Tag Archives: Skin Care Tips

Nighttime Beauty Habits To Start Now

Woman smiling

While the moon is channeling its inner powers of rejuvenation, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be doing the same. The nighttime is the ideal time for you to bring out your inner eternal Goddess, cleansing and exfoliating away the terrestrial grind and revealing your true heavenly self. Here are some “moon time” beauty habits to help you find your lunar beauty.

Wash Your Face
Resist the temptation to fall into bed without cleansing properly, no matter how tired you are. If you leave makeup on, it will spend the night grinding into your skin, stretching out pores and causing breakouts.

Cosmetic dermatologist Lisa Ginn, MD, advises an oil-based makeup remover which is gentle, and can remove even the most “long lasting” formulas without tugging on skin. Apply the remover to your skin with a cotton pad and follow with a mild cleanser.

Vitamin A
As we age, our skin produces less collagen, which, Ginn says, is the main cause of wrinkles. “If you never stopped making collagen and never damaged collagen, you would never get a wrinkle, your pores would stay small, you’d never get a scar, and your skin would stay nice and tight,” she says. “Collagen is key.”

Woman in bathroom mirror

And how can we keep this precious collagen working for us? Ginn recommends vitamin A which stimulates collagen production, tightening pores, and smoothing fine lines. The doctor recommends applying the vitamin in the form of an over the counter or prescription retinoid nightly. The retinoids also work to lighten brown spots, as an added perk.

Eye Cream
The skin around our eyes is the thinnest of all the skin on our bodies, and becomes thinner with age, making it especially vulnerable to hollowing and under eye circles.

The best treatment for skin repair around the eyes, according to Ginn, is a serum or eye cream with vitamins A, C, E or K. If you choose to use a serum, however, the doctor suggests using a light eye cream in addition to keeping skin moisturized.

Alternate Sleep Sides
Ginn says she can determine which side a person sleeps on by looking ar the lines in her face. While some experts say anti-wrinkle pillows are the solution, Ginn recommends trying to lie on your less favored side. She says that even if you end up reverting to your usual side during the night, you still will have prevented some damage. You can avoid any contact with the pillow by sleeping on your back, if you can manage it.

Hand and Foot Care

Hand and foot care

Foot Care
To keep your piggies lovely, rub your heels and toes with a 12% lactic acid lotion to get rid of dry skin and top with a heavier one, such as one which contains shea butter or glycerin. Cover feet with socks and wake up gorgeous. However, Ginn warns against excessive sock wearing as a possible breeding ground for fungal infection.

Hand Care
The nighttime is the perfect time to slather on that heavy duty hand cream that’s too cumbersome for daily activities. Remember to include your cuticles while you slather.

Let us know how you channel your moon goddess! What’s your nighttime beauty ritual consist of?

Protect Your Familys Skin Against Harmful Chemicals

Mother and child

It seems the definition of a good parent has expanded in the last few decades. It used to be if you could satisfy the basic needs of your child, see they remained somewhat groomed, hugged them a few times, and remembered to pick them up from school and pack lunch, you were doing okay. But that was back in the ‘ignorance is bliss’ days, before we became aware the existence of an ozone layer and harmful chemicals that were in danger of obliterating it.

Now, you need to develop a superpower that enables you to deflect harmful ingredients from infiltrating their little bodies at the speed of light. Not likely to happen. You’ll just have to do it the old fashioned way. Here are a few tips on keeping protecting your family’s skin from chemicals.

Stay Out of The Sun
The sad fact is that a lot of sunscreens out there do not protect against UV rays, and a host of them contain chemicals that can damage our skin. While it would seem that the best advice would be to stay out of the sun, that is often easier said than done when it comes to the average child. Sure, you can cover them with heavy clothes and a hat, but the likelihood is that most of it will end up on the floor of the playground. So what can you do to ensure your child stays active and chemical-free?

Couple smiling

Sunscreen 101
There are two forms of sunscreens:

  • Physical sunscreens
    These contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which form a film on top of the skin that reflects UV light.
  • Chemical Sunscreens
    These absorb UV rays before they can damage your skin. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, zinc oxide provides extensive UVA and UVB protection.

