Vitamin A has been a popular ingredient in the last few decades because it has been thought to help;
- build collagen and elastin
- heal acne
- lighten hyperpigmentation
There are many types of vitamin A products on the market. The cheapest are retinols. The prescription forms include topical Tretinoin, aka Retin A (in various forms such as Renova, Avita, etc.) and oral medication known as Accutane (a dangerous drug affecting liver function, development of babies in-utero, mental health and more).
The reason why these products are used is to exfoliate the skin with the intent to stimulate collagen production.
But over-exfoliation is a big problem. Many women think that if they exfoliate more, they'll have better skin, when just the opposite is true. This is partly because they are only exfoliating the top level of their skin.
The studies of vitamin A /retinoic acid are done using live layers of dermal tissue - not the dead top layer. To be effective, the retinoic acid (Retin A) or vitamin A product needs to penetrate to deeper layers of skin than just the surface.
I don't use or recommend any retinols, retinoic acid, etc. The oral drug is not recommended for the reasons stated above, and the topicals because they are not well absorbed and therefore not very useful. Because they are not well absorbed, they sit on the skin's surface causing inflammation.
Inflammation caused by vitamin A products without adequate mechanisms for absorption or penetration cause irritation, dryness, redness, sensitization, sun sensitivity, and more.
There is a version that does penetrate well
Retinaldehyde has the ability to penetrate the skin more effectively. This is because it is a smaller molecule than other forms of vitamin A.
In addition, the version of retinaldehyde I recommend is wrapped in a liposome (a lipid/fatty acid that is accepted for better levels of penetration by your skin. It can also be used day and night because it does not cause sun sensitivity like Retin A or retinols.
What does Retinaldehyde do for skin?
It has the ability to stimulate your production of collagen (not all vitamin A’s do), elastin and GAC’s (Glycosaminoglycans), which are the skin’s natural moisturizers.
- minimize fine lines and wrinkles by thickening the skin when used over the long term
- smooth skin texture by keeping keratinization at bay (build up of dead skin cells)
- lightens hyperpigmentation
- heal acne lesions and prevent new ones
- refine pore size
So when choosing a vitamin A product, consider the effectiveness of retinaldehyde formulated with lipids (fats) for best absorption.
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Choose your Vitamin A Serum -
1. Correct for all skin types and conditions
2. Renew for thicker, more resilient skins that exhibit sun damage or deeper wrinkles
3. Clarify for oily, acne, non-sensitive skin types