Vitamin A derivatives and Alpha/Beta hydroxyl acids hold the most significant data supporting their anti aging properties. Both topicals can provide therapeutic improvement in facial wrinkles, skin texture, discoloration and rejuvenation.
Vitamin A derivatives are prescription strength medications such as Renova (tretinoin ) and over-the-counter derivatives such as retinol. Tretinoin and Retinol increase collagen production, normalize abnormal sun damaged cells and increase cell turnover rates. However, retinols are essentially a weaker form of tretinoin due to the fact that when a retinol is applied to the skin, it must be converted into tretinoin by a skin enzyme. This makes a retinol product less aggressive because of the extra step.
Alpha and beta-hydroxy are derived from fruit, milk and grape acids. The most well known acid in this group is glycolic acid. Derived from sugar cane, it has been compared to Vitamin A for its ability to improve sun damage and increase cell turnover.
Vitamin A and Alpha Beta Hydroxy acids are both effective renewal products for the skin. I suggest using the Vitamin A or retinol once daily, always at night after you cleanse your face. Apply a thin layer about one hour after you cleanse and allow to dry. Try using this product alone at first to see if your skin can tolerate it. Give it a good two to three months of use. Your skin may be dry and flaky in the beginning but then should normalize. You can use the Vitamin A or retinol up to 6 months and then take a break. Vitamin A and retinols can thin the skin if the product contains corticosteriods, which many do, so over using is not recommended. When you have finished your first six-month cycle of Vitamin A or retinol, switch to using the Glycolic acid as your renewal product. Depending on the percentage of the glycolic acid (usually 5% or 10%), you may be able to use it in your morning routine and at night. See how your face fares by using it in the beginning just once a day. Then, if your not too irritated or dry, use it in the a.m. and p.m. After six months you can switch back to the Vitamin A renewal protocol.
Be aware that both these products can make you more sun sensitive, so always wear sunscreen. Also, tell your skincare provider about your use of these products if you're planning on getting a chemical peel or laser treatment. Some protocols for these services suggest that you stop using the Vitamin A products two weeks before a service is performed.
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