Is Vitamin A the key to youthful-looking skin? Or is it Vitamin C? Niacinamide, perhaps? Can I use these products together and when do I use each one?
With so many lotions and potions on the market, settling on a skin care regime that works for YOU and your unique set of concerns can sometimes feel borderline impossible. Add to that Facebook groups, Reddit threads and acquaintances with well-intentioned (yet often misinformed) advice and we’re at high-risk of a migraine.
The good news? Terri Vinson, MD and cosmetic chemist from Synergie Skin is here to help.
Vinson – who founded Synergie Skin in 2005 – has a background in cosmetic chemistry and biological science and currently holds professional memberships with the Australian Society of Cosmetic Chemists (ASCC), the Vogue Cosmetic Advisory Board and regularly presents her findings to dermatologists, plastic surgeons and cosmetic physicians both here in Australia and across the globe. So it’s safe to say she knows a thing or two about skin health.
Drawing upon her years (and years) of experience, Vinson has found a combination of ingredients that complement each other perfectly – meaning you streamline your routine, leading to your best, most glowiest skin yet. The line up? Vitamin A, niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Vitamin C and zinc – all hero ingredients in Synergie Skin’s A-Zinc Kit.
Vitamin A is a skin balancer: it restores skin, smooths wrinkles, balances cell turnover, reduces uneven skin tone and can even help to protect against UV-related skin cancers.
It’s an impressive list of benefits. Put simply, this molecule helps skin to regulate many vital activities of the skin. “I think of Vitamin A as the great thermostat of the skin,” Vinson tells Gritty Pretty. “If your skin is in a state of flux, Vitamin A will even it out – whatever that means for you – whether it’s collagen, whether it’s oil, whether it’s pigment or new cells.”
“For someone in their later years, Vitamin A will [increase cell turnover] and say ‘go faster’, to create more luminous youthful skin. Or, if you have acne or psoriasis, that means you’re producing cells too quickly, so it encourages skin to slow down skin cell turnover. For older women it boosts collagen; for acne sufferers, it tells skin to produce less oil.”
As for sun damage? “If there’s been a mutation in the gene due to sun-related damage and Vitamin A is in the vicinity, it is able to reverse that mutation on the spot.” Translation: Vitamin A may help skin to protect itself from UV-induced cancers.
Niacinamide – known on the streets as Vitamin B3 – does “pretty much everything” for skin, according to Vinson.
Overall, B is for barrier: it reinforces the skin’s protective layer, helping it to protect itself from UV damage, pollution, chemicals and other environmental stressors. Niacinamide increases the production of the major proteins in our skin barrier (e.g. keratin) and ceramides; this lowers the risk of skin becoming irritated and increases moisture retention. “It’s like a raincoat for skin,” says Vinson.
Not to be outdone, Vitamin C is a game-changer for skin and the king of skin antioxidants. “I call it The Fortifier,” Vinson explains, “It’s a protector – particularly from UV damage.”
Sunlight and other factors can attack skin cells, causing mutations and directly ageing skin. This is where Vitamin C steps in – it sits on the outside of the cell, mopping up free radicals and protecting skin.
Vitamin C is also particularly useful for those who suffer from pigmentation. By inhibiting the enzyme tyrosinase, Vitamin C prevents skin from overproducing melanin. This has an overall brightening effect on an uneven skin tone.
Last but definitely not least, zinc has a number of benefits for skin: it soothes like no other, works to calm inflammation and “is hands down the best sun protector I could ever use in my lab,” says Vinson.
A key ingredient in most physical sunscreen formulas, zinc oxide helps to block the sun’s rays (both UVA and UVB) without causing irritation the way some chemical filters can. “Zinc-based sunscreens are definitely better for sensitive skin types,” Vinson explains, “there’s virtually zero link with zinc oxide and irritation – unless you have an allergy to zinc and that’s very rare.” Synergie Skin’s ÜberZinc moisturiser offers broad spectrum UVA and UVB sun protection, it calms irritated skin and won’t clog pores. “It was the first product I invented over sixteen years ago and it’s still my most popular product,” Vinson says.
Separately, Vitamin A, niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Vitamin C and zinc are impressive. Together, they’re unstoppable. The Synergie Skin A-Zinc Kit contains all of these skin-changing actives in one place with the UltraCleanse gel facial cleanser (30ml), Ultimate A essential vitamin A serum (10ml), Vitamin B essential niacinamide serum (10ml), SupremaC+ essential Vitamin C serum (10ml) and ÜberZinc moisturiser with 21% zinc oxide (10ml).
Vinson’s skin care brand is based on ‘clean science’. The best of science and nature are formulated together (in synergy, pardon the pun) without any nasties. The result? Effective and safe skin care.