Understanding vitamin A

With the ability to reduce fine lines and increase collagen production, vitamin A or what is commonly known as retinol is the gold standard in the war on wrinkles. But as Trudi Brewer discovers not all products containing this wonder ingredient work in the same way. 

Reversing the signs of ageing is a lesson in patience and persistence - along with the serious skin corrector, vitamin A. Kay Roby from Osmosis Skin sheds some light on the confusing world of retinol.

In easy speak explain the different forms of vitamin A? 
The skin is a storage site for many different forms of Vitamin A. They all have a different purpose. Research shows only two forms of vitamin A have the purpose of making collagen and elastin, retinaldehyde and retinoic acid. Of those, only one form is not toxic to the epidermis and that is retinaldehyde.

What does this vitamin do for skin? 
Most vitamin A's used in skincare have very little positive effect on the skin. They are inflammatory which means they hurt the epidermis, our protective barrier and cause the surface skin to swell. The swelling makes some wrinkles look better so these forms of A vitamins are used often in anti-ageing formulas but they actually age the skin faster. Retinaldehyde is the only A derivative that stimulates collagen and elastin production without compromising the health of the skin.

What is the latest exciting research with this age eraser? 
Retinaldehyde has always shown great effects but it has rarely been used because it is so unstable that it starts degrading in the bottle within weeks. Now with research into stabilized, liposomal retinaldehyde, which Osmosis it stays stable in the bottle and lasts over two years assisting with penetration. Most retinol's get 2 percent penetration. Using this technology, Osmosis gets around 12 percent.

When should you use it, day or night? 
Most retinol's should simply be avoided but definitely only at night if they are going to use it. Our retinaldehyde with the low inflammatory potential and better penetration, does not cause skin sensitivity to the sun. We recommend it twice daily so we can keep your natural collagen machine at full capacity.

There is a lot of beauty talk around encapsulating retinol for a targeted delivery, what does that mean and who can benefit from that? 
Encapsulating retinol is reasonable. It helps stability and may help penetration. However, using a regular retinol in the encapsulation process is the problem since they are not benefitting the skin. Osmosis encapsulates retinaldehyde in a liposome, has proven to be highly beneficial in the rejuvenation process.

What are you top tips when using vitamin A based products? 
Start slow. Even our A serums can over-stimulate the skin because they demand so much activity. And always look for products that contain stabilized retinaldehyde.

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The vitamin A serums in the Osmosis range include: Calm, $141. Correct, $141. Renew, $160 and Clarify, $118.