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Vitamin A in Skincare: What you need to know

There is a lot of misinformation about vitamin A aka retinoid, Retin-A, retinol, pro-retinol or retinoic acid, so lets clarify what retinoids are. Are they scary to use, if they are all the same and how to use them.

How it works

By increasing collagen production and cellular turnover, retinoids break down old cells (resulting in less build-up of dead skin cells which can result in blockages, spots and a dull uneven complexion) and promotes the production of new healthier skin cells. Topical Vitamin A in the form of Retin-A started out as an acne treatment over 30 years ago and is still used as such.

It may take 8-12 weeks to start seeing the benefits of using retinoids, so don’t expect miraculous overnight results. You need to persevere, over time retinoids will give you clearer healthier skin. The increase in cellular renewal means the skin is repaired and renewed resulting in fewer fine lines and wrinkles. As collagen is stimulated, pigmentation lessens because melanin is inhibited. As the old pigmentation peels away, the skin looks brighter, healthier and plumper.

Use of Pro-Retinols

If you have hyper-sensitive skin start by using every 2-3 nights to see how your skin reacts and then gradually build up to every night. These could be a good starting option for the eye area before moving onto a retinol.

How To Use Retinols

If you have hyper-sensitive skin start by using every 2-3 nights to see how your skin reacts and then gradually build up to every night. These could be a good starting option for the eye area before moving onto a retinol.

How To Use Retin-A

If you have hyper-sensitive skin start by using every 2-3 nights to see how your skin reacts and then gradually build up to every night. These could be a good starting option for the eye area before moving onto a retinol.

Benefits of Retinol

for your skin

It may take 8-12 weeks to start seeing the benefits of using retinoids, so don’t expect miraculous overnight results. You need to persevere, over time retinoids will give you clearer healthier skin and reduce the likelihood of scarring.

Increased cellular

turnover

Collagen

stimulation

Improve

skin tone

Prevent

breakaouts

RECOMMENDED RETINOLS

PCA Skin retinol range

Neostratas retinol and NAG complex

Medik8s range of retinols

Frequently Asked Questions

Use of Pro-Retinols

If you have hyper-sensitive skin start by using every 2-3 nights to see how your skin reacts and then gradually build up to every night. These could be a good starting option for the eye area before moving onto a retinol.

How To Use Retinols

If you have hyper-sensitive skin start by using every 2-3 nights to see how your skin reacts and then gradually build up to every night. These could be a good starting option for the eye area before moving onto a retinol.

How To Use Retin-A

If you have hyper-sensitive skin start by using every 2-3 nights to see how your skin reacts and then gradually build up to every night. These could be a good starting option for the eye area before moving onto a retinol.

Clinical results

98%

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98%

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98%

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Long-lasting

radiant

skin

Further reading

Skin of

Colour

Written by
Debbie Thomas

We approach everyone’s skin individually, creating bespoke treatment programmes tailored to you and your skin needs.

Skincare for Men

Acne is categorised as chronic inflammation of the sebaceous glands.

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Skin of Colour

Acne is categorised as chronic inflammation of the sebaceous glands.

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Combination Skin

Acne is categorised as chronic inflammation of the sebaceous glands.

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How to use vitamin C

As vitamin C plays a leading defensive role against the environment, I find that it fits best within a great daytime routine. Vitamin C is active on the skin for 24 hours so a once-daily application is sufficient. It is perfectly safe to use whilst trying to conceive, during pregnancy and throughout breastfeeding. For l-ascorbic acid to be efficacious in the skin it must be formulated at a pH of 3.5 which is quite acidic and could potentially be irritating. If you have very sensitive or reactive skin, make sure to patch test first to see how your skin gets on with it.

It’s wise to purchase a well-packaged and well-formulated product to ensure a good shelf-life for your product. Store in a cool and fairly dark place as sunlight can lead to oxidation, which you’ll notice if the colour changes to a dark orangey-brown. Air-tight pumps are the best packaging but if using a serum with a dropper, make sure the lid is tightly secured after each use.

Tips to reduce the likelyhood
of acne hyperpigmentation

Hands off

 

Daily sun protection is an essential requirement when treating post-inflammatory pigmentation as any dark marks will darken further when exposed to UVA and UVB rays. In fact, sunscreen alone helps improve the appearance of PIH. And of course, its likely you’ll be using retinoids as part of your acne strategy so sunscreen is non-negotiable.
The key is to find an SPF that you’re happy using every single day – one that suits your skin type, doesn’t leave a cast behind and doesnt clog your pores. Opt for our Flawless Daily Sunscreen SPF50 which is non-comedogenic and contains niacinamide which actually helps calm breakouts, so no need to worry that your sunscreen is making your acne worse.

Wear your sunscreen

 

One of the biggest causes of significant post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is scratching, picking, squeezing – basically, ANY self-intervention with your spots! An increase in trauma-induced inflammation will lead to more dark marks so it’s crucial to keep fingers away from blemishes, no matter how tempting!

Treating Active Inflammation first

When tackling post-inflammatory pigmentation, its important to understand that it isnt truly post as there is ongoing inflammation happening even when the blemish has flattened completely. This means you need to keep treatment going to prevent worsening pigmentation. Tackle active inflammation with a retinoid at night and an anti-inflammatory, such as salicylic acid in the day.