Beauty Store Business

NOV 2014

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Page 53 of 75

52 November 2014 | Skincare Spotlight IT IS A GENERALLY ACCEPTED FACT THAT RETINOIDS / vitamin A derivatives are a (if not "the") gold standard ingredient in skin care in terms of antiaging. It is also a gen- erally accepted truth that using retinoids can be irritating to the skin. In this column, we will review some definitions, look at how retinoids affect the skin and speak with Dr. Luigi L. Polla—Switzerland's premier dermatologist who is also in our family's business—about tips to share with your customers to help them optimally incorporate retinoid-based products in their skincare routines. FORMS Vitamin A and its derivatives exist in various forms when used in cosmetic formulations. The most widely used forms include retinol, retinyl esters (such as retinyl acetate, retinyl propionate, and retinyl palmitate) and retinaldehyde. Through various enzymatic reactions in the skin, all of these forms are ultimately converted to all-trans-retinoic acid (also known as tretinoin), which is the active form of vitamin A in the skin. Retinol and its esters are insoluble in water but solu- ble in organic oils and solvents. Retinol is in the form of light yellow crystals. Esters such as acetate or palmitate of vitamin A are yellow oils. Hence, retinol-based formu- lations will often have a yellowish tint to them. Products containing retinoic acid require a medical prescription. Think of such brand names as Aberela, Airol, A-Ret, Atralin, Avita, Retacnyl, Refissa, Renova, Retin-A, Retino-A, ReTrieve or Stieva-A. The most com- mon strengths are 0.025%, 0.05% and 0.1%. In contrast, products containing retinol, proretinol and retinaldehyde do not (meaning these are the forms typically found in over-the-counter cosmetic creams and serums). The brands offering products containing such ingredients are too numerous to list—indeed, most skincare brands will have this ingredient in their product portfolios. BENEFITS At the microscopic level, retinoic acid enhances cell division in the epidermis, replacing damaged and unor- ganized cells with new organized cells. It also reduces melanin production. In the dermis, new collagen and elastic fibers are formed. Thus, fine wrinkling, rough- ness and uneven pigmentation are improved. The skin becomes visibly smoother and thicker. Retinoic acid can cause visible and significant dimin- ishing, and even disappearance, of fine wrinkles in the skin. Brownish-yellow or light-brown lesions (often referred to as age spots or liver spots) can lighten and sometimes even disappear. The beneficial effect of treatment with retinoic acid is gradual and prolonged, and significant improvement may be apparent only after several months. Maximal improvement occurs within the first year of treatment. Anti-Acne Benefits Retinoic acid is also effective in decreasing acne blemishes— indeed, this was its first intended use in dermatology (in 1969 by James E. Fulton Jr. and Albert Kligman). Retinoic acid ensures an effective turnover of cells within the follicle with more effective disposal of dead cells. It, thereby, prevents the formation of "plugs" that block the opening of the follicle, thus preventing the formation of blackheads, whiteheads and pimples. Antiaging Benefits Retinoic acid has also been found effective in the treatment of photoaging and aging skin. One of its key antiaging benefits is an increase in the skin's thickness. While you may not think of "thick skin" as something to strive towards, thicker skin (brought about by increased collagen) is directly cor- related to a decrease in fine lines and wrinkles. Indeed, retinoic acid both inhibits production of collagenase and stimulates the production of glycos- aminoglycans in the skin. Retinoic acid also stimulates growth of keratinocytes and fibroblasts and stimulates extracellular matrix production by fibroblasts. The con- clusion: a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles CHALLENGES There are definite challenges when working with retinoic acid. These include: Instability, especially to oxygen and light. Look for products packaged in tubes that are opaque and impermeable to oxygen. Tubes are typically pref- erable to jars (given the smaller opening and, thus, diminished access to air and light). A Review of Retinoids Here are defi nitions, how retinoids affect the skin and six tips to share from Dr. Luigi L. Polla (her father). by Ada S. Polla Image courtesy of Ada S. Polla "I recommend retinoids … typically to those who are 40-years-old and over. Younger skin types tend to be even more sensitive to potential side effects …"

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