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Different Forms Of Vitamin A for Pigmentation


Ill be starting a series about how to incorporate active ingredients into our skincare and lets start with vitamin A.

If you prefer to watch video, click here me explaining it

Vitamin A are perfect for anti aging and pigmentation as it is an ingredient that works by increasing the skin’s turn over.

So what happens is usually when one uses vitamin A, the skin will ‘regenerate’ itself much faster than normal.

Like example after the age of 27, we probably shed our old skin every 27-35 days. So when using vitamin A products; it will probably shed faster like every 2-3 weeks, making our skin look ‘new’ and ‘flawless’ when we use these vitamin A products.

With this mechanism, its believed that vitamin A also stimulates collagen; making our ‘sagging skin’ look fuller.

OThats why if you google people who have been using vitamin A in their products for years; they just dont look their ‘age’ and its probably because of this.

So anyways: there are 3 big catagories of vitamin A, mainly: retinols, retinaldehyde, and retinoic acids.


Retinols are the mildest form of vitamin A. Its easily found in most skincare and we usually use between 0.5%-2% in our skincare.

Retinols; in order to be aftivated will need to be converted to retinaldehyde, and then further converted to retinoic acid to work.

Now due to this; there are certain studies that shows that at the end only about 10% will be converted to retinoic acid. Hence at times higher dosea is needed for this.


Retinaldehye are the ‘mid range’ vitamin A active ingredient. Just like retinol, it also needs to be converted into retinoic acid. 

Retinaldehyde, as well as retinol are both actives that can be purchased and used openly in any skincare. These two actives doesnt need any prescriptions or special licence to be distributed in Malaysia and most of the world. 

Retinoic acid. 

Retinoic acid is the most active form of vitamin A. Basically what you see is what you get. We usually use it at 0.025-0.1% in our prescription creams.

This ingredients is only distributed by licenced healthcare professionals. So if you wanted this; you could go to any pharmacy and purchase it. 

So these are the three ingredients mostly found in vitamin A categories.

Beta Carotene

There are also extracts like carrot oil, buckchiol oil etc; these usually are beta carotene, which needs to be converted into retinaldehyde and then further converted to retinoic acid to work.

So you could say that its the mildest form of vitamin A.

But for me; i dont look at them as ‘active’ as they are quite unpredictable and we have no idea how much of beta carotene is inside these ingredient and we have no idea how much is converted into the active retinoic acid; so i would say its preety unstable in tht case.

And so lets just stick to the real ‘active’ like retinol, retinaldehyde and retinoic acid.

In the future post; ill get into detail more about retinol, and how to make a product using this ingredient. 

Until then, tc and stay safe..


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