Why a blog?

Somewhere to jot down all things I am passionate about.
My little space to rant, rave and ramble on about this and that.
Most of all, just to share my thoughts with the world!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Vitamin Therapy - Topical Vitamin A

After wrapping up the products relating to my simple 3-step skin care routine, in previous posts, Cleansing, Toning and Moisturising, I am moving on to reveal ‘what’s doing’ in the next vital step of my daily Serious SkinCare routine, which I will label as 'Vitamin Therapy'.  Vitamin Therapy involves incorporating topical vitamin based treatments into my skin care regime.  That’s right, we all know that vitamins, taken orally, are crucial to our inner health, but did you know they also play an integral role in promoting a healthy, youthful-looking complexion?  I have selected two of the most effective, powerful, antioxidant vitamins, based on my individual skin concerns, to compliment my Serious Skin Care program.  

I only use each product once daily, which one would imagine, to be simple & straightforward!  Yeah, right!.....Wrong! :-/  When trying to explain these things in writing, it so happens to be far more complex, than I originally conceived, eek! :-O  With that said, I am going to partition this topic into two separate blogs, to avoid publishing something that resembles a mini novel, hehe! ;)) So first of all, I will divulge my perception of topical Vitamin A and any products I use!

So, What is topical Vitamin A??
It is a scientifically proven, extremely effective anti-ageing skin care ingredient that I have developed a huge 'crush' on, over the past few years. :x  Vitamin A actually deserves a blog in its own right, which I plan to deliver further down the track.  However, considering I am talking skin care products I use, rather than ingredients, I am just including a snippet from the Beautypedia website, to provide a technical explanation, FYI!

“Retinol is the term used for the entire vitamin A molecule. Applied to skin, retinol is a beneficial cell-communicating ingredient and an antioxidant. Simply put, it helps skin cells create better, healthier skin cells and increases the amount of skin-support substances. In skin-care products it is found in the form of retinol, retinyl palmitate, and retinylaldehyde. In prescription-only skin-care products, it is in the form of retinoic acid (also called tretinoin)."

And, Why use it?

"In addition to functioning as a cell-communicating ingredient and antioxidant, retinol has been shown to increase skin's collagen production and glycosaminoglycan content, resulting in firmer skin with an improved texture and enhanced barrier function. Although it is not the only ingredient to look for in an anti-aging product, it deserves strong consideration by anyone concerned with keeping their skin in top shape through the years. You may also want to consider one of the prescription retinoids, such as tretinoin (Renova), tazarotene (Tazorac), or adapalene (Differin); the latter two are highly recommended if you are dealing with wrinkles and breakouts. Those dealing with the triple threat of wrinkles, breakouts, and sun-induced skin discolorations should consider a prescription for Tri-Luma."

My ‘Holy Grail’

After about 12 months of using various OTC (over the counter) retinol products of different concentrations, I decided it would save me lots of $$$ if I made the switch to prescription retinoids. =D>  I naturally had to consult with my GP first, but today, over 18 months, both my skin and wallet are truly thankful. <:-P  While there are heaps of horror stories surrounding retinoids, particularly the adverse side effects, I made certain that I educated myself well, before taking the leap.  Considering I was already familiar with using other Vitamin A derivatives and my skin had progressed through the OTC retinols and was able to tolerate the highest 1% strength with no qualms, it was only natural that I rise to the next level, leading me to Retin-A and a significant  improvement to my complexion.  :D

Retin-A comes in a small, 20gm tube that lasts for months; granted I only need a tiny, pea-sized amount of product, per application, to adequately treat my whole face and neck, making it incredibly cost effective at just $29 from Priceline, compared to its less potent, OTC relatives, which average, roughly, around the $100 mark. :-O  It’s not advisable to ‘go to town’ slathering this stuff on, because it doesn’t create faster results, rather, you could suffer the consequences later, with angry, red skin that might start shedding like crazy, or worse still, cause chronic damage to your skin, deep-down beneath the top surface layers, in the dermal area.  :">  In cases of such extreme damage, which may not rear its head for a long time after, then in which case, takes lots of effort and dedication, for years in severe cases, to effectively undo that damage and encourage deep skin cell regeneration!  :-s  Therefore, in this case less is best!  ;)

