Every skincare brand on the market wants to wow us with scientific proof that this one product is the one we can’t live without. We all know, though, that skincare is big business. How do we know what to believe?
There is one universal truth: Vitamin A has a scientifically-proven positive impact on lines and wrinkles. It is also effective against acne. Every day, light exposure destroys Vitamin A in our skin – it’s something of which we are all constantly in need. Sun exposure, as well as other environmental factors, cause Vitamin A deficiency: which leads to age-related skin problems. If you’re experiencing problems with wrinkles, loss of skin elasticity, irregular pigmentation, rough skin or sallowness then your skin is lacking Vitamin A.
So, how do you get Vitamin A into your skincare routine? Here’s a guide to how vitamin A works, and to choosing the right product for your needs.
Vitamin A and its derivatives
For Vitamin A to be absorbed by your skin cells, it must be converted to Retinoic Acid. There are several forms of Vitamin A, known as derivatives, which convert the vitamin into the acid. Some of these are more effective than others at converting to Retinoic Acid. You should be aware of which are most effective so that you know what you are buying!
Retinol is the alcohol form of Vitamin A. It’s the most common form of the vitamin in most skincare products but its effectiveness is limited by the absorption within the cells being a two-step process.
Retinyl Palmitate is often added to cheaper Vitamin A-containing products. However, it is a combination of retinol and palmitic acid and the path to conversion is long. It’s largely ineffective unless combined with another Vitamin A derivative.
Retinoids are where the scientific study of Vitamin A in skincare began. Whilst researching the use of Retinoids for acne, the positive impact on lines and wrinkles was obvious. Retinoids are accepted directly into the cells without any conversion so are highly potent. They can cause redness and irritation, so caution is advised.
Retinaldehyde is easily converted to Retinoic Acid and has an excellent result without the irritation. It can be expensive and will only be effective in higher concentrations (around 0.1% in the ingredients list).
So, how do I choose the right Vitamin A product for my skin?
The science behind how Vitamin A derivatives are absorbed by your skin cells sounds quite complex. There is clearly a risk that there will be a retinoid reaction. You need to test and build up your skin’s response to products containing Vitamin A. To make sure you’re being safe with your skin, you could try a system-based product like Environ which allows you to step-up the Vitamin A content.
You just need to be a bit savvy in how you spend your money to make sure you get what you need. If you’re looking seriously for something new to treat lines and wrinkles as well as acne, scars, sun damage or dark spots, then you’ll get excellent results from Vitamin A-containing products. Just be careful and apply sparingly as you test out your skin’s reaction. You’ll need to take a structured approach to get your skin used to the products – but you will find that your patience will really pay off.
Which products containing Vitamin A work best?
You’ll want to speak to your salon to get reliable advice on the best products for your skin type. You also need to combine Vitamin A with a daily sunblock. Look for sun protection containing Vitamin A for an easy routine! Make sure you’re not using Vitamin A products if you are pregnant or at risk from osteoporosis, as too much can be harmful to bone development. Cheese, eggs, oily fish and milk are all great sources of Vitamin A you can find in your diet, too!
If you’re feeling confused, pop into the salon and ask for a consultation with one of our experienced team here at West One MYB.