Vitamin A – facts, types and use
Vitamin A in skin care products works by normalising skin functions which equals a correction of all skin conditions. It is a very exciting ingredient to add to your skin regime. 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 and have clear skin, but, more importantly so our skin is healthier as we age.
Choosing your Vitamin A though can be very confusing as there are many different forms, all touting that they are the best. Whether you purchase from your local salon, pharmacist, super market or doctor by prescription the label may include names such as Renova, Retin A or Tretinoin just to name three. Our favourite is stablised Retinaldehyde, found in the Osmosis MD A’s and the CosMedix serum 16. The skin likes this form due to its efficacy at the deep cellular level. When combined with a penetrating delivery system Retinaldehyde is able to reach the required cells quickly, jumping in and healing with no or minimal irritation, sun sensitivity or redness. These are the problems traditionally associated with Vitamin A serums and creams and even today other forms may cause these in your skin.
Back in the 80’s initially, Vitamin A was used to treat acne and then as anti-aging agents as it was found to be so effective.
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.
Vitamin A works by –
- Normalises blood flow – taking nutrients and oygen to the cells.
- Helps to reduce the symptoms of rosacea
- Increases the rate of wound healing – treats acne scarring
- 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 – improving hydration
- Helps in the eradication of pre-cancerous skin lesions
- Improves hydration both in and around the cell by doing all of the above – decreasing wrinkles!
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 (arabinogalactan-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 can, however, take it slowly if you have very reactive or sensitive skin, gradually building up it’s strength. This can take weeks, depending on the type of Vitamin A you have chosen. 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.
-a day in the sun, wind or sudden stress, 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 continues. For further information please read our article on caring for your skin whilst pregnant and breast feeding.