Retin-A cream is thick and very white.
The thick, white cream absorbs quickly and fortunately doesn’t leave any greasy residue on my oily skin, phew. #:-S  I have sensitive skin, which becomes aggravated quite easily, yet because I weaned my skin from low strength retinol, working up through the concentrations, prior to introducing retinoids, my skin has never had so much as a hiccup. :>  I am living proof, that sensitive skin can in fact tolerate retinoids, it just requires a little diligence and lots of perseverance. :-SS  Regardless of your skin type, you need to ensure it remains sufficiently hydrated, because when using any topical Vitamin A, it can cause dryness or dehydration. Therefore, it must be teamed with a good moisturiser.  I prefer using my Medik8 Hydr8 B5 Serum, in conjunction with my Retin-A, because it’s so lightweight, yet any good nourishing moisturiser will be equally as effective.  It just comes down to what works best for your skin or your own personal preference.   B-)

When I entered my thirties, following years of neglect as a tween/teen, I began to notice my skin displaying evidence of sun damage and signs of premature ageing.  When my therapist introduced me to the magic of Vitamin A, I saw my skin transform, before my very eyes; it really is nothing short of an anti-ageing miracle. (*)  I wouldn’t have ever guessed it was possible to reverse such apparent skin damage, or reduce fine lines and wrinkles and slow down the ageing process.  But, mark my word, it absolutely works! ;;) 

Just a pea-size amount is all I need.
Previously, the texture of my skin, which has always been on the rough side, was starting to look dull, tired and crepey in appearance. :(  After using this cream religiously for 18 months, it is now smoother, softer and much firmer.  My enlarged pores are less obvious and they rarely clog up with gunk; so, in turn, no blackheads.  The fine lines around my eyes have back-pedalled and softened dramatically, to the point where they are only just noticeable, right up close in a magnifying mirror.  The deeper frown lines on my forehead also did a u-turn and were given their marching orders and sent packing, ROFL. =))  My skin tone is more uniform and I have finally kissed the facial redness, blotchiness and discolouration, goodbye, adios amigos!  :-h   

These days, my skin is looking, clearer & brighter with a healthy, radiant, more youthful glow. I have run into people I have not seen in years, and they are amazed at the positive difference in my appearance.  I even receive compliments about how nice my skin is looking, and I have never had anyone say anything good about my skin before, ever, LOL. :D  Retin-A is the most important and paramount anti-ageing beauty treatment for my regime and I vow to remain faithful to it for the rest of my life.  I need to keep using it permanently, forever, because my skin will only revert to its old ways if I cease using it :-S (and I am not about to let that happen, no, no, no, LOL).  I keep my skin care simple when using this cream as I don't like to layer anything with it other than moisturiser, as I don't want to risk interfering with the magic it performs.  After 18 months of daily use, I am now in maintenance mode and use it every second night to continue reaping its benefits long term.  ;)

It absorbs instantly leaving no residue.
As long as I am fully armed and loaded with the super, dynamic Retin-A treatment, my unsurpassed weapon to fight the war against premature skin ageing, I am confident that I will successfully conquer the crusade and over time, I will indeed, come out the victor. :ar! Vitamin A has to be one of the best-kept secrets of the beauty world, but we need that to change, lets shout it out to the world! \:D/  It’s a highly effective, intensive anti-ageing treatment that has completely rejuvenated my skin and is helping me maintain youthful complexion!:D

