Hey SKN fam. We posted earlier this week about the benefits of Vitamin A and how much we love this ingredient. It really is a wonder vitamin that works on every skin type for so many different reasons. There can often be some confusion around vitamin A as there are so many different names, different strengths and myths around correct and incorrect uses of Vitamin A. I’m going to try to make things a bit clearer today about Vitamin A and its benefits. I will also try to shed some light on how it can be encapsulated and therefore how ‘active’ it is within the product. Grab a cuppa and sit back. This one takes some brain energy ?
Retinol ( or vitamin A – see, I told you it gets confusing) is, without doubt, one of the most widely known and used anti-ageing ingredients on the market. It is indeed a wrinkle reducing compound. But what else does can it do and what are the different forms?
Retinol is a form of Vitamin A. Some people call retinol, ‘animal vitamin A’ as it can be found in eggs, beef, chicken and fish oil. This has a small molecule that can be broken into an even smaller one. All of these belong to the ‘retinoid’ family. One of these is ‘retinyl palmitate’. Thanks to special enzymes within our skin, both of these compounds are converted into ‘retinoic acid’ which is the ingredient that does the actual job as far as wrinkle reduction is concerned. Still confused? The most important thing to know is that there are different strengths of vitamin A and different types. Some people become concerned with the percentage of Vitamin A in a specific product as they believe stronger is better. But as I have explained above, there are different types and they get broken down into the same ‘retinoic acid’ by our skin anyway. It’s not necessarily a question of how strong but how the Vitamin A is encapsulated, or what carrier soluble it is in. This will determine how effective it will be on your skin.
The benefits of Vitamin A, that go far beyond the treatment of premature ageing are phenomenal. Vitamin A strengthens the skin and regulates the natural rhythm of cellular proliferation. (cell turn over and regeneration) It is a strong antioxidant with exfoliating properties that neutralize free radicals which attack the skins primary structure. It also extends the life of the cell and helps to promote collagen production. It also helps to regulate the flow of oil which is why it is FANTASTIC for acne sufferers. So absolutely EVERYONE needs vitamin A!
Some myths busted:
The best and strongest Vitamin A can only be prescribed by a dermatologist?
While medically prescribed Vitamin A (Retinoic Acid) can have its benefits for skins showing visible signs of sun exposure and wear and tear, extended use or overuse of this can have its many setbacks. It can be very irritating and create a lot of redness in the skin. It also doesn’t contain other beneficial ingredients the skin needs.
Vitamin A ‘thins’ our the skin?
While some people initially experience some flakiness or shedding of the skin, this does not mean its weakening or damaging your skin. In fact, quite the opposite. Vitamin A strengthens the skin on a cellular level. It is a regulator and helps increase the production of collagen. It certainly won’t thin your skin is you are using a cosmetically product as prescribed by your skin care professional and in conjunction with a healthy skin regime. This initial shedding or dry sensation is why some people give it up and generally feel that Vitamin A is too ‘strong’ for their skin. This is also not the case. These cells are redundant and would be desquamating of at some point. Vitamin A regulates this turnover and encourages these to lift off, allowing the new, healthier cells it is helping create, come to the surface. Stick at it. You will feel better, and the skin will look better in due course.
As long as my product says it contains Vitamin A, I’m fine.
So many people that come through our doors for the first time have purchased a vitamin A elsewhere. They are doing their best to give their skin what they know it needs. The problem that can sometimes occur with vitamin A serums purchased at your supermarkets, pharmacies or department stores, is that the Vitamin A component is sitting in carrier oil. What this means is it may be in there, it may even be quite a high percentage, however, if it’s sitting in 3 or 4 different carrier oils, or base soluble, then it simply cannot be active enough in the skin to create the change. It generally isn’t encapsulated in a way the skin recognizes and therefore cannot break down. This means the cells cannot take in the fab ingredient. Which is such a SHAME. Firstly, because you aren’t getting the ingredient you desire, but also because you have generally spent some good dollars on this for nothing.
Don’t be afraid of Vitamin A SKN fam. Embrace it. It’s never to early to start using Vitamin A (well almost never – I mean we aren’t going to slap it on bubbas) But if you are over the age of 18, vitamin A is for you! If you need any advice on a vitamin A serum or cream for you, please let us know.
Jane and Rach xx