However, if you want a chemical sunscreen, be aware, while they protect against UV rays, they also contain chemicals which can be absorbed by the skin and end up circulating in your blood stream.

Check the Label For Chemicals

  • Dioxybenzone and Oxybenzone
    The most problematic chemicals found in sunscreen are dioxybenzone and oxybenzone. These two are among the most potent free radical producers and are also known to be disruptive to normal hormonal function.
  • PABA
    You’ve probably seen PABA listed quite frequently on sunscreen labels. Para-aminobenzoic acid is a dye that absorbs UV-B light. It contains a benzene ring which enables electrons to shuffle between different locations inside the structure, absorbing UV-B energy by converting light into heat. PABA can damage DNA, release free radicals, has estrogenic activity and has been known to cause allergic reactions in some people
  • Octyl Methoxycinnamate
    This is the main chemical use to filter out UV-B light in sunscreens. Its toxicity level, which can increase in sunlight can kill the cell in mice.
  • Benzophenone
    Benzophenone is a sunscreen ingredient that protects the products in the sunscreen from breaking down due to the sun rays. According to naturopath Nicole Bjilsma, it also disrupts hormones, interferes with thyroid function and lowers testosterone.

Baby

Check The Ratings
How does your sunscreen measure up? The Environmental Working Group (EWG) rates sunscreens on safety and protection. You can download their tip sheet on the best and worst chemicals in the cosmetics department, sunscreens included.

What are you doing to make sure your family’s skin stays free of harmful chemicals while avoiding the sun’s rays? Let us know how you do it.

Everyday Ingredients To Keep Your Skin Fresh Between Facials

Is there any way to keep your skin looking “fresh from a facial” great every day? Here are some ingredients that will help you do just that.

beautiful woman

Antioxidants
Antioxidants are nutrients found in most plants and are best known for their ability to fight “free radicals.” Free radicals harm DNA, and lead to wrinkles, dry, dull skin, and dark circles around the eyes. To keep skin looking fresh, it is important to not only eat foods rich in these chemicals, but also to use them on your skin.

Alpha Lipoic Acid
This is an antioxidant produced by the body and present in every cell you have. It attacks free radicals and it known for its ability to erase wrinkles and fine lines, shrink pores, and give a healthy glow to the skin.

Green Tea Extract
Tea is rich in free radical-fighting nutrients called polyphenols. Early studies have proven the ingredients in tea able to reduce sun damage and protect from skin cancer when applied topically. Green tea extract can be used under sunscreen to double the protection and, polyphenols, when used in lotions and creams, can reduce skin sagginess and wrinkles.

Retinol
Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that boosts collagen production and plumps skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. It improves skin tone and reduces dark patches. The stronger counterpoint of retinol is tretinoin, which can improve skin appearance by clearing up acne, slowing aging of skin, and improving unwanted pigmentation.

Portrait of a woman

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a key ingredient in boosting production of collagen and elastin, which depletes with age. Its antioxidants minimize fine lines, scars, and wrinkles.

Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10)
Naturally occurring in your body, CoQ 10 works to destroy free radical in your cells. However, as you age, the amount your body makes decreases, making skin more vulnerable to free radical damage. Creams, gels, and toners containing the antioxidant can be used to supplement the decrease, with one study showing that it can even help to reduce the appearance of “crow’s feet” around the eyes.

Caffeine
Although the jury is still out on whether caffeine is effective when applied to skin, skin care companies have added it to lotions and creams. This is based on the evidence that caffeine may be useful in preventing skin cancer and the deepening of wrinkles, especially “crow’s feet.”

How do you keep that “fresh from the salon glow” every day? You’re looking particularly radiant.

Skin Care Ingredients Pregnant Women Should Avoid

So you’re pregnant. Your husband and your friends keep telling you you’ve never looked better in your life, but you sure don’t feel it today. Your ankles are swollen, you have a headache, and all you see when you look down is your stomach. You know exactly what you need! A little pampering. Nothing like a nice spa session to make you feel like the goddess you are. But wait! Before you apply that mask, there are a few things you should know about the ingredients in the products you may be about to apply.