Words of Wisdom
  • Use with caution!
  • Use sparingly, retinoids, in particular, are capable of burning skin if overused.
  • You need to introduce it gradually to begin with, allowing skin to adjust accordingly.
  • Knowing how to use the product properly from the get go, will minimise most, or even all, of the side effects that coincide with the onset of using this treatment.
  • You may experience a burning/stinging sensation at first as well as facial redness.  If it becomes unbearable, stop treatment for a week then start again even more gradually. 
  • It is perfectly normal for skin to shed/flake show signs of dryness, which usually starts after a few days.
  • Obviously, if the side effects are severe, discontinue use immediately.  Some sensitive skin sufferers simply may not be able to withstand retinoids!
  • During the first month, it's common to experience breakouts and skin can look worse before it looks better
  • Do not apply retinoids in conjunction with other skin peeling products, such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and benzoyl peroxide. Instead, alternate use on different nights.
  • Vitamin A makes skin very susceptible to sun damage, always use sunscreen and cover up from the sun.
  • Not to be used while pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • It will take at least 3 months and up to 12 months before achieving noticeable results. You just need a bit of patience!  :-w

Other Vitamin A products I have used:

Final note:
Many people shy away from products containing Vitamin A or stop using them prematurely because of the irritation/side effects or skin purging that initially accompanies the treatment. :-S  All of these side effects though, are just a temporary drawback and if you can try to stick it out, in return the honour of healthy, flawless skin will be yours.  #:-S  Have any of you used a retinoids, retinol or a skin care product containing a Vitamin A derivative before?  If so, what are your thoughts?  If not, after having read my evaluation, would you consider giving it a try?  I have personally been undertaking ongoing, extensive research on this topic, during the past three years and have come to develop a 'love affair' with it, :x :x therefore, I am more than happy to share the love. :x  If you would like to shoot me through a question, maybe need some suggestions, or just want to 'ragger' on about it with me, please, by all means, go for it in the comments section.  ;)  

All images in this blog are my own.
Information highlighted in yellow text was sourced from Beautypedia   


  1. Wonderful post Mel! What a wealth of information about topical retin A! Thanks so much for sharing. I will surely look into using it, while still being careful :) I have a sample of Ultraceuticals skin cream with retinol. Will give that a go first :)

  2. @Su
    Thanks Su, Vitamin A is a topic I just love and have had such impressive results since incorporating it into my routine. Definitely give the Ultraceuticals a go, starting off getting your skin use to retinol is the best way to go, then if you like what you see you can work up to stronger formulations. There are creams and serums its just a matter of finding one you like. Be warned once you start you probably wont look back, hehe :)

  3. Vitamin A is great for anti-ageing. I used to add few drops of pure vit A into my usual creams, mix it and then use them. But in Australia you can't buy vit A without prescription. So thank for sharing! Now I know where to get them ;)
    Thanks for visiting & commenting on http://crashingred.com To answer your question: Yes, they do have them at Priceline store. It is around $15 full price. Cheaper than OPI!

  4. I thought I posted on this, it's gone for some reason.

  5. @Marusya V Thank you so much for popping over to my blog as well, I really appreciate it ;) I love Vitamin A (if you can't tell, hehe ;) lol)and those drops sound awesome, wonder if you can get it in serum form via prescription. That is something I have not thought to look into, I know they have a cream and a gel based version, but a drops would be better still :)
    Cheers for the info on the SH as well, keen to check that out myself, heading to Priceline today to have a look :)

  6. @Anonymous I only received a notification for the comment above, but nothing else came through to me, that is weird, disappearing comments, wonder what is going on ???

  7. haha that's funny! It was a long comment too. I might have pressed the wrong thing. Oh well. It's blackmagic here from BH :)

  8. This is really informative! Thanks for sharing! Stop by and visit if you get a chance and keep sharing your wisdom!


    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, will definitely check out your blog also :-)

  9. I love vitamin A. I have used it for years to rid of warts. I buy vitamin A in capsules and pierce the capsule and apply it directly to the wart. After doing this once a day for about 2 weeks, the wart disappears.
    But now I use it directly on my face to clear and help wrinkles. I only do it about every other day because I haven't been able to find out if it may be dangerous in the longterm.
    Any knowledge on this?

    1. Thanks for your response, I also alternate my retinoids and am currently using them once every second day. As for danger in long term use, well not to my knowledge based on my own research and the advice I've received from my skin care therapist, although I do know that if you suddenly stop using it your skin will revert back to how it was before you first introduced it. Personally, I like the improvements and the anti-ageing benefits, so I'm sticking with it, even if it is for life, hehe <3

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