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Vitamin A: New Applications and Outcomes

By: Sam Dhatt
Posted: March 29, 2013, from the April 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
Vitamin A continues to evolve, helping it remain one of the most potent ingredients in a skin care professional's arsenal.

Vitamin A continues to evolve, helping it remain one of the most potent ingredients in a skin care professional's arsenal.

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Retinaldehyde presents another viable option for acne and anti-aging formulations. A 2010 study published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal concluded that, according to the current data, cosmeceuticals containing retinaldehyde had been shown in large randomized controlled trials to have the most beneficial affect on aging skin among the retinoid-based cosmeceuticals.2 In addition, in a large international study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology in 2011, researchers found that a combination of retinaldehyde and hyaluronic acid applied over three months showed significant improvement to photoaging, with more than a 30% improvement to elasticity and hyperpigmentation.3

For acne-sufferers, retinaldehyde may be a prime choice among retinoids for its less irritating profile and compatibility with other potentially irritating acne treatments, including alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and benzoyl peroxide. A 2007 Dermatology study showed favorable outcomes with a topical 0.1% retinaldehyde combined with 6% glycolic acid in treating acne.4, Another study published in Dermatology demonstrated that retinaldehyde at an 0.05% level may also offer some antimicrobial activity against Propionibacterium acnes bacteria.5

Improving outcomes

Although retinoids offer many benefits to the skin, they often come at a price. The more potent forms are unstable and light-sensitive, creating formulation issues in the wrong hands. Many clients also find retinoids—particularly retinoic acid—irritate their skin with daily use. An Italian study published last year in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment noted that irritation was the most frequent side effect of topical retinoids, occurring in 85% of nonprescription retinoid users and up to 95% in patients treated with tretinoin. As a result, 15% of the patients terminate their tretinoin treatment for this reason.6 In that study, the researchers found that short contact therapy with a 0.05% tretinoin cream applied once daily for 30 minutes during an average 12-week period demonstrated significant clinical improvement in acne treatment with very good tolerability and, as a result, improved compliance.

To overcome irritation and stability issues, retinol chemists have also used specialized delivery forms that encapsulate active retinol in a polymer system to slowly “feed” the skin a more stable, bioactive form with minimal irritation. Chemists formulating with retinol must take special care to process the batch in a special controlled environment, with yellow lights and nitrogen gas-blanketing to reduce oxidation.

New research is revealing fresh insights regarding different combinations of ingredients. For instance, a soy-based active complex known as Allosteris from Barnet Products Corporation, makes the perfect partner with retinol by increasing its efficiency at a lower usage percentage, thus decreasing the potential for irritation. Whereas a formulation without Allosteris may need a 0.5% or higher level of retinol, formulators can use a 0.03% retinol to 0.5% Allosteris combination and achieve comparable results. Allosteris improves the skin’s reception to signaling molecules, such as retinol and peptides, allowing these molecules to enhance or inhibit a protein or enzyme. On its own in a 1% concentration, in vivo results showed Allosteris increased hydration, decreased wrinkles, improved clarity and firmness, and reduced flakiness in the skin.

The Skin Care Ingredient Handbook is so much more than an ingredient dictionary. You will learn about cellular functions and skin aging; skin care trends for ethnic skin, scalp and hair products, BB creams, suncreens; active versus functional ingredients, natural, organic, and synthetic ingredients; OTC drugs; INCI names, antioxidants and DNA and how to read labels. Did we mention the newest ingredients are listed?

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