Pregnant woman in front of the mirror

Retin-A, Retinol, Retinyl Palmate
The FDA categorizes ingredients according to letters of the alphabet: A, B, C, D, and X. Usually, only A and B categorized products are considered safe for pregnancy. Retin-A, retinol. and retinyl palmate all lie in the C category which means it can present a risk to the fetus. Although vitamin A is an important vitamin for fetal development, Albert Sassoon, MD, an ob-gyn says, “getting too much can cause serious birth defects and liver toxicity.” While Retin-A is usually associated with prescription skin care, women should be aware that vitamin A derivatives are also present in many over the counter formulas as well.

Benzoyl Peroxide
Even though pregnancy may call for the occasional zit zapping, benzoyl peroxide also falls into category C, indicating possible fetal risk.

Woman applying oil to pregnant belly

Essential Oils
Essential oils are not subject to assessment by the FDA and are usually marketed as safe for use in beauty products. However, according to Dr. Sassoon, “Often they have 50 times the concentration used in a cup of tea and can be harmful even in a non-pregnancy state.” The most commonly used oils warranting cause for alarm are rosemary and tea tree oil.

According to Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, MD, and dermatologist, “Tea tree oil is very potent and toxic when ingested. Its adverse effects include dermatitis, drug reactions, a blistering disease called linear IgA and estrogenic effects.” which may be to blame for premature contractions. Rosemary oil, meanwhile, is known to, “raise blood pressure and cause uterine contractions at high doses,” adds the doctor.

Woman buying product

Salicylic Acid
This category C acne fighter may be hard to avoid. But, as Dandy Engelman, MD, and dermatologist says,”When you’re pregnant, you have to seek out the purer products–the ones that feature just one of the acids that are approved. Lactic, mandelic, and glycol acids are all considered safe for pregnant women looking for some exfoliating action.

Hydroquinone
Although this may be tempting to use when pregnancy causes melanoma or dark spots, it falls into the C category.

Tazorac and Accutane
Both these vitamin A-derived product are prescription only and fall into category X: known to cause defects in birth.

What safe products do you use to soothe skin while you’re pregnant? Let us know what the modern pregnant lady is using to keep herself and her baby safe.

Five Steps To A Great Skincare Routine

There is nothing new about the “less is more” concept. Even before Susie Faux termed the phrase “capsule wardrobe” in the seventies, people have realized the wisdom of quality over quantity and the freedom derived from having less. So why is it that so many people are obsessed with multi-step beauty routines?

Of course, if you have the time and patience, you’re welcome to spend as much of it on skin care as you like, but, if you don’t, there is nothing wrong with keeping it scaled down. Remember, you own your beauty routine, it doesn’t own you. So, if you believe in keeping it short and sweet, here’s are five steps that will help you maximize while you minimize.

Woman cleansing skin

Cleanse
Cleansing skin is the most basic step in a skin routine. It should be done twice daily, once in the morning and once at night, to give skin time to heal and breath without being clogged by makeup and debris.

Cleansing should be done with clean hands. Begin by wetting skin with warm water to open the pores. Apply a cleanser appropriate to your skin type using upward circular motions. Some products will be more effective if you leave them on for a minute or two to allow penetration. Remove with damp cotton pads or by splashing your face with cold water. (Cold water will close up pores.) Pat dry gently with a clean towel.

Tone
Toning restores your skin’s pH balance, which is usually altered during the cleansing process. This step can also make your skin more resistant to bacteria. Some toners will only restore your skin’s pH, others will kill bacteria, still others may contain an extra ingredient to prevent acne. Choose the one that suits your skin, and, if you have sensitive skin, be sure to use a specially formulated toner.

Apply toner to entire face with a cotton pad, taking care to avoid your eyes. Do not rinse off.

Woman moisturizing

Moisturize
Moisturizing is the most important step in the beauty routine, and should not be omitted, even if your skin is oily. There is quite a variety of moisturizing products, such as gels (oily skin), creams (dry/sensitive skin), and serums (normal/oily skin). Some may contain anti wrinkle, and anti acne agents, others may tint, or tan, skin.

