Vitamin A (Retinoids)
Retinoid is the collective name given to the different forms of Vitamin A. The two best known forms of retinoids are Tretinoin (Vitamin A Acid) and Retinol.
The retinoids Tretinoin and Retinol
The fact that Vitamin A Acid can rejuvenate older skin was accidently discovered in the 80’s when the Dermatologist Kligman was researching the effect of this substance on acne. People who were experimented on had not only recovered from the acne, but their skin also looked more youthful. Since this there has been much research carried out on the effects of Vitamin A Acid. Vitamin A Acid is in fact the only ingredient which without a doubt can rejuvenate your skin. Before everyone makes a charge for the beauty counter; Vitamin A Acid products are only available on prescription.
Skincare products containing retinol are available over the counter. This is commonly used in anti-wrinkle creams but is however not as effective as Tretinoin (Vitamin A Acid). Retinol is very unstable (reacts with light and oxygen) and a consequence is that it can have an irritating effect. Many commercial businesses choose to add small amounts of it to products so as not to cause complaints about irritations. This has minimal or no effect. Other forms of Vitamin A are less effective than Retinol and definitely not as effective as Tretinoin.
Tretinoin (Vitamin A Acid) on prescription
In the USA people go to the Dermatologist for the same reason that people here visit a beauty salon. The use of Vitamin A Acid is more commonplace there. Vitamin A Acid needs to be prescribed by a doctor because it makes a real impact on the skin’s structure. Because of this it is treated as a medicine. It is most important that the guidelines are followed when first beginning its use as it can definitely have an irritating effect. And that won’t make your skin beautiful!
Less wrinkles (through cell renewal and collagen production)
The skin’s structure improves with the use of Vitamin A Acid; wrinkles, as a result of sun damage, reduce in depth and numbers (see the example; be aware that this is in an ideal situation!). This is made possible because retinoids stimulate a healthy cell division and production of collagen and elastin. This is because MMP’s (enzymes which breakdown collagen and elastin) are inhibited. It is also very likely that Vitamin A Acid lengthens the life of fibroblasts. As if that’s not enough, unsightly pigment spots can also become less visible.
If you use Tretinoin for a longer period your skin becomes more smooth and even in appearance. The improved production of collagen makes the structure of the skin stronger. Caution should, however, be exercised when using Tretinoin. The next time I will go into the ‘rules’ for its use. If you want to read more about the effects of Tretinoin on a photoaged skin, here is an article from Dr. Kligman.
Regards and have a good weekend, Jetske.
(Dr. Jetske Ultee-Research Physician Cosmetic Dermatology)
You can also read: ‘The Use of Vitamin A Acid‘,
‘Such Dry Skin‘,
‘Anti-Oxidants in a Cream’,
‘Skin Ageing Due to Rejuvenating Products‘,
‘The Effects of Stress on Your Skin’ and
‘Ageing Skin Due to Pigmentation’.