Choosing the Right Vitamin A Product for Your Skin

Choosing the Right Vitamin A Product for Your Skin

Vitamin A is such a wonderful active but has the potential to be very sensitising when not used correctly, or to the correct dosage.

There are 3 main reasons why choosing the right Vitamin A product is so difficult and they come down to:

  • The type of active Vitamin A within a product
  • The strength of Vitamin A within the product
  • The delivery system in which the Vitamin A formulated for skin’s penetration.

Confused as to what that last one means? Listen up.

Not only do different products include different quantities of their chosen Vitamin A ingredient, but when it comes to professional-grade skincare, there are different types of delivery systems to ensure your vitamin properly penetrates, making real change on a deeper dermal level and not just superficially.

“Vitamin A is quite a volatile ingredient,” says James.

“Often more affordable skincare consumer brands use very low doses of a weak form of vitamin A to reduce their chances of reactions on a customer’s skin. When it comes to professional-grade skincare, i.e. those you can purchase at salons and skin clinics, the ingredients used are much stronger, of a higher quality, and have been reduced in their molecular size to ensure they are penetrating deeply enough to ensure they are really working. They also often include delivery systems - some ingredients can’t penetrate the dermis without being encapsulated in some type of delivery system, and therefore just sit on the surface.”


“Vitamin A products are often encapsulated in a delivery system not only to make sure they penetrate, but to make them less volatile and reduce the chances of a reaction. Some very clever encapsulation systems are slow-release, so the active ingredient gets released into the skin over a longer period of time."


This is more beneficial for sensitive skins who might experience a reaction from too much of that particular active ingredient at once - including retinol.”

James Vivian

Thanks James, and keep reading folks because one of our products below features a slow release system, and is perfect for sensitive skin types…

Here at James Vivian, we know and trust 7 products centred around retinol pretty intimately.
Below is our offering of products according to skin type, level of Vitamin A tolerance and what concerns they target specifically...

For those with sensitive skin or starting out their retinol journey for the first time, we have Calm.
Brought to us by Osmosis, this has a patented retinaldehyde complex which means the retinol is released slowly, which diminishes the chance of a negative reaction.
Its gentle enough to be used twice daily (which is not something we would recommend with any other retinoid), so is perfect for a skin who is trying to slowly strengthen and overcome it’s hypersensitivity.

For skins prone to congestion, acne and breakouts (whatever you like to call them) we recommend Intensive Clarity Treatment by PCA Skin. This product has a high concentration of Vitamin A so we will instruct you to introduce it incrementally and very slowly to ensure it’s used to the best of its ability.
Teamed up with a complex of niacinamide (Vitamin B) and salicylic acid, this trifecta of ingredients make it a powerful acne fighting product.

When introducing Vitamin A to normal skin types, we absolutely adore the AlphaRet Duo from our friends at Skinbetter Science.
Available in two potencies the 0.5% AlphaRet Overnight Cream is perfect for those new to the world of retinol, and the Intensive 1.0% AlphaRet Overnight Cream is fabulous for those better versed and seeking a graduation from the first.

The graduation from one level to the next is something we love to do with all clients. Once a skin is responding well to a product and showing signs of improvement, we suggest the next level up to supercharge these results.
The formulation of both AlphaRet products is a 2-in-1 retinol and Alpha Hydroxy Acids cocktail serums, that help to not only feed the skin with retinol but help to exfoliate the skin with the help of AHAs. This mix aids in the signs of pigmentation, light congestion and overall skin texture.

Then we arrive at the trilogy of Vitamin A from Cosmedix: the trio of Refine, Refine Plus and Refine RX.
We’ve been relying on this 3-step system for a really long time at the clinic and are just as impressed with these products years on.

Each of the serums are similar in when it comes to ingredients but grade up in terms of Vitamin A concentration.
The formula itself is a patented Vitamin A complex AGP from Cosmedix, and we rely on them specifically from an age-management perspective as well as for our vascular concerned clients here at James Vivian.

While we may have covered our retinoid products in some depth, we always recommend you consult with your clinician before making any skincare purchases (especially when it comes to Vitamin A).

You can reach one of our Dermal Therapists here for a chat on these prods, or anything else.

Once you've settled on your perfect retinol product, click here on tips to successfully integrate it without your skin freaking out.