Vitamin A

Posted by Nicole Pigott on

By: Toni Lee Roldan-Ortiz, Master Educator for DermaConcepts

So what is this A-mazing molecule vitamin A that everyone is talking about? Well it happens to be one of the most essential ingredients that is needed for our skin cells. Let’s dive into the how and why of this incredible A-ntioxidant.

Vitamin A, which is known as the skin normalizer, comes in different forms with different names. In our industry we are quite familiar with the name Retinoic Acid (a blanket name for many different forms) and Retinol which have been the gold standards for many years as to the forms we have used. However, there are new standards as to how we use this very important molecule, and all the forms play an important role in our skin health.

Let’s break it down:
The metabolic form of Vitamin A, needed in the central nucleus of our cells, is Retinoic Acid. This form is important to act directly on the DNA of our cells, and normalize and regulate gene activity that controls cellular proliferation, differentiation, maturation, and essentially all cellular functionality.

By now you may be thinking, so why don’t we just use this form in skin care? Well, if you have used this form of Vitamin A before, then you would know what it’s like to experience such side effects as peeling, flaking, irritation, and small red bumps. Retinoic Acid is also only used at night and in the fall and the winter due to the photo sensitizing properties that come along with this form. What that means is that we are not protected in the morning and daytime hours with Vitamin A when exposed to the sun .

Let me break it down even further....
We all(humans and animals)are born with Vitamin A naturally in all skin cells of our body and our liver, and every time we are exposed to the sun we deplete our own natural stores of vitamin A. The longer we are in the sun, the more vitamin A we deplete.

The forms that we naturally store in our skin and in our body are called Ester fat soluble forms: Retinyl Palmitate, Retinyl Acetate, and Retinyl Propionate. Retinyl Palmitate is the form we store by up to 90% and is the form most people are highly deficient of due to exposure to the sun. If we do not have adequate stores of Retinyl Palmitate then we will have less formation of Retinoic Acid for DNA communication.

These Ester forms, along with Retinoic Acid, Retinol and Retinal Aldehyde, are considered animal forms. There are also plant forms such as Alpha and Beta Carotene which are considered the mildest forms of vitamin A and generally the pre cursor to the actual synthesis of Vitamin A. We find these forms in our brightly colored vegetables and plants. Although Beta Carotene is a powerful antioxidant and can deactivate up to 1,000 free radicals and still maintain its efficacy, one will never be able to build up on adequate stores of vitamin A in the skin by just using Carotenoids. Retinol is the alcohol form of vitamin A and is considered the basic form from a chemical point of view, but since it is alcohol based it also can come with some side effects and is photo sensitizing. We generally use this form in the evening and the fall and winter as well. When it comes to vitamin A there is much to consider: the form, the absorption capability, the metabolic pathway conversion, storage, and receptor sites.

Consider Vitamin A like ice cream; there are different flavors that can be sweet, salty, or perhaps bitter but at the end of the day it is all ice cream. Well, vitamin A has different forms but at the end of the day it is all vitamin A and belongs to a family called Retinoids. Our cells and skin require different forms in order to be functional, thick, healthy, and to be able to prevent conditions such as pre-mature aging, hyperpigmentation, skin laxity, dryness, acne, sensitivity, atopic conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, actinic keratosis, and possible skin cancer. When you
think about it, those are all conditions we see and work with on an everyday basis, which means most people have a vitamin A deficiency. When we are deficient of vitamin A we will start to see these signs of conditions which can be prevented. We will also be deficient of vitamin A receptors on the cell membrane which help to uptake vitamin A into our cells. These receptors uptake different forms of vitamin A .The only way to build up these receptors is to have adequate stores of vitamin A in the skin, and Retinyl Palmitate is the form we store in the skin by up to 90%. We will also find other forms stored such as Retinyl Acetate, Retinyl Propionate, Retinol, and Retinoic Acid but only about 3% or so. That is why starting low and going slow is preferred, to allow your vitamin A receptors to uptake in low doses until higher stores are achieved. Using vitamin A in an effective step up system would be beneficial for this reason. The metabolic pathway of vitamin A mentioned earlier is a very important natural conversion that takes place with our own enzymes that we possess.

When we apply Retinyl Palmitate, Acetate, or Propionate to our skin, these Ester forms are more skin friendly and easier to absorb due to there fat content entering our lipid loving layer. Therefore, we see little to no side effects with these forms. A process called Hydrolysis takes place where these forms convert into Retinol>Retinal Aldehyde> and lastly into Retinoic Acid in the central nucleus of the cell. At this time, once the cell takes the percentage needed of Retinoic Acid, another conversion takes place converting this form back into the Ester forms, predominantly Retinyl Palmitate for storage by up to 90%. As a matter of fact most forms of Vitamin A have this ability except for Retinoic Acid itself. RA is delivered to the nucleus and then is eliminated through the body without converting into the storage form.

Incorporating Ester forms in a step up system morning and night comes with many benefits and Environ’s world renowned system incorporates not only these skin friendly forms of vitamin A but also other important ingredients such as vitamin C, E, other antioxidants and peptides to protect the appearance of our skin on all levels and from the effects of depletion and damage. Environ also utilizes Retinols that are used in the evening, in fall and winter once one is already using the vitamin A step up system and on higher levels of the system.

Benefits of using Environ’s Vitamin A Step up system with the fat soluble forms include:

  • Easier delivery to our lipid layer
  • Natural conversion into Retinoic Acid takes place
  • High stores of Retinyl Palmitate for conversion whenever the body requires Retinoic Acid. This conversion takes place every minute of the day, but if we are deficient of Retinyl Palmitate then it is less efficient. Storage of Retinyl Palmitate protects us from the effects of UV radiation, photo damage, skin cancer, and atopic conditions
  • Retinyl Palmitate is photo protective not photosensitizing
  • Clients are more compliant with using because of no side effects
  • High storage of vitamin A is achieved in a ladder step up system
  • No prescription required
  • Able to start low and go slow for acclimation

Utilizing Vitamin A year round can ensure a healthier-looking, more radiant skin. Are you using Vitamin A?

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