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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Topical Ingredients for Radiant Skin

For the most radiant, healthy skin there is no better topical ingredient than a vitamin A derivative. Vitamin A derivatives, or retinoids, have a proven history in age management. Retinoids not only stimulate collagen production to erase fine lines and reduce pore size, but also reverse DNA damage from sun exposure to help prevent skin cancer. Furthermore, retinoids increase cellular turnover of the skin to exfoliate dead skin cells and prevent clogged pores. Therefore, retinoids are the most effective topical agents to help you achieve clear, even toned and radiant skin.

There are many forms of vitamin A derivatives, such as retinol, retin-a and retinaldehyde, but not all are created equal, due to their varying ability to penetrate the skin. To be effective, penetration through the epidermis, or top layer of skin, to the dermis, or deep layer of skin, is key. The dermis contains the very important anti-aging tissues of elastin and collagen, and the healthiest skin has a thick dermis because of robust collagen and elastin tissue.

The vitamin A derivative retinol is the most ineffective at penetrating the epidermis because of its large molecular size. Because of this, most product lines use high volumes of retinol to force penetration of only about 2 percent of the ingredient. With 98 percent of the retinol sitting on the skin’s surface, we see more over-exfoliation, irritation and inflammation.

Retin-A, available by prescription only, is another common form of retinoid. Retin-A has a very effective penetration rate to the dermis. When applied to the skin, it is converted to retinoic acid to create the positive effects of collagen stimulation, DNA repair and exfoliation. However, retinoic acid from this source overpowers the receptors in the dermis and leads to overstimulation and over-exfoliation, which leaves our skin feeling dry and sensitive.

Retinaldehyde is the best form of retinoid available. It is the immediate precursor to retinoic acid; therefore, upon application, the skin will convert a significant amount to the potent, bioavailable retinoic acid for the positive benefits of anti-aging and anticancer. Because the skin can regulate the conversion without becoming overpowered, there is rarely an issue of over-stimulation or irritation.

For refreshed, radiant and healthy skin for life, look for the potent vitamin a derivative Retinaldhyde in the list of ingredients.

Christy Hall, PA-C, MPAS is the owner of Skin Appeal and owner/partner of Mikel Kristi, maker of Vital A Serum. Contact her at 520-261-7546 or

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