Vitamin A (Retinol) Skincare

The Anti-Aging Superhero



  • Protects against UV damage and slows signs of aging
  • Encourages healthy skin cell production
  • Protects against infection
  • Smoothes wrinkles and fine lines
  • Evens out skin tone and gives a youthful glow
  • Minimises the appearance of pores
  • Available in Retinoid formulations for less irritation

Vitamins are essential for maintaining optimal levels of skin health, appearance and function, and none more so than Retinol (Vitamin A). Eating nutrient-dense foods, taking vitamin supplements, and using topical products containing vitamins can all be beneficial. In addition to helping skin look its best, vitamins can also be used to manage a variety of skin conditions, such as acne, psoriasis, and the effects of photo-aging.

When it comes to skincare, Vitamin A is needed in the form of retinol. It’s a potent antioxidant that will help support the health, elasticity, and aging of the skin. If you suffer from a deficiency, it’s highly likely that your skin specialist will recommend skincare products containing the active ingredient prescription form called retinoid.

Benefits of Applying Retinol

Vitamin A Retinol in skincare has a fascinating impact on the skin’s surface because it can help restore a more youthful look and feel. While there are many derivatives of Vitamin A, Retinol is the name for the pure form, however, on a serum it could be listed as Renova, Retin A or Tretinoin, just to name but three.

When skin is affected by environmental assault (and everyone’s skin is) or you have signs of aging, uneven skin tone, enlarged pores, and skin prone to bumps, retinol steps in and seems to intuitively know what your skin needs to minimise those concerns. In short, lots of things about your skin’s appearance can improve when you use retinol to boost your skincare routine.

Types of Retinol

There are two types of Vitamin A: retinoids (pre-formed vitamin A – it’s found in animal products like dairy, fish, and meat) and carotenoids (pro-formed vitamin A – is found in plants and includes beta-carotene and alpha-carotene. Surprise, you’ll find those in carrots!). Both types are converted to Retinoic Acid by the liver. There, it’s either stored or transported by the lymphatic system to cells throughout the body.

When looking at skincare products, it’s important to remember that “retinoid” is an umbrella term and doesn’t specify the type of retinoid compound in the formula. The term “Retinoid” describes a family of ingredients that includes both Retin-A and Retinol. Retinoids are a class of ingredients chemically related to Vitamin A.

The only type of retinoid that your skin is able to process immediately is retinoic acid. All other forms of retinoids have to be converted by skin enzymes into retinoic acid before the skin is able to use it.

What is Retinol?

Retinol is a specific form of vitamin A that is naturally produced in your body. When it’s applied topically, enzymes in your skin convert retinol into retinaldehyde and then into retinoic acid. Because of the two-step conversion that it has to undergo before the skin can use it, retinol is naturally gentle; this means that while the results are slower, it has fewer side effects. The conversion into retinoic acid can take at least a few weeks, which is why you should use retinol products consistently for a few months before expecting to see results. 

In addition to “Vitamin A,” retinol products go under many different names on product labels, including retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, retinyl linoleate, retinaldehyde, tazarotene, retinol and retinoic acid, isotretinoin or tretinoin.

What is Retin-A?

Retin-A is prescription-only tretinoin cream. Tretinoin is another name for retinoic acid. Because it is a form of retinoic acid, Retin-A does not need to be broken down by the enzymes in your skin before it can be used. Retin-A products can be up to 100 times stronger than the average retinol cream. This strength comes with amazing and speedy results such as diminished blemishes, reduction in wrinkles, boosted skin elasticity — but also has major side effects. Due to its strength, Retin-A can cause itching, scaling, burning, peeling, and extreme redness when you first begin using the medication. Traditionally, Retin-A has only been prescribed by physicians for severe acne (example – Roaccutane).

Vitamin A compounds and their derivatives are most common in “anti-aging” products, but also appear in moisturisers, anti-acne products, and foundation.

Vitamin A is essential for collagen production. Collagen is deep into the layers of the skin and helps to ensure the elasticity and youthful look of the skin. When you have good amounts of collagen, the skin will act like a rubber band. It stretches but will then draw back into its usual shape. When there isn’t enough collagen, the skin acts like an overstretched rubber band. It will stretch to the point of breaking, leaving tears and scarring in the middle and lower layers of your skin.

