Introducing vitamin A to clients who have never used it before
Q: How can I introduce vitamin A to clients who have never used it before?
Vitamin A is the single most important molecule you can use on your client’s skin. It plays a vital role in the metabolic processes and DNA activity, influencing up to 1,000 genes. This means it’s responsible for the way cells behave, including how they differentiate into specialist cells and mature into fully functional, healthy cells.
However, it’s important clients understand the different forms of vitamin A and how they affect the skin. The three key types to tell your clients about are:
- Retinoic acid: This is the metabolically active form of vitamin A and the one that does all the work on the DNA of our cells. It’s prescription -only and can be extremely irritating when used topically.
- Retinol: the alcohol form which is used to transport vitamin A in the bloodstream. It’s very unstable and can be quite irritating on skin, often causing it to peel.
- Retinyl palmitate and retinyl acetate: these milder, more stable, fat-soluble forms of vitamin A are easily tolerated by skin and are stored in the liver, skin and in cells all over the body. In fact, more than 80% of vitamin A found in the skin is in this form.
To avoid reactions, start clients on a low level of vitamin A and build up the dosage – at Environ we use a step-up programme of one (the lowest level) to five. Keep them on the low-level prescription for a minimum of three months and then increase it according to their skin’s response.
If a client experiences a retinoid reaction, common signs being redness and peeling, it means their skin is especially deficient in vitamin A, so they actually need it the most.
Remind clients that this reaction will pass and encourage them to take vitamin A supplements to help skin acclimatise internally as well as externally.
Explain to them that feeding the skin from the inside is just as important as fortifying it from the outside.
Tracy Tamaris is co-founder of the International Institute for Anti-Ageing (IIAA), which distributes vitamin A-rich skincare range Environ, Jane Iredale make-up and Advanced Nutrition Programme. Tamaris oversees the company’s training strategy.