What is Vitamin A?
‘Vitamin A’ includes retinol OR any of the retinoids, which are compounds derived from vitamin A, such as retinaldehyde & the retinyl esters (retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, retinyl propionate). Retinoids also include the synthetic retinoids.
What can Vitamin A treat?
Sun damage and aging skin
Vitamin A is the gold standard treatment for reducing fine lines and wrinkles by thickening the epidermis and increasing production of substances in the epidermis that hold moisture (called glycosaminoglycans – e.g.hyaluronic acid).
Plumps the dermis by increasing collagen production and inhibiting enzymes that break down collagen
Fades pigmentation by interrupting the melanin production pathway and speeding up removal of pigmented skin cells
Stimulates growth of new blood vessels deep in the skin, improving skin’s colour and glow
Acne & oily skin
Vitamin A is used topically to prevent pore blockage and systemically (e.g. Roaccutane) to decrease sebum production, prevent pore blockage and reduce inflammation. It also improves acne scarring and hyperpigmentation.
Which form of Vitamin A is most effective?
Vitamin A effectiveness is ranked as: synthetic retinoids > retinaldehyde > retinol, with retinyl esters further much down the list. This is because the less powerful forms of vitamin A need to be converted to their biologically active form by enzymes in the skin before they can bind to cell receptors and exert their effects. Only a small amount is actually converted to the active form, so they are not considered as effective as the synthetic retinoids. On the upside, this may make them less irritating when used correctly, and they are widely available in over the counter formulations.
The synthetic retinoids are more effective as they are already in their biologically active form, but they need to be phased into your skincare routine to avoid irritation, and available on prescription only. When used properly, the benefits are significant however.
We busted some of the most common Retinol/Retinoid myths for the folks at Beautyheaven.
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