Better known to the proletariat as Retin-A, retinoic acid is used by adolescents to get rid of pimples, and by the elderly to get rid of wrinkles. Retin-A uses the same strategy to do both: It dries out the skin, and causes it to stretch a bit, which has the effect of smoothing out wrinkles and eliminating the oils that cause acne. I used Retin-A in middle school and high school because I had a nasty acne problem. It stung a bit when it went on, and it made my skin very sensitive.

Additionally, when I went to gym class, the sweat on my face would sting me intensely. Sometimes it would even cause my top layer of skin to peel off a little bit. If I was a girl, I guess I would have been mortified, but I have always been a somewhat morbid person, so I thought it was kind of cool.

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