Dermatologist Dr Albert Kligman discovered Retinoid (vitamin A) as an effective anti-ageing treatment in the 1960s when he was using it to cure acne. He noticed that his patients were experiencing noticeable improvements in other conditions such as wrinkles, blotchy pigmentation and uneven skin tone. Vitamin A remains one of the most effective treatments for premature ageing of the skin.
Which type of Vitamin A should I use?
A prescription of retinoic acid, obtained from your GP or cosmetic doctor, is a fast, inexpensive and effective way of reducing wrinkles, pigmentation and poor skin tone. However, it can be very irritating to the skin and can cause redness, irritation and peeling. Prescription retinoid acid needs to be balanced by other antioxidants like vitamins C, E and B3 but with time and adjustments to the dose the irritating side effects usually settle down.
Retinol is a pure form of vitamin A in many skincare products. You need to look for concentration of at least one per cent in a serum or cream for optimum results.
Retinyl Palmitate is a combination of retinol and palmitic acid, which is a gentler way of putting vitamin A on your skin and best for overall skin health. Use a product with retinyl palmitate combined with a nightly retinol serum for long-term and dramatic results.
This is a potent form of vitamin A, close to retinoid acid but requiring minimal conversion so it causes very little, if any, irritation. Because it’s expensive, it’s not widely used in skincare preparations. Look for formulations packaged in airtight containers with minimal exposure to light and air, to preserve the potency of the formula and don’t be fooled into over-using it as a pea-sized amount used regularly is more than enough to yield long-term results.