Tag Archives: Serum

Vitamin A Derivatives That Improve Skin Texture, Tone, and Color

As is the case with many of the best discoveries, the use of vitamin A as a wrinkle control agent happened largely by accident. It all began in the laboratories of Dr. Albert Kligman in the 1960’s when the controversial dermatologist began to experiment on prisoners with a vitamin A derivative called tretinoin as an acne treatment. Imagine the delight of the incarcerated men to discover not only the disappearance of their acne, but a noticeable decrease in wrinkles and smoother skin tones!

Woman applying vitamin A on her skin

Vitamin A and its derivatives have often been referred to as the “gold standard of skin care,” a paragon of excellence against which all other skin care products can be measured. If you are thinking of incorporating some vitamin A into your routine, here are some things you may want to know.

Retinoids
Retinoids are also known as the generic term for tretinoin, retin-A, or differin, and are available only by prescription. They are absorbed directly into the skin cells which makes them highly effective against hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and acne.

The downside of this miracle cream is its likelihood to cause skin irritation. Retinoids are often associated with redness and peeling and require adjustment to the dosage to combat these side effects. The key with these products is keeping the applied amount to a minimum. A pea-sized amount should be enough for the whole face, and a larger quantity is unnecessary.

Retinol
Retinol is vitamin A in its pure form and is an over the counter alternative to harsher retinoids. While the conversion to retinoic acid will decrease the potency of the retinol, it should still be effective enough to bring noticeable results. Although retinol may trigger minor irritation, side effects should generally subside over time as the skin grows more accustomed to the treatment.

Retinyl Palmitate
This combination of retinol and palmitic acid is one of the less effective vitamin A derivatives. While it does convert to retinoic acid, the process often takes so long that by the time it is completed, the product has lost most of its ability to affect the DNA of the cell. As a result, you would need a very high concentration of retinal palmitate to have significant effect, and most cosmetic companies who use it as a source of vitamin A usually do not put enough of it in their serums and creams to make a difference.
The bottom line: If retinyl palmitate is not combined with other vitamin A derivatives, it is almost useless.

Retinaldehyde
Retinaldehyde is a potent over the counter form of vitamin A which is commonly perceived to be the closest to retinoic acid without the irritating side effects. However, it is important to take note of content in your product. In order to be effective, a retinaldehyde concentration of 0.05% to 0.1% needs to be present. This is the equivalent of a 0.025 tretinoin. The biggest side effect of retinaldehyde will be the lightening of your purse. Most skin care products containing substantial amounts of the ingredient will be on the high-end side in price, so be prepared to pay for quality.

Other Advice
Be aware that vitamin A is not stable and tends to lose potency when it interacts with sunlight. Creams and serums are therefore best applied at night. Do not use a cleanser with retinoids, as the retinoids depend on contact with skin to achieve full benefit and should not be washed away. When purchasing retinoids, look for packaging that minimizes exposure to air and light which can affect the stability of the vitamin.

Let us know your choice when it comes to choosing Vitamin A derivatives. Which ones work best for you?

The Correct Amount of Product

Friends applying skin care products

If a little of something is good, then more must be better, right? Not so when it comes to beauty products. Use too little and you won’t get the full benefit of the products you’ve invested your hard-earned money in. Use too much and you can waste product, along with causing buildup and breakouts. Below is a cheat sheet for you to find out just how much of your most-used products to use.

Makeup Remover
If you’re looking for convenience, look no further than pre-soaked makeup remover wipes. Some wipes need to be dampened with water before use, others you take straight to your face. For those of you who prefer your makeup remover in a bottle, simply moisten a cotton pad with just enough product to saturate it, then gently remove your makeup.

Facial Cleanser
For regular liquid cleansers, a nickel-sized amount of product is enough to properly wash your face and neck. If you’re using a foam cleanser, one pump is all you need. Massaging the product into your skin first, before using a washcloth or other scrubbing device will ensure your skin is getting the benefit of the product!

Exfoliator
When using a physical exfoliator, like a facial scrub, a dime-sized amount is all you need. Chemical exfoliators (such as glycolic acid or lactic acid) can typically be used in smaller amounts; a pea-sized amount will do.

Mask
Depending on the face mask, a nickel-sized amount will be enough to cover your face and neck. Typically, masks call for a thin layer of product and using more doesn’t make the product work any better. Some masks, on the other hand, you won’t need to apply to your entire face, so start with a pea-sized amount and add more if needed.

Toner
For toners that come in a spray bottle, 2-3 spritzes across the face and neck are all you need. Regular liquid toners can be applied to a cotton pad and then wiped across the face and neck.

Serum
A serum is a concentrate of skin-loving ingredients, so a little goes a long way. Start with a pea-sized amount to apply to your face and neck and only use more if you need it.

Moisturizer
Whether you are using daytime or nighttime facial moisturizer, a dime-sized amount will suffice when applying it to your face and neck. Your skin should never feel greasy or dry after applying moisturizer, so if you find that your skin cannot absorb that much product, you may need a lighter formula, and if your skin is still dry— a richer formula.

Eye Cream
Apply your eye cream by gently dabbing a pea-sized amount of product around the corners and underneath of each eye with a pinky or forefinger to prevent tugging.

Sunscreen
This is one product most people don’t use enough of! For your face alone, use a nickel-sized amount for adequate protection. For covering the rest of your body, use the equivalent amount of a full shot glass.