skin. In the weeks following, the skin of the participants recovered with softer wrinkles and better texture. Fluorouracil works to reduce the signs of sun damage by increasing the levels of a precursor to collagen, which rebuilds damaged skin.
The twenty remaining participants completed a questionnaire in week ten of the study in which 40 percent reported sun damage to be much improved while 35 percent saw moderate improvement. For wrinkles, 42 percent experienced mild improvement, with 26 percent noting moderate improvement, and 16 percent had much improvement. All of the participants had at least a mild improvement in their skin texture, and overall, 75 percent said they were either moderately and very satisfied with the results.
The majority of the volunteers said they would opt to undergo the treatment again, with 17 out of 19 of them even acknowledging that they would be willing to pay for it. According to the researchers, the skin cream would be less costly than laser skin resurfacing, however, use of the cream may not achieve the same degree of improvement.
The participants were followed for almost six months, during which time they received skin biopsies and dermatology checkups on a regular basis. In addtion, close-up facial photographs were taken of each participant.
In their report, the researchers wrote, “For patients in whom a course of topical fluorouracil is indicated for the treatment of actinic keratoses, there will likely be the additional benefit of a restorative effect from sun damage.” They concluded, “It is possible that for some patients topical fluorouracil may have an important role against photo-aging…. Undoubtedly, there will be patients who desire a therapy such as topical fluorouracil for cosmetic purposes given the relatively low cost of this therapy compared with ablative laser resurfacing.”