Vitamin A In Skin Care - Benefits of Retinol and Retinyl Palmitate

vitamin A Retinol for acne

VITAMIN A for Anti-Ageing & Acne

Retinol is vitamin A and has been used extensively in skin care since the 1980s. Originally invented and used for the treatment of acne, vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Vitamin A helps to reduce inflammation in the skin and boost rejuvenation making it a potent cosmetic key ingredient in the fight against acne. In more recent time, vitamin A has been most popular in the treatment of sun damage and premature aging. Vitamin A has the ability to boost cell turnover and protects cell DNA from damage. It has been known to actually repair UV damaged cells and reverse the signs of aging. 

Vitamin A comes in different forms and strengths. Stronger is not necessarily better. You know the saying: "Too much of a good thing..." Too much vitamin A in the skin can cause the skin irritation, rashes, breakouts, stinging, itching, burning and skin peeling. Long-term irritation in the skin can lead to tissue inflammation, free radical damage, collagen breakdown, accelerated aging and skin damage resulting in a sensitized skin. So in the case of vitamin A, for long-term skin health benefits, less is more. 

To use vitamin A products correctly, the answer lies in using the correct form of vitamin A for your skin and easing slowly into the dosage and frequency of use. 

Retinyl Palmitate

Retinyl Palmitate is an ester form of vitamin A and is naturally found in your skin. It is a popular cosmetic ingredient in anti-ageing creams because it is better accepted by the skin, more stable when exposed to UV and is less irritating than Retinol. Used in anti-aging creams it can be used daily with no potential side effects yet it is an excellent antioxidant. For people who are retinol intolerant, this is a good substitute. 


anti-aging retinol
Retinol is a stronger form of vitamin A and can produce more dramatic results faster in aging skin as well as acne. The stronger the concentration, however, the more side effects it can produce. When using retinol based serums it's best to use it at night as retinol breaks down quickly when exposed to UV. Start with a low dose and introduce to your skin slowly. Use 1-2 times per week initially, then gradually increase the usage to a nightly use. If at any point you experience inflammation, breakouts, itching burning or stinging, then go back to a frequency where your skin tolerated it well. Always start with a lower dose, gradually increase your skin tolerance before using a higher dose. A low dose would equal less than 0.5% and the highest dose available in skin care without a prescription is 1%. Not many skins can, however, tolerate 1% long-term. So always begin and complete your course of retinol therapy with a lower dose. 

Who should not use Retinol 

skin irritation
Retinol based skin care should not be used while pregnant or trying to become pregnant (just as a precaution). Do not use if your skin is very dry or sensitive, and 7 days before waxing (because it may cause the skin to peel). Retinol needs to be discontinued at least 3 days prior to any intense cosmetic treatments such as microdermabrasion, laser, IPL, skin needling, AHA/BHA or strong enzyme peels. Always use your retinol products at night and use a good broad-spectrum sunscreen every day as retinol will thin the skin and make it more photosensitive. 

Retinol is an excellent tool in the fight against acne and aging. It is an excellent antioxidant and helps to increase cell communication to normalize skin function. When used correctly it can provide excellent results but it should be treated with respect to preventing long-term skin damage. Always seek the advice of a professional beauty therapist before using vitamin A products. 

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