ASCP Skin Deep


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expert advice INGREDIENTS Skin's Superhero When it comes to fighting skin care concerns, look to vitamin A by Lauren Snow When applied topically, vitamin A works like a superhero on the skin. It is able to reduce the most common skin care concerns, including acneic conditions, keratosis pilaris, hyperpigmentation, and fine lines and wrinkles—all at the same time! As vitamin A and its derivatives are among the most effective substances for slowing the aging process, it was also the first vitamin approved by the Food and Drug Administration as an antiaging agent that changes the appearance of the skin's surface. 1 INCREASING CELLULAR TURNOVER Vitamin A penetrates the stratum corneum and speeds up the cell life cycle by reacting with receptors inside keratinocytes. It also works as a cell communicator, telling the body to shed cells faster and create healthy new ones to replace them, effectively clearing out clogged pores and sloughing off damaged cells. IMPROVING SKIN HEALTH Vitamin A also works to strengthen the protective barrier of the epidermis and reduces excessive transepidermal water loss. It is credited with improving skin health and repairing the overall structure of skin. At the same time, vitamin A inhibits collagenase, so collagen and elastin production is stimulated, producing firmer, plumper skin. TYPES OF VITAMIN A What can get confusing about topical vitamin A is not its effectiveness or its side effects, but how many different types there are. For skin care, specifically, there are several variations available for topical applications—with two main differences as far as estheticians are concerned. There are vitamin A derivatives available to estheticians, and there are others only available by prescription. As a whole, retinoids are a group of synthetic compounds that are derived from vitamin A. Retinoids can be found in many products and are available for use by estheticians, in many over-the-counter formulations, and by physicians. Retinol Most frequently used in esthetic treatments, retinol is stable in product formulations and well tolerated. Finding the optimal concentration to balance the A vitamin

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