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Acne Treatment and Glycolic Acid Memphis Dermatologist

by George Woodbury Jr. M.D. (06/18/2023)

Patients seeking Acne treatment and anti-wrinkle cream benefit from use of Retinoid creams – such as Retin A Cream (tretinoin cream) – and use of Alpha Hydroxy Acid or AHA called Glycolic Acid Cream or Lotion. Let’s take a look at how these two categories of topical (meaning for use “on top of” the skin) medications work, and how they can be best used in combination with each other, my perspective being that of Board-certified Memphis Dermatologist with Rheumatology and Dermatology, 8143 Walnut Grove Road in Cordova TN, 38018, since 1993 (1-901-753-0168; as well as President of Big River Silk Skincare, manufacturer of organic skincare and distributor of GlycoShea™ Facial&Neck Lotion (; 1-901-753-0168).

First, your skin uses a process which is called “Exfoliation” within the Epidermis, to release older cells and to replace these with newer cells. This replenishing of the outermost layer allows the outermost layer of the Epidermis, the Stratum Corneum, to remain effective at protecting us from bacteria, viruses, and fungi, preserving its ability to reduce moisture loss. Exfoliation is a process analogous to the loss of leaves by deciduous trees in the Fall, a renewal process.

The discovery of Retinoids came about from the observation that when explorers of the Arctic with severe Acne ate polar bear liver, that severe Acne tended to clear up. 20th century Dermatologists including Dr. Albert Kligman of the University of Pennsylvania studied polar bear liver, finding a chemical that was named Vitamin A, a type of “Retinoid.” Vitamin A itself has been used to treat Acne since the 1930s and 1940s, both in oral form and in topical form.

Retinoids include an oral medication -Isotretinoin treatment or Accutane treatment – and four chemicals used topically: Retin A Cream (tretinoin cream), adapalene gel (Differin Gel), tazarotene cream and gel (Tazorac), and trifarotene cream (Aklief®).

Retinoid creams and gels are often used at night, because they tend to be inactivated by being exposed to light. They tend to be drying on the skin, and they tend to cause a flare of acne when first used, so they must often be used every other night, or every third night, and it only takes about a pea-sized amount for one’s entire face.

Dermatologists tend to restrict use of oral Isotretinoin Treatment or Accutane Treatment to people with more stubborn or severe Acne, particularly those prone to scarring, people with Nodulocystic Acne, because if women take Accutane within 30 days of being pregnant, there is a risk of severe defects in the baby. So we often request use of two different forms of pregnancy prevention, such as Birth Control Pills in combination with barrier methods like the diaphragm or condoms, due to this pregnancy risk.

The most common Retinoid used topically – Retin A or tretinoin – comes in eight different forms and strengths. These are prescription products because the job of the Dermatologist is to determine which of these forms is best suited to a given patient’s skin. They must often be used for 3-6 months for both Acne treatment and for Antiwrinkle cream.

Dermatologists often combine use of Retinoids for Acne Treatment or for their Antiwrinkle effects with certain moisturizers on the off night from application of the Retinoid. The manufacturer of Retin A Cream – Ortho Pharmaceuticals – makes a facial lotion – Purpose Facial Lotion – that can be used in the mornings because it contains a sunscreen. Other moisturizers available through pharmacies that can be used with topical Retinoids include Eucerin Facial Lotion, Cerave Facial Lotion, and Cetaphil.

An effective moisturizer that in and of itself has an Antiwrinkle cream effect is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid or AHA called GlycoShea™ Facial&Neck Lotion, a lead product of Big River Silk Skincare Inc, of which I am President. GlycoShea comes as a fragrance-free Lotion and as a more moisturizing Cream. It has skin moisturizing properties, but most importantly, it also acts as an Antiwrinkle cream because of its Glycolic Acid, a chemical originally discovered in sugarcane and pineapple that promotes better exfoliation of the Epidermis of the Skin. Furthermore, GlycoShea Lotion and Cream are fragrance-free, dye-free, formaldehyde-free, sulfate-free, and convenient for application at night. 1 oz: $39.95/2 oz: $59.95/8 oz: $179.95.

AmberSoy Soap Gel—also made by Big River Silk Skincare Inc.—can be used as an organic deep cleanser the morning after using Retin A Cream or GlycoShea Lotion at night. AmberSoy combines the beauty of refined Soybean Oil with some of the purest natural water in the United States, from the Memphis Sands, and it is free of formadelhyde, of sulfates, and of parabens. 1 oz: $12.95/2 oz: $18.95/8 oz: $59.95.

So if you have oily skin, combination skin, or dry skin, and complexion issues such as Acne, or if you’re suffering from wrinkles or splotchiness of skin color or sun damage, consider seeing a Board-certified Dermatologist. My own Dermatology practice is with Rheumatology and Dermatology Associates, 8143 Walnut Grove Road, Cordova, TN 38018 (1-901-753-0168). Or you can find a Dermatologist closer to you by going to the American Academy of Dermatology website,, then plugging your zip code into the “Find a Dermatologist” tab. Dermatologists in 2023 have so much to offer. So don’t delay – get evaluated today!

George Woodbury Jr MD

Rheumatology and Dermatology

8143 Walnut Grove Road

Cordova TN 38018




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