Scientists at the University of Michigan have found that a cream used to treat pre-cancerous skin patches can also repair wrinkles and other kinds of photodamage to the skin. The cream, called Fluorouracil was applied to 19 patients twice daily for two weeks and changes to the skin were evaluated in the six months following the start of the treatment. According to the researchers, fine and coarse wrinkles, and age spots, were seen to improve from baseline levels, and at the end of the study all of the patients reported their skin texture to be improved.

However, the process isn't particularly pleasant as the cream damages the skin, which forces a wound healing response. In this way, it works like laser, microdermabrasion or a retinol cream, causing significant inflammation of the skin before the healing process sets in.

Not surprisingly twelve of the nineteen patients reported the treatment to be very or moderately uncomfortable, said the scientists. However, 17 said they would be willing to undergo the treatment again. As well as causing discomfort, the cream could bring forward the Hayflick Limit. When the skin is stressed - ie by a peel - it starts to speed up the cell reproduction. Unfortunately the cells don’t regenerate indefinitely. Since there is effectively a cellular clock (50 divisions until the Hayflick Limit is reached) then with each peel time is ticking by.