Vitamin A is one of the most important nutrients that our skin needs in order to be healthy.
It is used in serums, creams, gels, and lotions, and provides a large array of skin benefits. It is an all-star skincare ingredient that evens out the skin tone, reduces the appearance of fine
lines and wrinkles, minimises the look of enlarged pores, and leaves the skin looking radiant and firm. Vitamin A has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and that means it is useful as an acne and rosacea treatment. It decreases sebum production, repairs the structure of the epidermis, and improves hydration.
Vitamin A Derivatives
Retinoids are a large group of compounds, derived from vitamin A and when absorbed into the skin, they convert to retinoic acid which is the active ingredient that increases cell turnover and promotes collagen and elastin production. It makes the skin look more firm and youthful, and stimulates blood vessels. Studies show that vitamin A counteracts the effects of UV damage by fading sun spots, age spots, and hyperpigmentation. Vitamin A is the source of all retinoids but the forms and strengths vary.
- Retinal (known as retinaldehyde) is probably the most potent over-the-counter formof vitamin A that provides fast results because it converts to retinoic acid in just one step. It causes much less irritation than prescription forms and is well-tolerated by people with sensitive skin.
- Retinol is another powerful over-the-counter form of vitamin A that takes a bit longer to convert to active vitamin A but shows results similar to retinal. It enhances skin radiance, smoothes, and refines the texture and combats the signs of ageing.
- Retinyl palmitate is often synthetically sourced and converts through enzymes in theskin. It provides a lower concentration of vitamin A and is often suggested to people with very sensitive skin.
- Retinoic acid (also known as tretinoin or Retin-A) is the strongest form of vitamin A and can be used only with a prescription. It’s highly effective but causes a lot of redness and irritation, especially at the beginning and needs to be used only under guidance.
- Hydroxypinacolone retinoate (HPR) is a retinoic acid ester and the newest member of the retinoid family. It carries powerful properties, just like retinoic acid, but it’s a lot more gentle on the skin. The molecule shows better stability compared to other vitamin A derivatives and requires just one metabolic step to convert to retinoic acid.
A natural alternative to retinol is bakuchiol, a plant-derived skincare ingredient that has roots in traditional Chinese medicine. It is known as a powerful antioxidant that has soothing properties. Studies show that topical application of bakuchiol provides skin benefits for all skin types. It reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, stimulates collagen production and improves skin’s elasticity for a healthy and youthful appearance. It is considered less irritating and therefore, suitable for even very sensitive skin.
Vitamin A and Other Skincare Ingredients
Vitamin A can be combined with other anti-ageing ingredients, such as antioxidants for even better results. It works well with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, niacinamide, and peptides, as well.
Vitamin A is essential for maintaining optimal skin health. It is a low-dose active ingredient which means that just a very small amount of it is needed, so it’s crucial to start with a lower dose and build up tolerance slowly. It is suggested to apply products containing vitamin A in the evening and follow with a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher the next day, as vitamin A can increase skin sensitivity.