Q & (Vitamin) A
Updated: Jan 10
If you are subscribed to our new Beauty newsletter ( you can sign up easily at the bottom of the webpage) you will have had a little introduction to the benefits of Vitamin A or Retinol as it is sometimes labelled in the beauty industry. Here's the full story....
Maybe the easiest way to start is to answer the most common questions we get asked in salon. I'll try to keep it simple and introduce you to a few of the products we recommend at Beauty to fulfil the promises of Retinol along the way.
As a salon we recommend Medik8 for all our Retinol products. They are a Cosmeceutical brand which employ clinical testing to ensure that their products are safe and highly effective.
Let me cover one area of Vitamin A before we carry on. As therapists we do not deal with Roaccutane or Tretinoin. Both of these are above the levels of Vitamin A that can be monitored safely outside of your GP and are usually only prescribed for serious skin complaints eg. Acne or Scar tissue.
Why should I add Vitamin A to my skincare ?
The list of benefits of Vitamin A is long and distinguished but there is one that makes it stand out as a gold standard for many skin types. Vitamin A is able to stimulate cellular turnover in the skin, pushing fresh skin cells to the surface for a smoother, youthful-looking complexion.
It can turn back time and make your skin act as if it is years younger.
Add to this the ability to unclog pores and prevent blemishes, block the formation of pigmentation and enhance the production of collagen. Brighter, clearer and more youthful skin.
Can I use Vitamin A ?
99.9% yes ! Unless you are allergic to Vitamin A. There are so many different products and ways to introduce Vitamin A into your skincare that even the most sensitive and reactive of skins will be able to benefit from the power of Retinol. Medik8 Crystal Retinal 1 is the most gentle introduction to Vitamin A and is perfect for a sensitive skin or if you are nervous about making a start.
Lets look at the science very quickly...
3. 2. 1. 0.
Not all Retinol is created equally and it is possible to take away some of the most common Vitamin A issues ( we'll cover further on). If you can imagine this image stood vertically.
Retinol  has to travel the furthest and change the most to acheive cell regeneration.
Retinaldehyde  has one stop less to make and one less change.
Retinoic Acid  has the shortest journey and the least change.
The less distance to travel and the least change to make, the less irritating Vitamin A is to your skin.
How do I use Vitamin A ?
Regardless of whether you are a dedicated skincare user or a beginner it is always recommended to add Vitamin A into your regime slowly. Most Vitamin A products are designed to be used at night only, I'll make one exception later !
Slow and steady is the best way to start to allow your skin to become accustomed to what is being asked of it.
Someone told me that my skin would drop off if I used Retinol, Im scared of it !
You can expect a little dryness and flaking, maybe a little redness but that will only be at the beginning of your Retinol journey. Remember, Retinol causes cellular regeneration. The cells are pushed up to the surface to be shed at a quicker rate than usual so your skin will take a little time to catch up. If you follow the rules of Retinol carefully, these common reactions will be slight and short term. The problems only arise when you try to speed up the process. Either adding the Retinol too quickly or in too powerful a level. If you find the dryness too much or your skin is feeling a little irritated just take it down a step. Go back to every other night or stay at a level that suits your skin for now.
What other proudcts should I use with my Vitamin A?
SPF is non negotiable, those beautiful, pillowy and perfectly clean new skin cells that arrive at the surface need as much protection as you can give them. At least an SPF30 every day that you use Vitamin A, they make a perfect pair.
Providing 360 degree protection against all aspects of the environment, Advanced Day Total Protect is the ultimate SPF 30 moisturiser for youthful-looking skin. Medik8’s carefully chosen complex of sunscreen filters are proven to be long-lasting, extremely safe and the best shields against premature ageing caused by the sun.
How often can I increase the strength of my Retinol ?
We always want to leave ourselves somewhere to go so don't rush through that Retinol journey. Let's use some examples,
You are 35 and you are beginning to notice signs of ageing. Start at the beginning and stay on the lower levels for as long as you can. Medik8 Intelligent Retinol 3 or 6 or Crystal Retinal 1, 3, 6 is plenty to treat the early signs of ageing and most levels of pigmentation.
You are 55 and you've been looking after your skin religiously for a number of years. Move through the very early stages as comfortably as possible and make your way to Intelligent Retinol 6 and 10, Crystal Retinal 6 and 10 or ( drum roll please)
The research team at Medik8 have created something very, very beautiful...
8 years of research and development has turned everything I've just told you, upside down.
Retinyl Retinoate– 8 times more powerful than retinol and stable both day and night, this non-irritating vitamin A helps to stimulate collagen synthesis and supports the regeneration of skin cells.
Yes, you still need to add it into your routine slowly and with care but the technology of this product means that it can be used on even the most sensitive of skin and is stable enough to be used during the day !
Medik8 and Vitamin A are truly a match made in heaven. Every level of every formulation has been developed and researched to a clinical standard and the products available to support your Retinol journey are every bit as impressive.
Medik8 consultations are free of charge in salon along with advice on professional treatment and we are available on our website and on Social media if you have any questions.
See you soon, Beauty x