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Vitamin A: New Applications and Outcomes

Sam Dhatt 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

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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Editor’s note: As always, Skin Inc. magazine recommends that skin care professionals obtain the proper training before offering any new treatments in their skin care facilities.

Author’s note: Studies indicate that a daily dose of 50,000 IU provides safe protection against sun exposure and skin cancer, though it should be noted that excess doses of vitamin A can result in negative side effects, including hair loss, dry skin, nausea and liver damage, and pregnant women should not exceed more than 10,000 IU daily without a doctor’s supervision. Recommend that clients consult with their physicians before starting any supplement program.

Since Albert Kligman, MD, PhD, the late renowned dermatologist, patented the retinoic acid drug tretinoin in 1973, vitamin A is still recognized as the single most proven go-to ingredient for improving everything from acne, wrinkles and collagen synthesis to hyperpigmentation. Even today, following the advent of peptides, peels and stem cells, vitamin A and its retinoid-derivative family continue to reign as the unequivocal gold standard of skin care, particularly in treating photodamage. This tried-and-true ingredient continues to evolve with new applications and outcomes coming to light, helping it continue its reign as one of the most potent ingredients in the skin care professional’s arsenal.

How retinoids work

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For Best Results ...

Although retinoids offer multiple skin benefits, many derivatives are light-sensitive and unstable materials. Follow these usage tips for best results.

Apply in the evening. Retinoids are sensitive to sunlight and degrade in light, and they also can make the skin more sensitive to sunburn; therefore, retinoids are best applied at night. Counsel clients to pay extra attention to avoiding sun exposure or, at least, wear a good broad-spectrum sunscreen during the day while using retinoids.

Avoid irritating ingredients. Because retinoids can be irritating to the skin by themselves, it’s wise to avoid combining them with other potential irritants, such as benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, resorcinol and salicylic acid.

Pay attention to packaging. The light-sensitive nature of retinoids makes packaging a key factor in the preparation and filling of a retinoid product. Retinol, for instance, is extremely unstable in heat, light and air, making an airless or aluminum tube with a narrow opening a good choice.

Stick with the program. Retinoids often create flakiness and redness among first-time users. Counsel clients to “pulse” their use by applying every other day to build up to daily use. Generally, it takes about three to six months of daily use to see the full effects of nonprescription retinoids.

Treatment How-to: Retinol Facial with Dermal Needling

This facial treatment helps reduce and prevent pigmentation; brightens and evens skin tone; reduces fine lines and wrinkles; and soothes and reduces irritation.

Duration: 60 minutes

Cost: $125

Contraindications:Do not perform on clients who are pregnant/nursing, or have active acne or compromised skin.

Supplies and equipment needed:

Treatment table

Rubber gloves

Gauze pads

Dermal needle device—0.3 mm

Products needed:

Glycolic cleanser

Alcohol/glycolic acid prepping solution

Retinol (4%)

Loose powder with SPF 30

Step 1: Complete a thorough consultation with the client and have her sign a consent form.

Step 2: Emulsify the cleanser with warm water. Apply to the face, and then remove. Repeat.

Step 3: Complete a thorough skin analysis of cleansed skin.

Step 4: Place gloves on hands, and prepare the skin with the prepping solution by applying the solution to a gauze pad. Wipe the face with the gauze pad, beginning with the forehead, followed by the cheeks and nose, and work down and around the face. Avoid the eye area, ears and lips. Allow the application to dry for two minutes.

Step 5: Using the dermal needle device—0.3 mm, start to roll at the forehead, remember to roll vertical, horizontal and diagonal in both directions. You should roll 4–5 passes in each direction until even erythema is achieved. Gauge the amount of pressure you should use depending upon your client’s sensitivity and skin response. Any wrinkles or sagging skin must be held taut, and the skin should be stretched with your fingers and flattened before rolling. Divide face left and right, and repeat for each side.

Step 6: Apply the retinol 4% to the skin. This enhances the overall results of the dermal needling treatment and expedites the peeling process. Do not apply moisture to the skin for five hours after the peel application.

Step 7: Apply loose powder with SPF 30 on the skin for appropriate sun protection.

Step 8: Have client schedule a follow-up appointment in 7–10 days to assess the skin’s progress through a peel and hydrating facial. Provide the client with post-treatment home care products and written instructions. A gentle cleanser to aid in the healing process, a strengthening serum to help maintain and reconstruct collagen, a hydrating moisturizer that contains antioxidants to assist is the skin’s natural healing process and finally a physical sunscreen with a protection of an SPF 30 or higher should be included. This treatment should be done in a series of three, 3–4 weeks apart, so be sure to schedule additional appointments before the client leaves.

















Credit: Photos courtesy of DermaQuest Therapy.


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