Take Your Vitamin A - Topically!

There is more than one good reason to take your vitamins, several of which are particularly beneficial to the skin. A-vitamin (INCI: Retinol Palmitate) has over the years racked up a list of promising phrases from the scientific community such as "may be good for" and "shows promise in helping" and "appears to function well for" when mentioned in connection with skin care.

I'd love to tell you they've finally finished the study that unequivocally proves A-vitamin reduces wrinkles, but as far as I am informed, they're still researching it. They are also (still) looking at the benefits of vitamin A for eczema, psoriasis, cell regeneration, sunburn protection, and skin lightening (of liver/age spots). In all of these areas, it seems to be "showing promise" and "warranting further study".

My suppliers of Retinol Palmitate (which is A-vitamin for topical use) recommend it as an addition to face oils, creams, and lotions for skin repair as it 'helps to repair damaged connective tissue' (read: fights wrinkles and scars).

The only negatives I have been able to find about vitamin A were connected with reactions to overdosing. With the concentration I am using, it is advised not to exceed 2% of the product.

As A-vitamin is oil-soluble, it's been easiest for me to experiment with different doses (from 0.05% to 2%) in my face oils. I'll be quite honest: the higher the dose, the better the face oil seems to work at smoothing and regenerating the skin. So far so good.

The downside

My main problem with this fabulous, skin-loving ingredient is that it just doesn't smell very good. It's rather heavy-smelling – a bit reminiscent of something damp and musty. It's the same from every supplier I've ordered from. The higher the dose, the harder it is to mask the smell. And mask we must, as the smell just doesn't seem to lend itself to being included as an intregal part of a scent combination.

As I'm a fan of using the full 2% dosage, it has been a challenge to create a face oil (or cream or lotion) that offers a pleasant scent at the full dose. It has taken a lot of effort, time and determination (not to mention going through several batches of less-than-wonderful-smelling products because I couldn't bear to throw the costly mixture out), but, I am finally happy to report, it is doable.

You Can't Have Your Cake and Eat it Too if it's Store Bought

Due to the light scent of all of the commercially produced retinol-A creams I have seen, I would hazard a guess that their dosage of retinol palmitate is less than 0.05%. (This, and the fact that I am seeing the INCI name placed somewhere around the preservatives on the label, putting them in the "under 1%" category")


kt679 said…
1. My mother uses a dermatologist prescribed Retin-A product. Has to avoid sun, makes the skin red and dry until you are used to it, etc. What would you guess the dosage of a product like this is?
2. Have you noticed increased sensitivity with your 2% product?
3. Why is shipping between Denmark an US so expensive?? Waaaa!! I want some LisaLise product! I really like the idea of knowing the person who makes your product. Kinda like buying at local farmer's market and knowing face of farmer that grew food you eat.
LisaLise said…
Hi Katie,
1. Without having seen the ingredients label, I'm afraid I must hazard a guess. Fro your description: the avoiding sun, redness and "dry until you are used to it", it sounds a lot more to me like the product contains a healthy dose of Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA's for short. They are used for peeling). AHA's are to be found in dosages from a few drops to all of 10% depending on length of use and whether or not it is a leave-on product (like cream) or a mask (which is washed off after a short time). With any use of these acids, you get the same warnings as you mention. I'm sure the product contained retinol-A, but I'm thinking it wasn't the reason for the warnings.
2. I haven't noticed any increase in sensitivity in myself.
3. Write me an email and we can discuss this further. :)