5 mins


Often referred to as ‘the gold standard for anti-ageing skincare,’ vitamin A has long been a hot ingredient in the cosmeceutical skincare industry


Vitamin A based skincare is known to improve the signs of photoageing, stimulate cellular turnover, push fresh cells to the surface for a youthful-looking complexion, enhance collagen production, and help block the formation of pigment for much more eventoned skin.

Although there are many forms of vitamin A, it’s important to understand the conversion process that all molecules undergo in order to be used on the skin. “The only form that makes any direct changes to skin is retinoic acid, which acts on the cellular DNA through various receptors,” says Dr Gabriell Prinsloo, medical director for the International Institute of Anti-Ageing (IIAA). 

She explains that the natural conversion pathway for vitamin A in skin is: retinyl palmitate to retinol, to retinal, and finally to retinoic acid.

“All forms are converted to be stored as retinyl esters when they are applied to the skin, and they all undergo the same process to convert them to retinoic acid,” she adds.

There are many forms of vitamin A but the ones most commonly used in skincare are retinol (alcohol form), retinoic acid (active form), retinaldehyde (aldehyde form), retinyl palmitate and retinyl acetate (ester forms), and retinyl retinoate (an ester of all-trans retinoic acid and all-trans retinol).

Beauté Pacifique

Danish medical-grade skincare brand Beauté Pacifique lists two items as its star vitamin A products. Firstly, the Symphonique Eye Zone Filler Gel is a clinically proven advanced anti-age gel that rejuvenates the eye area in just 15 minutes by filling in wrinkles and fine lines.

Says Wayne La Grange of Beauté Pacifique Africa: “This product’s high molecular weight gives it a particular affinity for the skin and interesting surface properties for filling in wrinkles, with a six-pack of highly active vitamin A types for maximum ant-age effect, additionally supported by both Botulinum toxin mimicking and anti-oxidative ingredients. It stimulates the synthesis of collagen and elastin for a re-densifying effect of the dermis and generates a tightening effect on the collagen fibre network.”

Secondly, the clinically proven Symphonique Night Crème is also composed of no less than six different types of vitamin A, resulting in a rapid collagen network repair. La Grange describes this as ‘a genuine anti-ageing effect plus a novel preventive maintenance effect’ that provides your skin’s inside with a depot of repair-ready vitamin A cocktail. This is possible thanks to Beauté Pacifique’s patented squalane-based nanotechnology, by which the different types of vitamin A can travel all the way to the deepest layers of your skin, and rebuild lost youth and strengthen the elastic fibre network.

All this results in a distinctive rejuvenation effect. 

“It effectively remodels the epidermis/ dermis by active stimulation of the collagen/elastin production and provides antiinflammatory and antioxidant properties. It increases the thickness of the stratum corneum and makes the skin tighter and more orderly, and better at preventing the potential damage to collagen caused by UV-light, plus it makes the skin more elastic. All the other ingredients complete the recipe’s ability to work beneficially and holistically, thus nurturing your skin.”


With spring signifying renewal and rejuvenation, one ingredient that can truly work magic on your skin during this season is retinol. Says Ruan Winter, marketing manager for local skincare brand Vitaderm: “Retinol can address multiple concerns such as hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles and skin texture.”

He notes that retinol can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, which is why it’s often recommended for use in the evening. “Starting retinol in spring allows your skin to acclimate to the ingredient and minimise the risk of sunburn,” explains Winter. “Retinol’s exfoliating and rejuvenating properties can also help reverse winter damage, leaving your skin looking refreshed and revitalised for spring.”

Consistency is key with retinol, stresses Winter. “Over time, retinol can provide cumulative benefits, such as reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The Retinol Serum is Vitaderm’s most rejuvenating serum. This tri-active skin-perfecting formulation contains a 2.5% blend of vitamin A derivatives, which offer super antioxidant properties that protect cell DNA and enhance skin regeneration. The Retinol Serum should only be applied at night to a clean face and, when using any retinol product, it’s essential to use a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 as it can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.”

Winter adds that retinol can be incorporated into a well-rounded skincare routine alongside other ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, and sunscreen and when used in combination with these products, retinol can enhance their effectiveness and boost overall skincare results.

“If your client is new to using retinol formulations, it’s recommended you perform a patch test and introduce this product into your skincare routine gradually. Vitaderm’s Retinol Step-Up Programme will show you how,” he concludes.


Two products in the RégimA Anti-Ageing armoury are loaded with new high tech ingredients wrapped around retinol and other natural vitamin A ingredients, that together present a powerful defence against the march of time.

Says RégimA’s Jacqui Faucitt: “Inflammation and free radical damage are the two main causes of skin ageing and ageing diseases. The RégimA Omega High Impact Night Complex is a technologically advanced product that has high impact on the outer horny layer of skin that gives us wrinkles, pigmentation and a dull ageing look. By combining natural fruit acids, lactic, malic and citric acid with reparative elastin stimulating peptides, you promote healthy collagen synthesis. Retinol, plus natural vitamin A from blackcurrant seed oil, is loaded with omega essential anti-inflammatory action. This is a combination that makes this formulation unique and promotes gradual natural exfoliation and healthy cell renewal and rejuvenation, revealing youthful restoration.”

The RégimA Quantum Elastin-Collagen Revival uses an innovative biomimetic collagen repair complex, combined with advanced peptide technologies that support the activation of the cutaneous repair process with the aid of retinol, plus its natural counterparts, blackcurrant seed oil and rosehip oil. This synergistic activity actually repairs and strengthens the dermal collagen support system, resulting in a multi-faceted improvement in the tone and elasticity of the skin and a reduction and smoothing of facial lines and wrinkles.


From Six Skincare, the highly active Vitamin A Serum smooths skin texture, regenerates sun damaged skin, and increases moisture balance and water retention in the skin.

The product is positioned as a powerful and effective anti-ageing solution with a formulation that is so intense and effective, that it is recommended to use only as a seasonal booster to restore skin to turn back time.

This article appears in Professional Beauty October Issue

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