Dermatologists started to use vitamin A to treat various skin conditions as far back as the 1960s and it was in the 1980s that scientists found that a form of vitamin A called retinol stimulated collagen production to repair damaged skin, whether that was from the ageing process, environmental damage or as a result of acne.
It works by basically telling your skin cells to up their game and start behaving like a younger, healthier cell. By correcting the function of your skin cells there are a number of benefits:
- it stimulates collagen and elastin production which reduces wrinkles
- can increase blood flow
- reduces the symptoms of rosacea and appearance of brown spots or pigmentation
- exfoliates the skin to make it smoother
- optimises the skin’s natural defences to UV radiation
- also functions as a powerful anti-oxidant and is proven to halt and reverse the actions of free radicals
- as well as its many anti-ageing benefits, vitamin A is also clinically proven to improve acne.
3 top vitamin A skincare products
Retinol has now become a leading ingredient in many skincare formulations but which products should you be looking out for? There are two important considerations when choosing retinol-based products. Firstly, retinol in concentrated form can be highly irritating to the skin and the ‘delivery system’ that is employed is important to minimise side effects such as redness and inflammation. Also, Vitamin A is highly unstable, rapidly breaking down if exposed to air or light, so the product packaging is important.
Prices of retinol-containing skincare products can vary widely but it’s not always the case that the most expensive products deliver the best results. Here we give you three options whatever your beauty budget:
On a budget
Retinol Correxion Sensitive Eye Cream; approximately £20-£23 from various online sites
This eye cream is marketed at sensitive skin because it contains only a very small amount of retinol. Although using a product with a very low concentration of retinol will avoid some of the side effects it will also mean sacrificing some of the benefits.
Great results for a great price
CosMedix Serum 16; £86.19 CosMedix Serum 16. This skincare hero product contains 16% LG-Retinex – a combination of retinol and another form of vitamin A called retinaldehyde, this serum is able to deliver prescription strength results without having to see a doctor. A study of users found that 88% reported firmer skin within two weeks, 75% noticed wrinkles were less visible in four weeks and almost all users reported brighter-looking skin over time.
Youth Corridor by Dr Gerald Imber RetinUltimate Transforming Gel, £320, exclusively available in UK in Harrods
This product contains a specially patented form of retinol called Retextra which claims to be gentle and non-irritating yet can noticeable reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Although, at that price it should really be a time machine in a jar.