Vitamin C

Vitamin C, also known as L ascorbic acid, is vital for the maintenance of lustrous, healthy skin. It helps to protect the skin from damaging ultraviolet rays and from the ravages of airborne pollutants. It stimulates the skin to produce collagen, at the same time inhibiting the enzymes that degrade collagen. It can neutralise reactive oxygen species ROS which cause damage to the DNA. It can also rejuvenate vitamin E.

Many cosmetic houses claim that their skin care solutions contain vitamin C. Vitamin C is an unstable ingredient as it is hard to accumulate in worthwhile amounts in the formulation. Because of this, some cosmetic producers put very small concentrations of the vitamin in their products so that they can include it in the list of ingredients that make up the formulation.

Research suggests that the ideally formulations should contain between ten and twenty per cent of the vitamin. In concentrations of over twenty per cent, the benefits of vitamin C actually decrease.

Frequently cosmetic products contain derivatives such as ascorbyl palmate which are far less effective than pure vitamin C. If you are looking for the most effective product you should ask your dermatologist to recommend that contain the vitamin in the correct concentrations.

Vitamin A

There are several vitamin A derivatives. available in shops and pharmacies. These derivatives are known as retinoids. Of these, only tretinoin can cross into the skin’s cell receptors. This means that derivatives must be changed to tretinoin before they have any effect on the skin cells.

The three best known of the non-prescription retinoids are retinol (vitamin A), retinyl palmitate (a vitamin A ester oil) and retinaldehyde (retinal). Retinyl palmitate, the most commonly used vitamin A derivative, is converted to retinoic acid, or tretinoin, through retinol and retinaldehyde.

Of the retinoids in question, retinyl palmitate is the easiest to formulate, but it is the one we like the least. Retinol and retinaldehyde are effective and easy to obtain which makes them a great alternative to prescription tretinoin. These retinoids help to create collagen, prevent pigmentation problems, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and help to protect the skin from sun damage.

Of all the vitamins on the market today, the anti-ageing benefits of vitamin A have been best researched. It is our opinion that everyone who has reached the age of thirty should use vitamin A to help the skin to produce collagen.

Topical treatments containing Vitamin A should be introduced slowly as some people may find that they irritate the skin. It is best to experiment and find the frequency of use that suits your skin. The best time to apply vitamin A treatment is in the evening.