Skin is a retinoid-responsive organ, able to readily absorb vitamin A when applied topically.

Who should be using Retinol?

It’s important to get retinol as soon as possible. Start using it in your 20’s and build up the use throughout your 30’s. These are the decades where you need to work on preventing aging. Not enough retinol will mean you’re more likely to get wrinkles and fine lines. Start with lower concentrations of retinol if you’ve never used them. Your skin can suffer more breakouts and imbalances if you suddenly add them into your skin in large amounts. Build up your tolerance.

Retinol is also good for those with oily skin. By getting plenty of this vitamin, you can reduce the size of your pores and remove dead skin. It’s possible to reduce the number of natural oils your skin produces, leaving you with a natural and healthier glow. Because of this, those with excessively dry skin are often advised to limit the amount of retinol they add to their skin.

There is also an immune system benefit. If you have bacterial or fungal issues on your skin, you can help to clear them up through the addition of more Vitamin A.

Topical retinoids are not a permanent remedy for any type of skin condition. Their positive effects stop when you discontinue their use.

Pregnancy – Retinoids should be avoided by pregnant and/or lactating women

Please Note: Aspect Dr products feature higher-level active ingredients to ensure maximum efficacy without a prescription. These products are only sold at select physician, skin clinic and spa locations. If your purchase contains any Aspect Dr products – our Skin Specialist is required to speak with you regarding the use of these products before your purchase can be authorised and shipped.

Our skincare products containing Vitamin A - Retinol

A Guide to Selecting the Best Skincare Products

Your skin is the bodies largest organ. Its major functions are protection, regulation and sensation. If our skin is not functioning to its full ability, these functions may become compromised.

It’s easy to get lost in the sea of skincare options these days. Not only are there doctors, dermatologists, skin professionals and aestheticians telling you this or that, you also have YouTubers, bloggers and beauty enthusiasts flooding you with thoughts and ideas too. It’s no wonder there are so many skin issues and concerns these days. When you don’t know where to start or what information is reliable, how is your skin really going to respond? More importantly, the use of incorrect skincare products can actually exasperate your condition or cause additional skin problems.

The use of professional active ingredient skincare is recommended. The “Professional” skincare products we recommend on this site can only be purchased through certified stockists and practitioners who are required to provide their professional advice on the application of these products, (as opposed to those you can purchase over the counter (OTC) in the department stores and supermarkets). These recommended professional products contain;-

  • higher levels of active ingredients to boost your skin’s health and correct skin problems
    (OTC product lines have less active ingredients to minimise the chance of irritation to protect the buyer)
  • are backed by clinical studies
    (not exaggerated unsubstantiated claims)
  • are made in small batches and distributed to trained or licensed skin therapists, spas and salons to be supplied with professional advice on their use
    (OTC products are made for the masses and sold in department stores and supermarkets)
  • contain small molecule technology for dermal and epidermal penetration
    (OTC products that lack active ingredients, have large molecules which are not able to penetrate the skin. When a product can’t properly penetrate the skin, it will only “superficially” treat and temporarily provide relief to skin concerns. This gives the illusion that the products are working without actually treating the skin. Professional lines use molecular technology that penetrates the skin producing clinical results)
  • are packaged in airless pump packs to eliminate spoilage of ingredients  when exposed to the air
  • have pH balanced and adjusted ingredients – skin functions at its prime when the natural pH is between 4.5 and 5.5.
    (Often OTC products don’t take pH into consideration and will leave the skin in an alkaline state. When the skin is alkaline, bacteria and free radicals (such as pollution) can invade the skin)
  • do not contain unnecessary fillers and preservatives

Professional skincare often has a reputation of being “too expensive” but that is more often than not actually far from the truth. A good professional line will price their products according to the concentration of active ingredients versus fillers and are actually overall more budget-friendly. It is a common mistake to overuse products which leads to the perception that professional skincare is more expensive. Our Skin Specialist will advise you on the appropriate amount and when to use the products according to your skin condition and type.

When used properly, professional skincare products will last longer and work better giving you the ultimate bang for your buck. OTC products will have a lower upfront cost but over time can be similar in price or more expensive than professional skincare and won’t actually repair the skin condition being treated.

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