Apply moisturizer to the face and neck, after toner has dried, using a circular motion. You may want to follow up with a separate moisturizer targeted toward preventing swelling and aging in the eye area.

Exfoliate
Once or twice weekly, use an exfoliator to remove dead skin cells. Make sure not to use anything too harsh, which can irritate skin and tear skin cells.

Remove makeup and massage the exfoliator gently into your face using an outward circular motion for about thirty seconds. Remember, gently is the key word here! If you’re using an exfoliating wash cloth, soak it in warm water and rub it in small circles on your face. Be sure to target creases by your nose and other areas on which blackheads tend to develop.

Face mask

Face Mask
Peel off masks are the best option for unclogging pores, and are the best for oily or acne prone skin. Those with dry skin will benefit most from moisturizing masks.

Choose a natural, mild mask. Keep applications down to once a week or less; frequent applications will result in over cleansing your face. You can make your own, in the interest of keeping it natural, or use a store bought one, following directions on the package.

What do you think of the five-step skin routine? Is less more, or is more more? Let us know what you think?

The Skincare Products You Need To Manage Summer Breakouts

It’s summer and you’ve just had your first official breakout of the season. You calculate that with treatment, most of the pimples will go away in four to seven days, with at least another week for the scars to disappear. You figure that by that time, you most definitely will have broken out again, and that by the time it takes for the first set of scars to heal, you should probably have a whole new round to contend with, and by the time those goes away, summer will probably be over.

Acne can be a drag no matter what season it is, but the sweat and friction of summer sure doesn’t make it any easier to contend with. If you are determined to spend at least part of the season breakout free, here are some of the best skincare products for managing summer breakouts.

Woman checking skin

Accutane
Accutane is the only treatment for acne that results in long-term remission of acne symptoms. It was originally discovered in 1979 when patients treated with the drug reacted by showing significant to permanent clearing of acne symptoms. It was originally given only to people with severe acne, but has become more recently prescribed for less severe cases. It is controversial because it is known to cause lifelong side effects to the user.

How It Works
While how Accutane works on a cellular level is still much of a mystery, there are four known ways that it affects the development of acne:

  • It reduces the size of the skin’s oil glands by 35-58% and reduces the amount of oil produced by these glands by about 80%.
  • It decreases the amount of acne bacteria that lie in the oil of the skin.
  • It hinders the production of skin cells inside the pore, which prevents pores from becoming clogged.
  • It is an anti-inflammatory.

2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide
Benzoyl peroxide is second only to Accutane as an effective treatment for acne. It is the only medication capable of penetrating the skin and delivering oxygen. Because acne related bacteria cannot live with oxygen present, benzoyl peroxide can kill 99.9% of the bacteria almost immediately. Generous application is recommended.

Woman smiling

Oil Free Acne Wash
An oil free acne wash can be used as a regular cleanser for acne prone skin. Its active ingredient is salicylic acid which helps to get rid of existing acne, while preventing future breakouts from happening.. Acne washes are usually noncomedogenic, which means they won’t clog pores and many contain soothing ingredients to prevent over-drying and irritation.

Spot Acne Treatment
Spot acne treatment is the traditional acne treatment is used dry pimples without drying your whole face. It penetrates pores to kill acne bacteria and help to prevent new ones from forming. The active ingredient is spot treatment is benzoyl peroxide, which can irritate skin in large amounts. Look for treatments containing about 2.5 % benzoyl peroxide for minimal dryness and redness. Spot treatment is usually oil free and noncomedogenic.

Spot Eliminating Gel
This on the spot treatment can be used to clear breakouts and prevent emerging ones. Gels are a newer technology and alternative to cream treatment. They are generally preferred because of their clear color and, many claim, superior formula. The active ingredient is salicylic acid, and the gels often claim faster action than their lotion counterparts, which contain benzoyl peroxide. These gels are noncomedogenic as well.

