When it comes to skincare and anti-aging, there is one ingredient that you are almost always guaranteed to see; Vitamin A. Also known as Retinol, Vitamin A is found in abundance in our daily diet. It is essential for the health of our eyes and skin and I’m going to explain all about how it works and how to incorporate into your skincare routine.
How does Vitamin A work?
Originally pioneered to help fight the signs on acne, dermatologists and scientists witnessed the impact Vitamin A had on prevention of wrinkles and aging. It has now become an incredibly popular ingredient in both those areas skincare.
Retinol and Anti-Ageing
Vitamin A plays a large role in the health of Collagen, Elastin and blood vessels, which are all responsible for the first signs of ageing.
As it stimulates the dermis, it also stimulates the blood flow towards the surface of your skin. This allows deposit of Collagen in the area, helping to thicken the skin.
Lots of signs of ageing arise as a result of the skin thinning and Collagen depletion, so Vitamin A helps to slow this down, leaving skin looking plumper and more youthful.
Retinol and Acne
Vitamin A actually reduces the production of sebum, which is often related to development of acne.
As the excess oils and sebum are reduced on your skin, it is less likely to become clogged up and therefore less likely to develop further into blemishes and acne
How else can Vitamin A help?
There are lots of different benefits to Vitamin A. It is known for its ability to:
- Support wound and skin healing. Due to its ability to normalise and encourage blood flow to skin surface, Vitamin A can help encourage healing, making it great for scarring.
- Calm sensitivity and irritability. By strengthening the skin, Vitamin A helps protect against environmental stresses and can help especially with conditions like Rosacea.
- Support moisture retention. As the cell membrane strengthens, it also helps to reduce the chances of dehydration and drying of your skin, so Vitamin A can help keep skin looking fresher and plumper.
- Reduce pigmentation and uneven skin tone. Vitamin A can help decrease the clustering of melanin in the skin, which is what causes brown spots and uneven pigmentation.
Potential Side Effects of Vitamin A
Whilst Vitamin A has a myriad of skincare benefits, it is a powerful ingredient that you should be careful with. If you want to incorporate Retinol into your skincare routine, then this is what you should look out for:
- Sun Sensitivity. As Retinol is a naturally unstable molecule, it can react with sunlight and degrade, causing sun sensitivity. As a result, it is generally recommended to use Retinol products at night, and to wear a sunscreen during the day.
- Dryness and redness. For some people, Retinol can be irritating. This is usually as a result of using the wrong strength of Retinol or applying too much. Start gently and find the right levels for your skin.
- It isn’t pregnancy safe. Pregnant women are recommended to avoid foods and products high in Retinol, so it should be avoided if you are expecting or planning a baby.
These issues are mainly based on the way the product is used and can be directly linked to the duration of use as well as strength and application of the product. To avoid issues, take care with not overloading your skin and you can always ask a pharmacist like me for advice.
Skincare with Vitamin A
There are a few forms of Vitamin A that are used in skincare and this choice depends on need of your condition.
- Tretinoin is more potent and is a prescription only ingredient used to treat severe acne
- Retinol is the main type of Vitamin A used in skincare
These are some of the best products for including it into your everyday routine: