Orange County, California is becoming the new Hollywood, and it’s no surprise that we are getting our fair share of celebrities and Instagram starlets flocking to our neck of the woods for the latest and greatest in skincare treatments. Both women and men are catching on to the benefits of leading healthy lifestyles, eating healthy diets, and taking care of their skin with healthy skin care products (it doesn’t always have to be about lasers, fillers, and cosmetic surgery).

Everyone wants to look younger and hold onto that youthful appearance forever being touted to bring joy, happiness, and success! Personally, I believe that it’s not about what you look like on the outside that will help you reach those goals, but how you feel on the inside…but that’s just me, and I digress 🙂

These days, the worries are about fine lines and wrinkles, problem skin, and not being able to look airbrushed perfect in social media pictures or in person! So as a long time skincare expert, I’m always being asked for advice on helping clients prevent the signs of aging. My personal advice is to use skincare products with vitamin A.

While there is no one magic solution, potion, or product, vitamin A is something that I am a big fan of and that I always recommend my clients use as part of their complete process for maintaining healthy vibrant skin. But not just any form of vitamin A, I recommend a very specific form of vitamin A, and here’s why….

Vitamin A (like many people you’ll meet in life) can be a bit complex because there are a few different types. So let’s start with a rundown of what vitamin A is. According to the official description on Wikipedia, Vitamin A is a group of unsaturated nutritional organic compounds that include retinol, retinal, retinoic acid (most people are familiar with the street form of retinoic acid called Retin-A), and several provitamin A carotenoids. FYI, provitamin A carotenoids are produced by our bodies when we eat plant-based foods containing vitamin A. – These carotenoids include beta-carotene and alpha-carotene (for any of you bio-chemistry lovers).

Seem a little bit confusing? Yeah, I know…so let me share some insight to help break it down for you even more…because like the old adage claims… knowledge is power!

Now that you know about the different types of vitamin A, it’s important to also know that each can do different things (on a cellular level) and should be used at different times for slightly different results. Some forms of vitamin A are superficial and tend to sit on the skin more so than other forms of vitamin A. This is true for retinol, since its penetrating powers are less than retinal (with an “a”) or retinoic acid.

While retinol is naturally produced in your body, it has to be converted into retinal through the work of special enzymes in your skin when it’s applied topically. However, because retinol must first go through a conversion process and isn’t as concentrated as retinal, it’s lower down the totem pole for high-quality standards of vitamin A; but more readily used in economical and drug store skin care products. Another factor to keep in mind when using retinol is that if your skin is dealing with a lot of free radicals, and your body’s natural functioning process is not at its peak performance, the enzymes that work to convert retinol into retinal won’t be able to do so as effectively. So let’s refer to retinol as the baby form of vitamin A.

The other forms of vitamin A penetrate a little deeper into the skin (again, like some of the people you’ll meet in life, lol). These include retinoic acid (Retin-A) and Retinal.

Retinoic acid (Retin-A) can be thought of as the grandparent of the vitamin A forms. This is because while it packs a powerful punch, retinoic acid is more of an incubator in the process of getting retinal to do its job. Retinoic acid is a metabolite that allows retinal to be turned into collagen. It has a stronger effect on the skin than retinol, but that also comes with certain adverse skin reactions such as irritation, peeling, and sun sensitivity (since any retinoic acid not directly absorbed into the skin will remain on its surface).

Retinaldehyde, on the other hand, is my favorite of all the vitamin A’s because you get the most benefits with the least drawbacks. Retinaldehyde (also known as retinal) can be considered the mother of all vitamin A forms! It’s 1000x more potent than retinol and is the form of vitamin A that retinol is converted to in the body (thru the liver) when consumed as vitamin A in foods and supplements. Plus, through the body’s own conversion process, Retinaldehyde (retinal) is converted into Retin-A (the compound that then creates collagen). And since it’s created and already stored in your body, your body accepts and recognizes it and allows it to be used in its most effective state – through deeper penetration into the skin.

When you use Retinaldehyde, your skin will utilize what it needs (to convert it into Retin-A and create collagen) but the excess will be stored as retinyl esters for future use by the body through another metabolic process. This doesn’t happen when you use straight Retin-A. This is why, in my opinion, Retinaldehyde is so much better than Retin-A.

Are you with me so far?? If so, that’s wonderful, but you still might still be wondering what all this science stuff has to do with helping to fight the signs of aging. Right? Ok, well here it is…

All of the benefits of vitamin A for your skin circle back to the physiological effects of the nutrient. Remember, the key message here is that it promotes growth and development. That includes the growth and development of skin collagen at the cellular level as well!

With the primary benefits of Vitamin A being physiological growth and development, maintenance of the immune system and good vision, we can all get the benefits of it for our body by simply eating more liver, fish, green leafy veggies, certain types of cheese, and more tropical fruits. But let me share from my area of expertise to explain more about what vitamin A (in the form of Retinaldehyde) does for your skin and why you’ll want to use it to fight the signs of aging.

I’ve explained all of this science stuff just to get to this main point of why Retinaldehyde should be a primary and key ingredient on your radar when you’re considering skincare products and ways to combat the signs of aging.

So here are the benefits of using Retinaldehyde and the reasons why it’s the type of vitamin A that you’ll want to use in your skin care regime for healthy, youthful looking skin:


  • Thickens and stimulates the dermis – where collagen, elastin, and blood vessels are – so it reduces wrinkles and increases blood flow to the surface of the skin.
  • Increases the deposition of collagen; therefore it slows the normal aging breakdown of your collagen and elastin.
  • Can improve the feel of firmness the skin. – It doesn’t cause skin irritation, sun sensitivity, or flakiness.
  • Retinaldehyde is approved for use by the FDA so products that contain it typically do not require a prescription.
  • Increases the circulation to the skin, increasing its food supply and making it healthier.
  • Normalizes oil production in areas where sebaceous glands are overactive.
  • Lightens hyperpigmentation in areas where there is irregular or splotchy pigment.

So there you have it! You should be an almost expert on the different types of vitamin A now and why Retinaldehyde is the type that this expert prefers to use on my clients. Book a facial with us here at Tru Skin Rituals and we will show you the benefits of using Retinaldehyde first hand!

Jamie Ortiz of Tru Skin Rituals is a licensed esthetician, healthy skin advocate, age management strategist, and authority on corrective skin care.