If you’re suffering summer acne, we hope this has been helpful. Let us know how what you’re doing to manage your summer breakouts this year,

Would You Try These Innovative Skincare Ingredients

Americans have been accused of being vulnerable to the lure of the exotic. Of falsely attributing other cultures with possessing some ancient wisdom or magic that we, as Americans, are simply unable to harness. Like the belief in the the superiority of Asian skincare. Skeptics will argue that this is just another example of Americans being overly impressed by the foreign. However, if you consider that the Japanese published a “Capital Beauty and Style Manual” in 1813 that included directions for making an early sheet mask with kimono silk and flower water, it may seem that there is reason to think the Asians may know a thing or two about the subject.

If you are among those who are not entirely convinced that the Asian skincare routine is without merit, here are some of the more (and less) unusual ingredients topping the list of Asian beauty products you may want to get more familiar with.

Bee venom

Bee Venom
Bee venom is known to help skin produce collagen and elastin to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Bees are reportedly not harmed in the process of extraction.

Vitamin A (Retinol)
One of the more common additions to our list, Vitamin A is an antioxidant that fights damage from free radicals and increases production of collagen to help protect against wrinkles, aging, and sun damage.

Vitamin B
(Niacinamide) B vitamins such as niacinamide, or B3, are known to possess skin brightening properties. They can be used to decrease redness from acne and even out skin tone.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C, including L-ascorbic acid, can improve skin tone as well as protect skin from UV rays. Store in an opaque container to prevent degradation due to light and heat.

Aloe Vera
This ancient plant has been used for centuries to soothe and hydrate. Apply it to sunburns for quick relief or as a soothing balm after shaving.

Pear on wheat

Arbutin
This hydroquinone derivative is found in wheat and pears. It is a safe and natural way of limiting the production of melanin and brightening skin.

Ferment
Use fermented products like yeast, rice or pitera to boost skin elasticity and prevent aging.

Green Tea
Another recommendation from the “Capital Beauty and Style Manual,” green tea has antioxidant properties which can decrease inflammation an fight the effects of carcinogens and age.

Honey and Royal Jelly
It’s back to the bee hive for some anti-inflammatory and and antiseptic properties to prevent acne and dryness.

Milk
Whether from cow’s or donkeys, milk is a great moisturizer and brightener.

Rice

Rice
Another,”I told you so” from the ancient Manual, rice as been used for centuries in Asian culture as a toner or scrub to even skin tone.

Snail
Asians swear by snail secretion filtrate as a moisturizing ingredient. It is associated with reducing redness acne and repairing skin damage.

Syn-ake
This is a synthetic snake venom said to be similar to botox in its ability to fight aging. It is known to firm skin and improve elasticity.

Yogurt
The lactic acid in yogurt can exfoliate the skin, while the zinc can reduce the production of oil and sebum, known to block pores.

Let us know if which of these ingredients you have tried, or would consider trying. We’d love to know!

Use These Herbal Aids For Dry Skin

If there is anything to be learned from history, it is safe to say that people have always had a high respect for herbs. Elizabethan herbalist, Nicholas Culpepper credited plants with possessing powers of good (light) and evil (dark). That may explain why Chinese Emperor, and part time herbal enthusiast, Chi’en Nung, while able to identify 365 healing herbs, died after consuming one that turned out to be poisonous.

Despite the occasional mishap, it is safe to say that the herbal remedy has maintained a pretty respectable track record to this day, quite a feat considering how long its history is. Herbals have been credited with easing aches, pains, digestion problems and are also one of the most effective and trusted ingredients in beauty and skin products. If you are looking to give your skin a hydrating boost, here are some of the best (pretested) herbal remedies for dry skin relief.

avocado oil

Avocado Oil
It should be no surprise that a super food makes a super skin treatment. Avocado oil stimulates production of collagen and hydrates skin, and can even be used as a substitute for your nightly serum.

Rosemary Oil
Rosemary oil helps to stimulate cell renewal and gets rid of cells that dull the complexion to reveal new, fresh skin underneath. It can also be used to treat dry, itchy scalp and dandruff. Mix five to seven drops with luke warm water and use it to rinse hair after shampooing to address a flaky scalp.

Lavender Oil
Not only does it smell great, lavender can also relieve itchy tight skin and protect it from UV rays and free radicals which cause premature aging. Apply directly to your face, or put a few drops in your day or night cream.

