7 reasons to add vitamin A to your beauty routine

The anti- ageing powerhouse ingredient Retinol is still the gold standard when it comes to wrinkle erasing, acne management and reducing the look of brown spots. Here are seven tips you should remember when using this star vitamin in your beauty routine says editor Trudi Brewer.

1. Retinol (the technical name for vitamin A) and it's many derivatives, such as retinoids, retinoic acid, retinaldehyde and retinyl palmitate to name a few. These work to enhance the skin’s radiance by visibly improving the look of fine lines, wrinkles, acne, oiliness and even rosacea.  

2. Retinol is a cell-communicating ingredient (as well as a powerful antioxidant) which instructs damaged skin cells exposed to the environmental aggressors such as the sun, and pollution to repair and make healthier cells.

3. Retinoids are amazing multitaskers they have the ability to increase cell turnover, speeding up the skin's natural turnover process, so your complexion looks clearer and smoother, which has a direct impact on how the skin looks, namely boosting radiance.

4. Retinol used to be an ingredient that was best used at night because it can make skin more sensitive to the sun. However, advances in packaging and how this ingredient is encapsulated to keep it stable has meant that many low dose formulations can also be used during the day. Most dermatologists suggest using an SPF 30 sunscreen religiously, especially for that high potency, vitamin A prescription-only creams such as ReTrieve night time is still the best time to use them.

5. Don't use oil-based, creamy cleansers when using vitamin A serums. Choose a cleanser that contains alpha hydroxy, or salicylic acids to help buff the dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, which help active ingredients penetrate faster. 

6. Less is more when using retinol serums, a pea size amount on dry skin is all you need, smooth it onto your face, including around the eyes, as well as on your neck, and hands, and then follow with your usual night cream. For extra-sensitive skin, apply moisturiser first, before the retinol serum to reduce any risk of sensitivity. 

7. When you start using retinol, it can leave skin looking flushed, drier-than-usual, and you may experience a light peeling. If this becomes very uncomfortable, cut back and only use retinol once a week, or switch to a weaker formula around 0.25 percent.

Retinol products we rate.

Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Oil, $166. The slow acting (hydroxypinacolone retinoate), retinol extract is blended with cold pressed avocado, chia and grape seed oils to give glowy-looking skin within weeks.  

Environ Skincare Youth EssentiA Vita-Peptide C-Quence Serum 4, 270. Is a blend of vitamins A, C and E, antioxidants and peptides (protein) that help boost clarity, while firming, toning and refining an uneven complexion.

Neutrogena's Rapid Wrinkle Serum, $35. Is a gentle formulation of Retinol SA, the blend of retinol, glucose complex that exfoliates skin, and hyaluronic acid that plumps fines lines to leave skin looking rejuvenated. 

Shiseido Benefiance Pure Retinol Intensive Revitalizing Face Mask, $98. A sheet mask infused with retinol, vitamins C and E, citrus and chlorella extracts to give skin an instant youthful boost - this is the perfect skin pick-me-up before a night out. 

Verso Super Facial Serum, $190. Contains retinyl retinoate and plant extracts that help to boost the skin's natural collagen production, while brightening and slowly improving the texture and clarity of skin.

Osmosis Correct, $141. The unique stabilised liposome delivery of high dose retinaldehyde boosts collagen and elastin production in skin, without causing irritations.