Is the fountain of youth filled with vitamin A?

When the skin’s natural antioxidant system becomes damaged, it sends consumers on the hunt for skin care therapies to replenish lost nutrients. Usually, these consumers are looking for beauty products that combat the visible signs of aging or sun damage: thinning skin, loss of collagen and elastin, discoloration, blotchiness, fine lines, and wrinkles. That’s where vitamin A-derived molecules, or retinoids, come in. Retinoids are anti-aging superheroes that effectively combat every single one of those unhappy skin events, whether they occur naturally or are oxidative stress-induced, according to numerous studies. So, is the fountain of youth filled with Vitamin A? Pretty much.

Retinol is an unstable molecule, so cosmetics manufacturers must combine it with stabilizing ingredients in order to help it maintain its potency.

Vitamin A has been shown to…

Brighten complexion. Sun damage can result hyperpigmentation and an uneven skin tone. But Studies have shown that applying proper dosage levels of Vitamin A be an effective treatment for an uneven skin tone. Vitamin A has been shown to improve hyperpigmentation and encourage a more uniform skin complexion.

Enhance skin firmness. Collagen and elastin are responsible for keeping the skin looking taut and firm, and they are also one of UV radiation’s biggest targets. Consumers can defend against or even reverse this damage by boosting collagen formation and restoration with Vitamin A. One recent study showed that applying a moisturizer with Vitamin A increased collagen formation by 80%.

Improve skin texture. Over time, the skin thins as part of the body’s natural aging process. UV rays and other environmental stressors speed this up and cause the skin to become thinner, resulting in premature skin aging. Vitamin A has been shown to increase thickness in the epidermis and to increase the number of granular cell layers.

Minimize wrinkles. Thick wrinkles and texture changes can appear in the skin as a consequence of UV exposure and resultant oxidative stress. Studies have shown that Vitamin A can reduce fine lines and wrinkles to keep skin looking young. 

What’s available to beauty brands

The most common over-the-counter form of Vitamin A in skin care is retinol, which converts to the active retinoic acid in order to influence cellular processes in the dermis and epidermis. Retinol can be extremely effective, but it lends itself to formulation challenges. Retinoic acid is the most potent form of Vitamin A, and it’s available by prescription only.


Beauty brands have the opportunity to see tremendous growth if they are able to develop products with enhanced retinol stability.

Product development challenges and opportunities with Vitamin A

Because retinol is an unstable molecule, skin care manufacturers and cosmetics manufacturers must combine retinol with stabilizing ingredients in order to help it maintain its potency and deliver real results. In daytime beauty products, this challenge becomes even greater, because retinol breaks down when it is exposed to the sun. Beauty brands offering daytime products with retinol must also incorporate UV protection, or only a small fraction of the original retinol will be retained, making a product ineffective and placing brands at a disadvantage (Fig. 1).

The other main challenge with retinol is that it can be irritating, which means cosmetic manufacturers can’t simply make up for a lack of photostability by pumping a product with more retinol. Finding the right concentration of retinol to make a product both effective and comfortable is a huge challenge for beauty brands. But at the same time, beauty brands have the opportunity to see tremendous growth if they are able to develop products with enhanced retinol stability to give customers clear and immediate results without any irritation along the way.

Posted in Health, Science & Technology.