Read the theory below or jump straight to the recommended Vitamin A products (click here).
Vitamin A – facts, forms and how to use
Vitamin A works by normalising skin functions so it corrects all skin conditions. It was conclusively proven in 1996 that Vitamin A as a topical skin ingredient is capable of reprogramming cellular function – WOW! This is why we all should be using it, not only to help us age more gracefully but, more importantly so our skin is healthier as we age.
There are different forms available over the counter as well as by prescription; Renova, Retin A or Tretinoin just to name three.
Initially, these products (and other Vitamin A types) were used for acne and as anti-aging agents. However, there were some side effects including sun sensitivity, irritation, redness and a drying of the skin, so people stopped using them.
What does it do in the skin? Vitamin A thickens and stimulates the dermis – where your collagen, elastin and blood vessels are – so it reduces wrinkles and increases blood flow to the surface of the skin. Vitamin A actually increases the deposition of collagen; therefore it slows the normal aging breakdown of your collagen and elastin.
- normalises blood flow and helps to reduce the symptoms of rosacea
- increases the rate of wound healing
- exfoliates – making skin smooth and even-toned
- repairs the cellular structure of the epidermis – optimising your UV protection
- decreases clustering of melanin granules – so reducing brown spots or pigmentation
- decreases sebum production and thus treats acne brilliantly
- promotes a healthy cellular membrane
- helps in the eradication of pre-cancerous skin lesions
- improves hydration both in and around the cell by doing all of the above
All forms of topical Vitamin A are potent and effective. However, by using chirally correct products with no added irritants or nasty chemicals, you will enhance the results whilst minimising these side effects.
Delivery systems to deep in the skin. What is significant in medical-strength skin care products is the way their active ingredients are transported to the basal layer and the dermis – the area they need to be in to work. Two main ones are the retinaldehyde-liposome and AGP (arabino-galactan-protein), a molecular transport antioxidant. Other types of skin care products rarely have the ability to go so deep without irritation.
Both these delivery sytems carry the active Vitamin A through all the skin’s structures to the receptor on the cell. In this way, there is no drying of the skin, no redness and no irritation. Of course, other necessary ingredients are carried along as well; many have their own delivery sytems too.
You will feel activity in the skin. Some people like this feeling and some don’t. The secret to achieving a Vitamin A tolerance is to listen to your skin and slow down the active products if you don’t like what you are seeing or feeling.
Optimal use. Use your Vitamin A at least twice a week and you will reap benefits. However, for maximum effect use every night and, if tolerating well, any of the Osmosis MD Vitamin A products can be used morning and night.
You should, however, take it slowly, gradually building up your skin’s strength. This can take months though if you are using a good quality, no nasty product with the appropriate % of Vitamin A in the best form for your skin you should have no problems. If your skin becomes red, flaky and irritable, decrease your Vitamin A, increase your antioxidant nourishing product and slowly increase again in 2–3 weeks.
Also remember, a day in the sun or wind will increase cellular activity. If you allow both UV’s and Vitamin A into your skin, they are attempting to do opposite things – one to damage and one to heal, and you will feel irritation and see redness. These are the days you don’t use your Vitamin A and instead use nourishing antioxidants and are vigilant using your sun block.
Always nourish your skin at least daily with antioxidants and use a physical sunblock EVERY DAY when you are using a Vitamin A product.
**** WARNING *** If pregnant, thinking of being so or breastfeeding, please discuss the use of any Vitamin A serum with your doctor. We recommend that you cease their use during this period, as it is not known conclusively whether a developing fetus will be affected; the research is still happening.
Osmosis MD Vitamin A products in order of strength:
- Calm – for sensitive, mature, rosacea skins
- Correct, Renew – for aging, pigmented, oily skins
- Clarify – for acne, oily skins
For some skin concerns such as acne, although oil based, you may need to begin by using Calm if the skin feels dry rather than oily.
Osmosis MD Calm$18.00–$132.00
Osmosis MD Clarify$115.00
Osmosis MD Correct$136.00
Osmosis MD Renew$154.00
Cosmedix Vitamin A products in order of strength
- Serum 16 – for sensitive, reactive, rosacea skins
- Define – for oily, congested skin
- Refine – for aging and sundamaged skin
- Refine Plus – to move onto after at least one bottle of the Refine
Aspect Dr in order of strength
- Exfol A – for younger, breakout-prone skin (fairly normal combination skin)
- Problem Skin Serum – for acne-related skin
Skin Medica Lytera System. The three products in this kit (or system) are designed to specifically treat pigmentation and melasma. There is a cleanser, a Vitamin A product (Retinol) and, of course, the treatment serum itself (The Complex). In order to obtain the best results from these products, you are best to use the Retinol product provided. You can purchase all the products in the kit separately.
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