Vitamin A? Is it an Add-On or is it Essential?

Many of us consider adding vitamin A to our skincare regimen something similar to topping off our Frappuccino with a heaping of whipped cream, but is that true?  Nope! Vitamin A is in fact an essential that keeps the skin healthy, normalized and resilient and delays the progression of aging skin.

Premature skin aging and skin abnormalities are largely caused by sun-induced vitamin A deficiency. This makes it crucial for us to replenish and nourish our skin with adequate levels of vitamin A. This powerful antioxidant works at a much more profound level by affecting gene expression and causing enhanced collagen production, accelerated cellular turnover, smoothing of the skin and an evening of pigmentation.

There are various forms of vitamin A you may find on the ingredients list of a product: retinyl palmitate, retinyl propionate, retinyl acetate, retinol, and retinaldehyde. It is important to note all derivatives of vitamin A must convert to its bioactive form, retinoic acid. They differ by their strength, concentration, stability and number of conversion steps to retinoic acid.

Make sure you introduce vitamin A gradually by incorporating higher strengths and concentrations in your skincare over time. If you try to introduce a high level too quickly, your skin will object with an itchy ‘retinoic reaction’. Paradoxically, the more depleted the skin is of vitamin A, the more likely it is to react badly when it’s introduced. That is why we recommend our patients to start low and go slow when it comes to vitamin A application.

We’ve put together a simple Vitamin A Application Guide to help you incorporate this powerful antioxidant in your skincare routine.



Begin with the AVST 1 Moisturiser, and gradually move up the Step-Up System (from levels 1 – 5) to build your skin’s tolerance towards optimal levels of vitamin A, C and E and other essential nutrients. Think of this moisturiser as a multivitamin for the skin; the skin needs to eat healthy in order to stay healthy.

Once you get to Environ AVST Level 3 Moisturiser and the skin has been used to medium levels of vitamin A, start incorporating the Environ Retinol 1 Serum in your skincare routine. Combining various forms of vitamin A from the Moisturiser and Serum will saturate the skin with higher concentrations of vitamin A for more noticeable anti aging benefits and improvements in various skin conditions.

After the skin has become comfortable with at least 2-3 bottles of the Retinol 1 Serum, move up to Retinol 2 to increase the strength of the retinol.



Vitamin A and Hyaluronic Acid
Vitamin A helps to accelerate cellular turnover, boosts collagen production and supports the skin’s natural moisturizing factor (NMF), while hyaluronic acid increases moisture retention for a plump, glowing complexion. Together the duo will help combat the signs of aging skin and promote long-term skin health.

Vitamin A and Sunscreen

Many people may think that it isn’t safe to use retinol during the daytime and this is absolutely not true. Vitamin A in general, is sensitive to sunlight, so if you applied a retinol product and exposed your skin to the sun immediately, the retinol would be less effective. So, don’t forget to wear sunscreen before you leave the house in the morning!

This is a general guide to help you get started. If you have questions about incorporating vitamin A in your skincare regimen, please book a complimentary virtual consultation with one of our skin experts today!


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