Despite a life of wearing sunscreen, you may get to a time when you discover sun protection alone is not enough, and it’s certainly not foolproof. Sure, it’s helped enormously, and you’re glad you committed all those years ago.
But even so, signs of dehydration, lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and changes in skin texture and tone, often referred to as sun damage, can make their unwanted appearance.
It doesn’t seem fair, especially if you’ve been diligent with protecting your skin from the sun; you might feel duped. It’s just that few of us can escape the sun all the time. Childhood fun in the sun, intermittent or accidental sun exposure and genetics all play a crucial factor in the condition of your skin as you age.
For me, armed with the knowledge that 80 per cent of skin ageing is caused by the sun, applying sun protection becomes a daily activity I’d never be without.
But what more could be done to stop sun damage, and is it too late to do anything once it’s begun to reveal itself?
Put your white coat on!
Yep, we’re getting into a bit of science. When your skin is exposed to UV light, the molecular structure of the skin undergoes significant alterations and essential nutrients, among them the vitamins A, C, and B3, which ensure your skin’s proper function and health become depleted and the DNA of the skin is affected, leading to various dysfunctions within the skin.
In this article, I want to delve into the two vitamin A derivatives and the dual role they play in the skin.
- Retinyl palmitate is a highly beneficial ingredient that can act as a protective shield for your skin. It works by safeguarding your skin against the harmful effects of UV rays and environmental stressors, which can cause damage and premature ageing.
- Retinol, a naturally occurring derivative of vitamin A, is widely recognised for its ability to stimulate cellular processes and promote the repair of DNA damage caused by lifelong exposure to environmental factors such as pollution and UV radiation.
Let’s start with your skin’s DNA blueprint.
The DNA of your cells determines how they replicate and reproduce. Think of your DNA as the architectural blueprint held within every cell. Just like the blueprints for an architecturally designed home, the house wouldn’t be as anyone expected if a saboteur meddled with the blueprints.
You’d be left pondering. “Why is that bathroom in the middle of the living room?”
Exactly, it’s just not right.
But I know you’re not a house! But your skin does house you, so we’ll use it as an analogy for what’s going on when your skin’s blueprint goes awry.
Exposure to the sun can cause changes to your skin’s DNA blueprint, making it particularly vulnerable to damage and dysfunction.
Understanding retinyl palmitate.
Retinyl palmitate, a gentle form of vitamin A, is your skin’s natural ally in countering the effects of environmental stressors like UV radiation. Think of it as your skin’s bodyguard, fending off free radicals and helping to repair damaged DNA.
One of the key benefits of retinyl palmitate is its ability to act as a natural sunscreen. While it doesn’t replace the daily use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen, it offers antioxidant protection to help shield your skin from the harmful effects of UV light.
When you use retinyl palmitate daily, your skin gets the necessary vitamin A nutrition to absorb UV light and, in doing so, protects your skin’s DNA, regulates cell growth, renews skin cells and provides overall skin health.
By supporting your skin with this extra layer of nutritional defence, you enhance its resilience and minimise the potential for sun-induced damage.
Not only is retinyl palmitate protective, but it’s gentler on the skin, and if you’ve ever used concentrate vitamin A such as retinoic acid or retinol, then you know one of the downsides of these retinoids is the irritation factor.
So, while the results of improved cellular hydration and the production of new collagen may be slower when using retinyl palmitate, you may find that slow and steady wins the race.
But it’s not a lone race; it’s a relay, so doubling up with retinol might be the best way to win this race.
The power of retinol.
To fully address all sun damage, retinol is a powerful ally and a more potent vitamin A derivative. Using retinol a few times a week as part of your skincare routine can provide targeted repair and rejuvenation to skin damaged by the sun.
Collagen & Elastin Synthesis
Retinol works by stimulating collagen production, which is essential for maintaining skin elasticity and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Boosting Natural Hydration.
Hydration is often the number one concern for many of us. When the skin is dehydrated, nothing seems right. It looks parched, lines appear more pronounced, and it’s less bouncy, and if you’re wearing makeup, it never seems to sit quite right on the skin. So it’s exciting to know that retinol activates glycosaminoglycans (GAGS), which creates hyaluronic acid, part of your skin’s natural moisturisation.
Regular use of retinol, without doubt, improves skin texture and tone, minimises the visibility of pigment, and keeps the skin soft, supple and moisturised.
A powerful skincare routine: Combining retinyl palmitate and retinol.
When combining retinyl palmitate with retinol, you create a balanced and comprehensive skincare routine that addresses multiple aspects of skin health. While retinyl palmitate offers daily environmental protection and nutrition, retinol provides rejuvenation and repair.
To maximise the benefits of this dynamic duo, consider the following tips:
Gradual introduction for optimal results.
Start slowly; while you might feel anxious to get results quickly, this is a long game, and too much of a good thing can lead to skin irritation. Take your time, be consistent and trust the process. Your skin will thank you for it.
Day and nighttime application.
As retinyl palmitate offers natural protection and is a potent antioxidant, it’s gentle enough and should be used daily, followed by a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
Whereas retinol is best used at night when it can work its magic on cellular repair and skin rejuvenation underneath your favourite moisturiser.
Consistency is key to lasting results.
For maximum benefits, it is crucial to be committed and consistent. Make sure to include retinyl palmitate in your daily routine and use retinol at night a couple of times a week for optimal results.
Hydration to combat dryness.
Initially, retinoids can sometimes cause dryness or flakiness, so keep your skin protected with an emollient moisturiser suitable for your skin type to lock in moisture.
Sun protection for overall skin health.
While retinyl palmitate provides protection against sun exposure, it’s essential to continue using broad-spectrum sunscreen during the day for comprehensive sun protection.
My final thoughts.
By using retinyl palmitate daily and incorporating retinol a few times a week, if and when you need it, you’ll create a powerful skincare routine that addresses the harmful effects of environmental exposure and UV light while promoting overall skin health.
Consistent use allows you to enjoy the benefits of smoother, more radiant, youthful-looking skin.
The potential of retinyl palmitate and retinol used synergistically is an exciting double act leading to lasting results.
Slow and steady wins the race; introduce vitamin A skincare gradually to avoid irritation. And remember, when it comes to vitamin A retinoids, it’s a race worth winning.
If you’d like to know how to introduce this combination into your skincare routine, you might like this article: Retinyl Palmitate: Daily support for skin health.
If you’ve got more questions, you can reach me here. Or, if you found this article helpful, why not share it around on your socials?
See you next time,