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Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin found in nature in the form of retinol, in its equivalent retinoid (animal origin) form or as pro-vitamins (plant origin) called carotenoids. The latter are transformed into vitamin A in the liver.

Vitamin A is essential not only for the mechanism of vision but also for cell differentiation. For this reason it is necessary for the growth, the reproduction and the integrity of the immune system.

Vitamin A is recognised as one of the best active ingredients to fight all signs of ageing, but also those caused by photo ageing due to UV exposure. It effectively neutralises the molecule, which gives rise to the formation of free radicals, the main trigger for skin ageing. Most importantly, it encourages cell turnover and facilitates the removal of dead cells, leaving space for the underlying, younger skin. This also helps to prevent the accumulation of melanin: the dark spots are kept under control whilst the existing ones are lightened.

Available without a prescription, retinol is the most commonly used retinoid in over-the-counter skincare, and although it works in the same way as prescription retinoids, it is far milder. And while sensitivity, dryness and redness can be an issue when you first begin, or if you don’t gradually work your way up the strength ladder.

This is a misconception that was likely born out of the advice to avoid the sun when using retinoids, “but that has more to do with UV light inactivating the chemical formula than anything else,” says Ashley.

Studies have proven this, showing that retinoids don’t impact the minimal erythemal dose of human skin, which is the amount of UV light the skin can tolerate before burning. So, in actual fact the skin doesn’t become any more sensitive to the sun after retinoid exposure, it’s retinoids themselves that are sensitive to the sun. They break down making them less effective.

However, even though retinol doesn’t exacerbate your skins’ sensitivity to the sun, “you should be wearing a high broad-spectrum sunscreen all year round,” advises Ashley. Why? Because even retinol has its limits, and repeated sun exposure causes the breakdown of collagen and elastin, and an increase in melanin production, leading to lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and a leathery look to the skin that will be hard to reverse once the damage is done.

Introducing the latest innovation from ZO® Skin Health, Retinol Skin Brightener with remastered ZO®Brightening Technology. Retinol Skin Brightener is a retinol-based solution to rapidly improve the appearance of uneven skin tone for a brighter, clearer and smoother complexion.

Retinol Skin Brightener comes in three strengths to support a variety of skin sensitivities and brightening goals: .25%, .5% and 1%. It is also suitable for all skin types, from dry to oily. It can be used on the face + body AM or PM.

Guide to Strengths

How do you know which strength is right for you? Are you a retinoid newbie or are you already well-acquainted with retinol in your regimen? There are three offered strengths, .25%, .5% and 1%, and choosing the correct strength can help improve overall product experience.

Retinol’s anticipated reactions, such as redness and dryness, are signs that the product is working. These reactions can be easily controlled by adjusting product strength or usage frequency.

ZO Skin Health. (2015, May 21). Retinol: A short introduction [Blog post]

ZO Skin Health. (2022, June 21). Is It Safe to use Retinol in the summer [Blog post]

ZO Skin Health. (2021, October 20). Introducing remastered brightening technology retinol skin brightener [Blog post]

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