Everyone who has ever read anything about good skin care, especially in the anti-aging arena, has read about the benefits of vitamin A. However, you may not have read what those benefits actually are and the differences in the vitamin A products that are on the market. I have created a quick read about what you need to know when purchasing a Vitamin A product.
Retinoids are the category of Vitamin A compounds that are skin healthy.
These products provide several great benefits:
- The prevention and reduction of acne
- Increased cell turnover which helps with the exfoliation of dead skin cells.
- Enhanced growth of epithelial cells to help maintain the integrity of the skin.
These benefits are extremely important for healthy skin, but beware! All vitamin A products are NOT the same.
There are actually 3 subcategories of retinoids:
- retinoic acid
1. Retinoic acid is the strongest subcategory of the retinoids. The most commonly used retinoic acid is tretinoin, or tret as we say in the business. The trade name or household word for tret is Retin A®. The skin can only accept Vitamin A in the acid form. So there is immediate absorption with no conversion necessary for tret. This makes it the strongest, by far, of all the retinoids, as well as the most aggressive, and therefore prescriptive only. Results are generally seen after using tret in 4-6 weeks. There are some side effects due to the strength. Be prepared to see:
- skin irritation
- sensitivity to sun
2. Retinols are a much milder retinoid and are the alcohol based version of Vitamin A. Retinols must be converted to retinoic acid upon entry to the dermis. Retinols can yield very good results, but may take longer. It is very important to use a reputable retinol to ensure its proper delivery into the skin and conversion to retinoic acid, necessary for it to be effective.
3. Retinyls are the last category of retinoids made from the fat of Vitamin A. These are the gentlest form of Vitamin A, causing little to no irritation of the skin and they demand less restriction to sun exposure. Retinyls are readily available over-the-counter, on the internet and through multi-level marketing products
Retinoids were originally introduced in the marketplace to treat acne. Now, however, Retinoids are used for anti-aging, psoriasis, sun spots and fine lines. These products have the ability to slow the clock of time down as much as any non-surgical treatment available. You can begin using these products at any age after puberty, but you should at least start using them by the age of 35. Remember- Tretinoin cannot be used during pregnancy or lactation. Due to their effectiveness and availability, retinoids are here to stay and should remain a staple to keep in your anti-aging cupboard!