Vitmain A is a dominant vitamin of the skin because it has fundamental role in control of normal activities of the skin cells. Vitamin A is of great importance in controlling normal activities of the DNA of the nucleus of the cell as well as mitochondria (powerhouse of the cell).
Vitamin A is normally found in the skin predominantly as retinyl palmitate, which is an ester form of vitamin A (fat-soluble). Ester is the most stable form of vitamin A. Retinyl palmitate accounts for about 80% of the vitamin A found in the skin. Retinyl palmitate and retinyl acetate are milder, though still active forms of vitamin A that are easier to tolerate by the skin. They are actually the forms in which vitamin A is stored in the liver. Retinyl acetate is more active than retinyl palmitate and about as active as retinic acid (Retin A).
Retinol is a very active, alcohol form of vitamin A that is also the form used for transport of vitamin A in the blood. It is less irritant than retinoic acid. The main difficulty with retinol is its formulation. It is difficult to make a cream with retinol and keep it active. Generally Retinol has a limited shelf life.
Retinoic acid (Retin A) is the most metabolically active form of vitamin A. Since it’s an acid form, first time users may develop retinoic reaction in the form of peeling, flackiness and some breakouts. Most people don’t like this kind of reaction thus if you are vitamin A first time user, start slow, choose vitamin A in the form of Retinyl Palmitate and build up your tolerance to the higher concentration or different form.
Retinoids are all very active chemicals, easily degraded by exposure to light, heat, air and moisture. Therefore, when used in cosmeceuticals, they must be made under very controlled circumstances. Afterwards the preparations must be carefully protected in their original containers. For this reason viamin A creams must not be put into conventional cosmetic glass jars with wide lids; the vitamin A on the surface of the cream will be denatured by exposure to air and light and the skin wll not actually obtain the dose of vitamin A that is intened.
Vitamin A as well as vitamin C is essential in the production of healthy collagen and elastin. These are protein fibers that give adhesion and elasticity to the skin. Collagen and elastin is damaged by free radicals and exposure to UV light. As a result skin starts to lose it’s tone and structure, and with time will begin to sag. Fine lines and wrinkles are an indication of the loss of collagen and elastin protein fibres or a break-down of those fibers by sunlight . Sun damage is the major cause of the skin age, as the matter of fact 80% of ageing is caused by the sun. I always tell my clients to compare their face and hands to the area of the body that is never exposed to the sun to see the difference in the skin structure, appearance, tone and elasticity – as we age the difference becomes significant. Topical vitamins (vitamin A and C) as well as anti-oxidants (vitamin E, green tea, beta-carotene etc) are absolutely essential in neutralizing free-radical damage, protecting the skin from harmful UVA and UVB light, polution and stimulating healthy collagen and elastin production.
The real significance of vitamin A in ageing was realised by research workers in the 1930′s. They discovered that vitamin A was very easily degraded by exposure to light and air and postulated that because old skin was generally sun-exposed skin, the cause of aged skin could be as a result of a deficiency of vitamin A caused by the light sensitive nature of the molecule. In 1950′s Professor Cluver proved that everey time we go out into sunlight, we significantly deplete our vitamin A levels not only in the skin but also in the blood. This is true not only for blistering hot sunligh, but also for the gentle UV-A irradiation (light) on a cloudy or even rainy day, though, of course, the effects are milder. Vitamin C, E and beta-carotene, also normally found in the skin, are also destroyed by sunlight. Some people think that you can get all the vitamin A you need from diet alone. However, the truth is that by diet alone it could take seven days to replace the vitamin A lost in the body after one heavy exposure to the sun and only very small percentage of the vitamin reaches the surface of the skin, whereas with the Environ AVST range, vitamin A is replaced in the skin within 3 hours.
Vitamin A produces the following changes:
- it revitalizes the skin and rejuvenates the DNA of the cells
- it affects the genes of the cells so that the keratinocytes (predominant skin cells) grow and look more normal; it is a regulator or normaliser of the DNA. It increases the growth of the basal layer (growth layer) of the skin cells, which may be the predominant reason or the thickenig of the skin
- not only does skin get thicker; it also heals faster because the cells are growing faster – speeds up cell turn-over
- it affects the fibroblast cells, the most important cells in the dermis which are responsible for production of collagen and elastin
- it increases the secretion of natural moisturizing factors by the fibroblast cells into the space between the cells, allowing the skin to retain more water with some puffing out of the wrinkles
- the blood supply to the deeper layers of the skin is improved which means that more natural foods and oxygen are delivered to the skin and cells
- it regulates oil production hence is very effective in treating acne or acne-prone skin
- repairs UV damage
All above mentioned factors impove the appearance, structure and tone of the skin as well as help to reduce fine lines, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation.
Vitamin A is measured in international units (i.u.) per gram. The recommended effective doses is between 500 i.u. and 50 000 i.u. Anything less than 500 i.u. is generally of absolutely no value unless used with some penetrant enhancers. Consult with your licensed esthetician or dermatologist what would be the best form and level of vitamin A for your skin. Unique Verve uses in the facials and offers to it’s clients Environ products which always contain clinically proven levels of vitamin A and other active ingredients.