Monday 22 April 2024

Retinol and the Vitamin A Pathway

What are Retinoids?
Retinoids is a blanket term for a class of Vitamin A which is commonly used in skincare. Retinoic acid is the ingredient with the most scientific evidence for anti-aging benefits. By increasing collagen production, this ingredient helps thicken the dermis (the middle layer of skin) and therefore smooths out wrinkles. 

When to use
You can use these products day or night but be aware of protecting your skin if using in sunlight. As well as thickening the dermis, retinoic acid thins our outer layer of skin by roughly 1/3 which means our natural sun protection is a little less which is why, when using Retinoids by day it is very important to use a good suncream - which you should be doing all the time anyway. Retinoids applied at night help normalise the skin structure by increasing cellular mitosis which in turn stimulates collagen production. 

As well as boosting collagen production and reducing the appearance of aging, Retinoic acid is an effective skin communicating ingredient. This means that it instructs cells how to behave and can boost skin health and appearance at any age. Although it is thought of as an ingredient to use to prevent signs of aging, you can start using this from your mid-20s when your cell turnover starts to slow. 

Retinoids have a number of additional benefits alongside their anti-aging properties. For instance they are great for reducing hyperpigmentation as they inhibit melatonin production. 

Retinyl palmitate is included in many suncreams which allows manufacturers to claim that they are anti-aging. However this compound is the least effective retinoid, and is often used in such small amounts that it cannot have any affect. Some studies even show it has been associated with skin cancer.

Retinol or Retinal?
Vitamin A travels through several stages known as the 'Vitamin A Pathway'. (See graphic.) Retinoic acid is 'active' on the skin and all retinoid products must convert to retinoic acid to be effective. Retinol converts to retinal which in turn converts to retinoic acid. 

  • Retinol is the most commonly found form of Vitamin A, the most stable and therefore the most easy to manufacture. It is the first stage in the Vitamin A pathway so it needs two conversions to become retinoic acid. 
  • Retinal is much less stable so it is harder to find. It is the next step along the pathway so only needs to make one conversion to retinoic acid meaning it is often gentler on sensitive skins
  • Retinoic acid in its converted form is only available via prescription and is often known by tretinoin or a brand name such as Retin-A. 

Using some form of retanoid in your skincare is an excellent way to troubleshoot a whole host of problems and achieve the skin you want. I've listed some of my favourites below 

Retinol - The Ordinary Retinol - usually I don't like this brand very much but I've heard great things about their retinol 

Retinal - Tropic Youth Potion (search Youth Potion) - this is new and, having used tretinoin for years I didn't expect this to make any visible difference but I saw it almost immediately. Skin texture was improved, my skin was glowing and I think I can see a big improvement in my dark cirles. 

Retinoic Acid (Tretanoin) - Skin + Me - I have used this for nearly 2 years and I really love it. Fill out the online consultation and get your own prescription. 

Retinoids and the vitamin a pathway


No comments

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
© London Make-up Blog. All rights reserved.