While Vitamin C seems to be everyone’s go-to for miracle skincare ingredients, I am, and have long been, a champion of Vitamin A. If you’ve seen me for a treatment, worked with me on skincare goals or even simply had a consult with me you know I will recommend this as part of your skincare regimen. Why? Vitamin A (also known by its various derivatives such as retinol, retinal, retinaldehyde, Retin A, etc) is truly a "miracle" skincare ingredient, lauded for its ability to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, smooth skin texture, and even out skin tone. That’s all fine and good but HOW and what’s the science behind it? Well, I’m here to tell you, so let’s nerd out for a bit!
Vitamin A is naturally found in the body. It’s an antioxidant that helps to neutralize free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can damage the skin. (Ew!) When applied topically, Vitamin A works by penetrating the skin and binding to certain receptors in the skin cells. It then converts to Retinoic Acid and signals the skin cells to increase their production of collagen and elastin, two proteins that are essential for healthy skin. Now we’re talking!
Collagen is the main structural protein in the skin and provides support and elasticity, while elastin is responsible for the skin's ability to "snap back" into place after being stretched or pulled. As we age, our skin's natural production of collagen and elastin slows down, which in turn can lead to the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin.
Enter Vitamin A! Vitamin A helps to stimulate the production of these proteins, resulting in firmer, smoother, and more youthful-looking skin. In addition to increasing collagen and elastin production, Vitamin A also has exfoliating properties. It works by speeding up the natural process of skin cell turnover, which is the shedding of dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. This process helps to unclog pores, reduce the appearance of pores, balance oil production, brighten, and improve skin texture and tone. Now, who wouldn’t want that?
While Vitamin A can be incredibly effective at improving the appearance of the skin, with great power comes great responsibility. It’s important to use it safely to avoid irritation and other side effects. Here are some tips for using Vitamin A:
Start Slowly: If you’ve never used Vitamin A before, start by using a low concentration and gradually increase the concentration over time. This will help your skin adjust to Vitamin A and minimize the risk of irritation.
Use at Night for sure, possibly in the morning too: At night your skin “rests and repairs” so you for sure want to use Vitamin A in your evening regimen. But…there are exceptions to this and some formulations I carry are to be used both morning and night. (With proper SPF, of course)
SPF is imperative: Vitamin A as it can increase your skin’s sensitivity in the sun so wearing it is non-negotiable. (but really, it goes without saying but one should wear SPF of at least 15 EVERY DAY)
Be mindful of other ingredients: Vitamin A doesn’t always like to play well with others. Alpha Hydroxy Acids (glycolic, lactic, mandelic and citric acids) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (salicylic acid), while also great ingredients can increase irritation when using Vitamin A. So, start low and slow when introducing them or use at different times of the day.
Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize: Vitamin A can be drying to the skin, so it is important to use a moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated.
Our main skincare line, Environ, uses only the highest-grade pharmaceutical Vitamin A, tested for safety and efficacy by international, independent laboratories. They have three different formulations of Vitamin A products so there is something for every skin type and condition, with each one allowing you to slowly step-up the process.
One formulation is their Concentrated Vitamin A Serum 1, 2, and 3. Perfect for those who have worked their way through the Youth Essentia C-Quence series or those using a prescription strength retinol, these are a blend of retinol and their soothing colostrum serum that allow for maximum results with no irritating side effects.
L. Moore Aesthetics is proud to carry Environ products and can help you find the perfect combination for your skin goals!