It is well known that Vitamin A is an excellent aid in looking after your skin. Before we look at creams, vitamin supplements and serums, it’s important to understand the different forms that Vitamin A can be found. It’s equally important to know that vitamin A is fat soluble which means your body will not use if you don’t consume fatty foods. In a balanced diet you are likely consume the right amount. For this reason, taking too much vitamin A can be dangerous as it will build up inside.
- In certain foods – Vitamin A is naturally found in foods such as leafy vegetables, carrots, sweet potatoes and peppers. It can also be found in liver and fish.
- Vitamin A supplement – These are available anywhere, in health stores or online. They come in a soft-gel casing and provide up to 300% of your recommended daily allowance.
- Retinol – Retinol is made naturally in the body. Your body will naturally release it as and when needed. If it is not needed, the body stores it until necessary.
- Retin-A – This is a lot stronger than Retinol. Unlike Retinol’s natural process, Retin-A is made with the help of science. They are both forms of vitamin A but have different qualities.
- Your skin naturally regenerates around every thirty days. When you consider the daily influences on our skin such as: Environmental factors (pollution, work, and stress), natural factors (climate, accidents) and lifestyle choices (drinking, smoking) it’s easier to see why that process may need speeding up. After all our skin is put through, it is only regenerated around once a month. No wonder we end up with wrinkles, dark spots, troublesome white/blackheads and thin, lose skin. This is where creams and serums containing vitamin A become essential. Well, the million dollar question – How does it work? Retinol and Retin-A enhance the skin’s natural regeneration… Simply, they kill the outer layer of skin and allow the new cells to grow. They also stop collagen breaking down which prevents lose, wrinkly skin.
Signs of aging – Roc Retinol Correxion Sensitive Skin Eye Cream
Retinoids will prevent the breakdown of your skin’s collagen, keeping your skin firm and thick. If you already have wrinkles or fine lines, the application of retinol or retin-A will start to reduce these.
Dark spots – Neutrogena Rapid Tone Dark Spot Corrector
These are usually a brown/orange colour. These can apply to the above bracket as an age-related skin complaint; however I have separated it here as they are also caused by UV light exposure. There are a number of skin diseases that cause dark spots too. Encouraging skin regeneration with retinol or retin-A can reduce the appearance of dark spots. Just think, as each new layer of skin grows, the spots will begin to fade underneath it.
Acne – Amara Organic Retinol Serum
As retinoids aid the killing of outer skin cells, it clears and opens the skins’ pores which ensures they are not getting blocked up. As in the above bracket, since they also regenerate the skin, acne scars will eventually begin to fade under the newly formed layers of skin.
Now, are you wondering why we should be applying creams and serums rather than just eating more vitamin A infused foods and supplements? The answer is relatively simple but slightly scientific, which I’ll try and avoid as it gets confusing! In short, in food and supplement forms vitamin A has to go through a specific procedure for your body to use it effectively. Vitamin A has a lot of uses for the body so when consumed it will not directly address your skin complaint. Secondly, you have to have eaten enough fatty substances for it to be released which may actually do more damage to your health. The great thing about creams and serums is they begin to improve your skin complaint within weeks and at most, a couple of months. With this, you can continue your normal diet and all that’s advised is to take extra care in the sun, apply sun-cream! Have I convinced you yet? I hope so. However, we’re not done.
Remember earlier when I mentioned two types of cream? Yes, retinol and retin-A. So what kind of cream/serum should you be using? Let’s take a look at the differences:
This can be bought anywhere: In pharmacies, superstores and online. Retinol cream is not as strong as retin-A because it is a natural form of vitamin A. However, regardless of working slowly, it works. So if your skin doesn’t react favourably to retin-A, retinol is a good solution.
Retin-A cream – Radha Beauty Retinol Moisturizer
This can only be obtained with a Doctor’s prescription since it is made in labs using extractions of vitamin A. It is a lot stronger than retinol cream and therefore gets to work very quickly. Due to the strength, it is the perfect solution.
Retinol/retin-A serum – Yeouth Hyaluronic Acid Serum
The difference in a cream and serum is purely the formula. Serum is better for oily/acne-prone skin since it doesn’t leave quite as much moisture. It should also win over cream if you prefer to use a separate moisturizer to your retinol treatment.
I’m fairly young; however the prospect of aging has started to plague me especially when I come face-to-face with my dear Nan. I have also noticed that my Mum and Auntie frequently looked beyond their years. I actually remember pretending the pick her forehead lines as if I were playing a guitar. Needless to say she didn’t find it very funny! Faced with that fate, and plagued anyway with acne I decided to give it a go. My Doctor was happy to prescribe Tretinoin cream (retin-A) since I had gotten my outbreaks under control. I wanted to see what effect it could have on the scars left behind and I must say I’m impressed. I had researched it at the beginning of my journey and now I only wish I had tried it sooner as I could’ve avoided the scars from the offset. Oh well… There’s no time like the present!