The Beauty Alphabet: R is for Retinol & Retinoids

What is Vitamin A?

Vitamin A is a group of unsaturated (carbon-carbon double bonds/triple bonds) nutritional organic compounds, retinol being one of them. It is a fat-soluble vitamin that is good for healthy vision, skin, bones, and other tissues.

“Vitamin A (retinol) is an essential nutrient needed in small amounts by humans for the normal functioning of the visual system; growth and development; and maintenance of epithelial cellular integrity, immune function, and reproduction. These dietary needs for vitamin A are normally provided for as preformed retinol (mainly as retinyl ester) and pro-vitamin A carotenoids.”

Food and Agriculture Organization

Basically, vitamin A is a nutrient that is involved in many biochemical functionalities of the human body that can help human bones and tissues.

What does retinol do?

Skin loses elasticity and thickness from age and photo aging and can have difficulty reproducing dead cells. Retinol works in epithelial skin cells by promoting faster growth rates — this means more fresh skin, which makes it a great anti-aging ingredient. Retinol is an antioxidant that can improve the appearance of UV-damaged skin and counteract skin aging. One of the downsides to retinol is that for some, it may cause skin peeling and redness for those with sensitive skin.

What to look for on the label 🏷 ?

  • Retinol
  • Vitamin A
  • Retinyl Palmitate

Retinyl Palmitate is the ester form of retinol and Palmitic Acid. It functions as a skin conditioning agent. When introduced topically, retinyl palmitate converts to retinol and then to Retinoic acid. There have been concerns about cancer-causing potential of sunscreens that contain retinyl palmitate. The Journal of American Academy of Dermatology determined that there is no evidence that the ingredient being included in sunscreens can cause cancer in humans.

  • Granactive Retinoid — INCI: Dimethyl Isosorbide, Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate

Granactive Retinoid is probably my favorite form of vitamin A for a number of reasons. The first is that the ester is combined with Dimethyl Isosorbide. Dimethyl Isosorbide is notorious for enhancing the delivery of active ingredients to the stratum corneum (and it is extremely SAFE). This ingredient has even been used in oral care for tartar and plaque with great efficacy and safety results. Therefore, you can probably guess that the retinoid is going to penetrate the skin by acting as a carrier — this generally means better results.

According to Grant Industries, Granactive retinoid is unique because it processes innate Retinoid activity, binding directly with retinoid receptors without the need for metabolic breakdown to more biologically active forms, say retinol and retinyl palmitate. The binding of retinoid receptors to retinoids can induce cell proliferation, biosynthesis of extracellular proteins and glycans, and improved cellular turnover. It’s been shown to offer less irritation potential than retinol, making it an alternative choice for a more gentle and effective anti-aging retinoid.

In the last year, I’ve met with a sales representative that showcased data for Granactive Retinoid. Although I cannot recall most of the data that was showcased to me, what I do remember is that I was impressed and overall convinced. This is a fairly expensive product per kg, which is to be expected with the extensive amount of data that was put into the product.

Further Reading

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