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SCOTT JAGOW: More than 5 million American take glucosamine for arthritis and joint pain. Its effectiveness is a matter of debate, but a new study suggests it might work better for skin problems. From the Health Desk at WGBH, Helen Palmer reports.

HELEN PALMER: Sun worshippers often find they get dark blotches called age or liver spots as they get older. This sun damage can be treated with lasers or with cream that costs about $100 a tube. But new research indicates that when rubbed on the skin, glucosamine causes age spots to fade.

ALEXA KIMBALL: They definitely lightened over the course of the study.

Dermatologist Alexa Kimball of Harvard University says three studies where none of the researchers knew who got the active ingredient showed a definite improvement in patients who used glucosamine cream.

Already welcoming the research is Proctor and Gamble.

Anti-aging skin products are a $750 million market. Proctor and Gamble is launching a new cream with glucosamine. It'll retail at about $28 a tube.

In Boston I'm Helen Palmer for Marketplace.