As explained in the Anti-Aging section, malfunction at the cellular level becomes collective as we age which leads to progressive malfunction of the skin as an organ. In time the skin’s microvascular system begins to break down due to blockage, breaks, leaks, etc. The loss of small feeder vessels has major impact in escalating the skin’s aging process because the skin receives less nutrients, proteins, amino acids, essential fatty acids, protective antioxidants, oxygen and so on. This reduces the cells’ ability to function and subsequently the skin’s ability to perform its various maintenance, protective, immune and reparative processes. To achieve visible rejuvenation benefits, attention must be given to rebuilding the skin’s microvascular system.
Angiogenesis is the medical term for the body’s ability to rebuild its vascular system and within the skin this process is stimulated whenever the skin is bruised, cut or incurs damage to its vascular system. The major biochemicals that stimulate the rebuilding of the vascular system are angiogenesis factor (AF) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). These chemicals are produced in the skin as a natural result of injury. The presence of blood spilled into the skin stimulates the production of AF and VEGF.
Vitamin A in the form of retinoic acid/retinyl palmitate is highly involved in the process of repairing and rejuvenating the skin. Retinoic acid is able to attach to receptors on macrophage cells (specialized skin cells involved in immune and repair functions). Macrophage cells then produce the chemicals AF and VEGF, stimulating enhancement of the skin’s microvascular system. Volumes of research has been published on the actions of vitamin A within the skin. In one study an 89% increase of the microvascular system was achieved after six months of vitamin A daily application. Twelve months after discontinuing the vitamin A treatments 23% of the beneficial effects still remained. The benefits of retinoic acid/retinyl palmitate can be seen in the improved healthful appearance of the skin and its color, and they reflect the skin’s improved health.
An initial strategy in skin rejuvenation should be improving the vascular integrity of the skin because this will allow the skin, as an organ (and cell by cell), to react more effectively to other forms of rejuvenation stimulation. In short, the skin must have the materials, the energy and the oxygen to perform the desired processes. If the skin has restrictions on its capacity, then the results of repair stimulation will be equally as restricted.
BiON’s Vitamin A + Antioxidant Complex contains retinyl palmitate, a retinoid similar to Retin-A®, and is manufactured in a laboratory with FDA licensing for this purpose. The BiON product has a direct stimulatory effect in the production of AF and VEGF. It also has stimulatory effects on the production of collagen and elastin.
Like Retin-A®, some patients may not be able to tolerate the use of BiON’s Vitamin A + Antioxidant Complex on a daily basis and may need to use the product every other day or every third day. It is also possible to mix this product with Moisture Complex (for example) so it is less irritating. People who must limit the use of this product will still get excellent benefits because their skin is highly sensitive to retinoic acid. Typically, people with a light complexion and dry skin may be more sensitive than darker or oilier skin types.
Retinol is used in most products that contain vitamin A and it is a cosmetic variation of vitamin A. Retinol is not able to attach to macrophage cells and stimulate these types of responses. Retinol was developed for use in cosmetic products sold over-the-counter in department stores and has limited therapeutic potential.
Research done by Fisher et al in 1998 at the University of Michigan Medical School suggests that higher levels of vitamin A within the skin may prove to have therapeutic and anti-aging value immediately following UV (sun) exposure. Vitamin A stimulates the removal and replacement of damaged skin components. In the past it was incorrectly thought that the use of topical vitamin A products made the skin more sensitive to sun damage. This is incorrect and topical vitamin A has reparative benefits. Because topical Vitamin A tends to promote exfoliation of outer cells, it can result in less protective skin density for skin that is not properly treated with sun protection.