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Keywords:

  • α-lipoic acid;
  • antioxidant;
  • intrinsic ageing;
  • photoageing

Summary

Background  α-lipoic acid (LA) or the reduced form dihydrolipoate (DHLA) is a potent scavenger with anti-inflammatory properties. Previous uncontrolled studies with topical treatment with 5% LA-containing creams indicate a beneficial effect on photoageing skin.

Objective  The purpose of this study was to investigate whether a cream containing 5% LA showed any advantages concerning a number of the criteria associated with ageing of the facial skin, compared with an identical cream lacking LA.

Material and methods  Thirty-three women, mean age 54·4 years, were included in this controlled study. After randomization half the face was treated twice daily for 12 weeks with the LA cream and the other half with the control cream. The following methods of assessment were used: self-evaluation by the test subjects, clinical evaluation, photographic evaluation and laser profilometry. Profilometry was performed before the start of treatment and at the end.

Results  All four methods of assessment showed a statistically significant improvement on the LA-treated half of the face. Laser profilometry, the most objective method used, showed an average decrease in skin roughness of 50·8% (44·9–54·0) on the LA-treated side, compared with 40·7% (32·4–48·7) on the placebo-treated half of the face P < 0·001 (Wilcoxon matched pairs test).

Conclusions  It is indicated that 12 weeks of treatment with a cream containing 5% LA improves clinical characteristics related to photoageing of facial skin.