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Vitamin A is one of the skins most important vitamins. It is essential for wound healing, circulation, cell turn over, UV protection, decreasing over active oil production and a powerful anti-oxidant. So knowing it has these fabulous actions we can now see why therapists use it in clinic as well as recommend to clients for the treatments of rosacea, melasma, pigmentation, acne and healthy ageing (I don’t like the ‘anti ageing’ tag!)

The problem is Vitamin A comes in different variations, so what are the best ones to use?

90% of skin care companies use either retinols or retinol esthers (Esthers being – retinol palmatate or retinol acetate) These two ingredients have a minimal impact on the epidermis with a  2% penetration level. They are toxic ingredients that cause inflammation in the epidermis therefore plumping lines and wrinkles, and there is no scientific proof that states these two ingredients stimulate collagen in the dermis. Retinol esthers are largest in volume in the skin and they stay in their role of protecting from UV exposure – they do not convert to any other form of Vitamin A.

Retinols are NOT anti ageing BUT retinoic acid and retinaldahyde are. Our own retinoic acid is dormant within us and is only used when we need it – to apply it topically is a definite NO!NO! – over time it thins the papillary layer leaving the skin extremely vulnerable and causing possible allergies, inflammation and health complications but retinoic acid is what is needed for DNA repair, so if we can’t apply it topically how can it be activated to do it’s job? Retinadaldahyde is part of the answer.

A stable form of retinaldahyde that is chiral and encapsulated for excellent delivery into the epidermal/dermal juntion (EDJ) is what is needed. Retinaldahyde, which is applied topically with ‘liposome’ delivery (this means the molecule is encapsulated and absorbed into the EDJ), will then convert to retinoic acid treating the skin from within.

Delivery of great ingredients is just as important as the ingredients themselves. What is the point of having them if they cannot do their job effectively? It’s like leaving your Louis Vuitton luggage at the bus stop when you need it to be on a plane!

The next thing to consider is the percentages of the ingredients. I use Cosmedix and Osmosis in clinic and recommend them for home care (both ranges use chiral retinaldahyde but Osmosis has the liposome delivery). Osmosis also have a 0.05% in the two stages of their Vitamin A serums and one 0.1% so they are also safe to use all the time (always use a SPF!).

I hope this has shed some light on the topic. Vitamin A is an essential part of a healthy skin care regimen. Always look at the ingredient deck on your products to see what variation of Vitamin A is being used AND the delivery technology. (liposome, exosome or vectorise). Always introduce a Vitamin A product slowly, starting every other evening then introduce more, best to use at night as this is when the body goes into the rest and repair state so great for cellular turnover.

Any product that dehydrates, burns, inflames and peels the skin is not advised… you do not need to inflame or cause damage to the skin to get a positive result, in fact you are causing more damage doing so.


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