With the arrival of fall and winter our focus turns towards a key skincare ingredient that should be a part of your winter routine – vitamin A, also known as retin-A, retinol and retinoic acid. This powerful skincare ingredient has many benefits for skin health. Here we explain the ins and outs of this anti-aging dynamo.
Understanding the benefits of vitamin A.
At Oakville Plastic Surgery and Advanced Skincare, we’re dedicated to helping our patients achieve optimal skin health. Part of achieving healthy and youthful skin is dedicating oneself to a consistent at-home skincare regimen. We often recommend retinol for our patients in the fall and winter months since this ingredient has scientifically proven skin health benefits, which include:
• Regulation of sebum (oil)
Vitamin A has been shown to normalize sebum production for all skin types. Oily skin types benefit with a reduction in sebum production while dry skin types benefit from an increase in sebum production resulting in properly nourished and hydrated skin.
• Normalizes cell renewal.
As we age, cell renewal and skin exfoliation processes decrease. In healthy skin, the epidermis layer is normally thin while the dermis layer is thicker. Skin aging reverses this balance. The slow-down in cell turnover and collagen synthesis leads to the appearance of dull rough skin, flaky patches and more noticeable pores, fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin A has been shown to regulate and normalize this process. As a result skin texture and pore size is refined.
• Reduces redness and minimizes fine lines and wrinkles.
As the cell renewal process is activated, the dermis rebuilds volume. This rebuilding fades noticeable facial redness, making the skin tone more even. Fine lines and wrinkles are also softened and diminished as collagen reserves are boosted.
• Minimizes browns spots and abnormal pigmentation.
The speed up in retinol-activated cell renewal halts the development and maturation of pigmented skin cells, which eventually lead to brown spots. Vitamin A greatly improves the evenness of skin tone by minimizing brown spots and other types of pigmentation conditions such as melasma and acne scars.
The side effects to consider with vitamin A.
With all of its fantastic skin health benefits, there are a few things to consider when using retinol.
Retinol is extremely effective at reversing the signs of sun damage in the skin – but it also makes the skin increasing sensitive to sunlight. This is why we focus on integrating this ingredient over the fall and winter months. It also means that without adherence to daily sunscreen use (regardless of the weather), the anti-aging improvements you’ve acquired can easily be undone. Oakville Plastic Surgery and Advanced Skincare recommends the daily use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30. It is also vital to reapply sunscreen every few hours to ensure you’re fully protected throughout the day. We recommend the use of retinol in your nightly routine to minimize photosensitivity during the day.
• Dry, red, flaking, blemishes.
As cell renewal is activated, the skin begins to purge cells rapidly (exfoliation). This activation can cause redness, sensitivity, flaking and breakouts as the skin becomes accustomed to the effects of the retin-A. Introducing topical vitamin A slowly, such as every other night, can help to prevent these adverse reactions.
• Birth defects.
Excess vitamin A has been shown to cause birth defects. It is therefore advisable to avoid using topical vitamin A if you’re pregnant or trying to become pregnant.
If you’re curious about how the use of topical retinoids can benefit your skin, Oakville Plastic Surgery and Advanced Skincare invites you to book a complimentary consultation with Bethany, our medical aesthetician. Call 905.901.9545 or email [email protected] to request an appointment.