Retinoic acid is a nutrient produced in the body from Vitamin A that aids cell growth and development. Retinoic acid has long been used as an effective anti-aging product in the cosmetic aesthetics industry, and has proven to be one of the best anti-aging ingredients available.
Retinoic acid is the acid form of vitamin A, and is also known as all-trans retinoic acid or ATRA. Popular cream or gel products that use retinoids for anti-aging solutions include Aberela, Airol, Renova, Atralin, Retin-A, Avita, and Stieva-A retinoids. The most usable forms of Vitamin A include retinoic acid (acid form,) retinal (aldehyde form) and retinol (alcohol form.)
Three chemical compounds—retinoic acid, retinal, and retinyl ester—are collectively referred to as retinoids, and topical retinoids make up the beneficial base in skin rejuvenation. The Vitamin A in retinoids is absorbed through the skin, increasing the rate of cell regeneration and collagen production, which act together to shed old the damaged cells and replace them with healthy new cells, stimulate new collagen production, and create a more youthful appearance.
Retinol changes to all-trans retinoic acid within the keratinocytes—the predominant cell type in the outermost layer of the skin (epidermis.)—when it comes in contact with the skin and becomes active. It also stimulates new growth of tiny blood vessels, which improves circulation and increase the oxygen supply to the skin for a healthy glow. Topical retinol’s anti-aging properties treat sun-induced wrinkles and diminish age spots.
Retinaldehyde is another pro-drug that converts to retinoic acid, but has one less step involved in the conversion and produces the least amount of skin irritation of all Vitamin A derivatives, making it usable on all skin types.
Retinoid topicals should not be used when your skin is exposed to sunlight, which degrades the Vitamin A that is critical to the anti-aging process. Retinoid products are best used at night.
Vitamin A in all its forms works as a “cell-communicating” ingredient, which means it can actually tell a skin cell to behave and look like a normal, younger cell. This is an especially important ingredient when it comes to achieving anti-aging goals, because sun damaged skin produces unhealthy, abnormal, and inflexible skin cells.
For best results, results using any form of vitamin A/retinol are enhanced when used with other anti-aging products containing antioxidants, skin-repairing ingredients, and different cell-communicating ingredients like niacinamide. Achieving the best results when treating signs of aging is too complex for any one ingredient alone to address. Talk to your physician or medical practitioner to determine your best options for topical anti-aging products, or come and see Dr. Hardik Soni at Ethos Spa to see how we can help you.