Pomegranate seed oil

Pomegranate Seed Oil
The antioxidant properties in the pomegranate makes them a great anti-ager, whether you choose to munch or apply topically. The magical seeds can reduce breakdown and increase production of collagen to keep your skin looking firm and useful. Put a drop on your skin after applying moisturizer.

Grapeseed Oil
You’ve probably seen this ingredient being given credit on the labels of anti aging serums and creams. Grapeseed oil has been a proven component in the restoration of collagen and softens find lines to help skin stay firm. “Plus, according to David Colbert, MD, “grape seed oil is high in polyphenols which are antioxidants that can help calm inflammation.” Add two drops to your morning moisturizer to reap its anti aging benefits.

Sunflower Seed Oil
Got dry scaly elbows and knees? Slather some of this vitamin E rich oil on them for some quick hydration.

carrot seed oil

Carrot Seed Oil
Fight age spots with this bunny pleasing option, extracted from the dried seeds of the orange plant. Carrot seed oil can also speed up healing of skin irritations like psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema.

Olive Oil
Besides being a delicious addition to food, olive oil can also be just the thing to relieve a dry, itchy scalp, due to its anti fungal and antibacterial properties. Ellen Marmur, MD, advises, “To calm either issue, once a week, massage a 1/4 cup of olive oils into your scalp so its evenly saturated. Wait at least 20 minutes, then shampoo and condition. Use the remainder to treat your complexion. Olive oil is rich in vitamins that can help prevent spots anilines caused by sun damage. Put two drops in your favorite moisturizer to boost results.

What herbal treatments work best on your dry skin? Let us know your favorites!

Prevent Wrinkles On Your Chest and Neck

In “Gravity,” a video installation Michael Haussman, the artist, asked his subjects were to jump on a trampoline while he shot a video. He edited in post-production, steadying the subjects in the frame so that they appeared to stay still while their fat and muscles remained in motion, The result suggests a time-lapse aging, in which the subject’s body seems to age about thirty years in 15 seconds. It shows us how the aging process alters perception, changing the flawless to the flawed sometimes in a matter of very little time.

Woman smiling

Gravity: it’s skin’s biggest downfall, and causes even the most taught bodies to sag and wrinkle. However, while we can’t fight the gravity, we can fight the effects. Here are some ways to prevent wrinkles on the neck and chest.

Types of Wrinkles
With the aging process, you may begin to notice loose crepey skin and wrinkles on your chest and neck areas. Although some of this can be attributed to loss of collagen, environmental factors are largely to blame. According to AgingSkin.Net, 90-95% of all lines, wrinkles and discolorations are due to sun exposure.

While chest and neck wrinkles usually appear with age, “necklace lines,” characterized by horizontal lines on your neck can start in your twenties, or even as early as childhood. Loose and saggy skin is more often associated with age.

Reasons
There are several hypotheses as to the cause of aging on the neck and chest. One theory, suggested by Skintour.com, is that chest wrinkles are a result of sleeping position. Impression lines caused by sheets and blankets that faded quickly when you were young, may become a little less temporary as you age, due to loss of elasticity.

Treatment
Laser treatments, chemical peels and botox injections are all options for treating skin on the chest and neck. A study conducted by the Brazilian Center for Studies in Dermatology found that injecting Poly-L-Lactic acid or PLLA into the neck and chest could also improve the appearance of wrinkles. Adjusting your sleep position from your side to your back may be another option, as are breast pads and pillows.

Product
It is important to realize that most skin products are not just for your face. When you cleanse your face, be sure to include your neck, as should be the case with toners, moisturizers, masks, and scrubs. Look especially for skin care products containing antioxidants to fight damaging free radicals.

Moisturize
Never underestimate the power of a good moisturizer. Note that your neck and chest have fewer oil glands than your face, and are more prone to dryness and irritation. Moisturizers help maintain elasticity and plumpness for ease of mobility and a smoother appearance.

Sun Exposure
Protecting exposed skin from the sun is important to everyone, regardless of skin condition, Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, with 5 to 10 % titanium and zinc on law exposed skin, neck and chest included.

What do you do to prevent wrinkles on your neck and chest? Let us know!

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?