Thursday, 28 March 2024 10:28

The Skin Care Alphabet: Vetting Vitamins 

Written by   Trisha Dowling

The word vitamin comes from the stems “vita,” meaning life, and “amine,” meaning amino acids. The name seems fitting when it feels like it takes an entire lifetime to master the ins and outs of seemingly singular letters like A, B, C, D, E, and K! 

Skin care professionals can introduce vitamins to the integumentary system to age gracefully, ward off sensitivity, provide lubrication, plasticize protective coating, and offset DNA destruction. We can also use them as adaptogens to remind skin of its natural regenerative abilities. Beyond having several options with mirrored benefits, the real complexity of vitamins lies in permeability, solubility, bioavailability, conversions, labeling accuracy, and understanding. One of the most important aspects of vitamins in skin care is delivery systems – that is, how the benefits of the vitamins actually get into skin. So how do we ensure efficacy as professional skin professionals? We vet our vitamins!  



A great starting question to ask is do the topicals even cross the skin barrier? It seems 

like a basic question, but do you really know the answer? The stratum corneum (SC) actually lacks the vascularity that would allow for easy delivery of vitamins to the extracellular matrix. Whether intact, compromised, or obliterated, our barrier instinctually ensures external stimuli do not get internalized. If we picture the stratum corneum as an electric fence, the first step in getting vitamins to skin is to temporarily turn off its electrostatic abilities. 

Another revelation is that penetration and absorption are not necessarily interchangeable. Penetration typically refers to the integumentary system, skin’s canopy, and more superficial epidermal layers. For penetration of the epidermis, additives such as low molecular weighted hyaluronic acid (HA), linoleic acid, and certain kinds of alcohols act as vehicles, drivers, and delivery systems for better product drawdown. Undoubtedly, you’ve seen these additives in your skin care products; you maybe just didn’t know why they were present. Enhanced permeation is the reason vitamin C and E are often paired with ferulic acid. 

Absorption is used more when referencing the circulatory system and crossing the epidermal junction into the dermis and the bloodstream. Infiltrating this abyss is reserved for A+ elites, your handy dandy vitamin A. It is this depth dependency that has it considered as teratogenic for moms in the making. It achieves these depths because of its amazing skills within our next vetting process. 


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 Trisha Dowling is a 2004 National Aesthetics Institute graduate, a service provider for the Forbes Five Star Spa at the Phoenician/ Scottsdale from 2005 to 2014, lead trainer for Massage Envy/ Desert Massage from 2013 to 2015, “Aesthetician of the Year,” and found her forever home with Aveda Inspire Greatness Institute of Phoenix department lead and head instructor.  


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April 2024

Wellness Blogs

Brands of the Month

  • DMK Skin Revision Center
  • Epionce
  • Celluma by Biophotas, Inc
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