Beautiful Skin begins with Vitamin A Almost Every Night and Vitamin C Every Morning by Deborah Tosline

Vitamin C crystals by Doc. RNDr. Josef Reischig, CSc. [CC BY 3.0 )]

Vitamin C crystals by Doc. RNDr. Josef Reischig, CSc. [CC BY 3.0]

Deborah Tosline wrote and published “Skin Remodeling DIY: An Introduction to the Underground World of Do-It-Yourself Skincare” in 2015. Her approach to skin care is based on a scientific background, love of research and over 30 years of DIY skincare experience.

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Whether you are a skin care enthusiast or minimalist you may achieve dramatic results following a simple skin care regime of applying vitamin A almost every night and vitamin C every morning to face and neck skin.

Throughout the years, I’ve engaged in a variety of advanced skin care Do-It-Yourself (DIY) practices, alternating between this and that as I fancy. I also diligently follow standard practices for basic skin maintenance and rejuvenation. 

I do some of my favorite skin care practices, including facial lymphatic massage, facial exercise and micro-needling, consistently but on an intermittent basis – which means I do not do these daily. My daily skin care routine is intended to build a foundation for healthy skin which also prepares the skin to be ready and responsive when I use advanced skin care techniques. 

Skin.png by US-Gov [Public domain]

Skin.png by US-Gov [Public domain]

Over the past 17 years I’ve applied vitamin A cream or gel in the form of retinoic acid (0.1 percent) or retinol almost every night and a DIY 20 percent vitamin C serum made with a blend of 15 percent ascorbic acid and 5 percent tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate every morning.

Vitamin A is involved in the production of collagen, it also is degraded by sun exposure. It is important to supplement the skin using vitamin A as retinoic acid or retinol.  

Retinoic acid is marketed as Tretinoin and Retin-A. Clinical studies show that it decreases hyperpigmentation, reduces wrinkle depth, increases collagen production, and promotes smooth skin by promoting healing and collagen production when used at concentrations between 0.05 and 0.1 percent.

The skin is able to directly utilize retinoic acid. When it is used at high concentrations, for example 0.1 percent, it may cause skin irritation, redness, dryness, and peeling. With continued use over time the skin should adjust. Observe the skin closely when you begin to use retinoic acid or start using a higher concentration. Take a short break or briefly reduce the concentration to maintain a balance between slightly irritated and glowing skin. It takes a little practice but once you observe how your skin responds, you can develop a personal treatment regimen.

Modèle 3D de la Vitamine A by Totot's [CC0]

Modèle 3D de la Vitamine A by Totot's [CC0]

Retin-A is available only by prescription in the United States and insurance does not cover its use for mature skin care. While Retin-A is an effective ingredient, it may be cost prohibitive at $40 to $75 for a 20-gram tube. It is possible to purchase Retin-A without a prescription from Mexico and also via the internet from overseas pharmacies. I have purchased generic Retin-A from an international pharmacy for about 10 years. They charge $4 to $11 for a 20-gram tube. The shipping charge is $25. I usually buy six to ten tubes, which last a year or more. I also share my bounty with my daughter. For me, purchasing retinoic acid from international pharmacies saves bank and allows me to use premium skin care! Say what? Yes!

Retinoic acid is powerful and can cause sun sensitivity, so it is best to use it at night and to apply sunscreen on a daily basis. If retinoic acid is too strong for you, you may dilute it, alternate its use or use a retinol product instead.

Milder forms of vitamin A include retinol, retinaldehyde, andretinyl palmitate. These forms are less irritating, slower acting, do not require a prescription, and are less expensive than retinoic acid.  

The body converts retinol, retinaldehyde, and retinyl palmitate into retinoic acid. This conversion results in a lower concentration of retinoic acid available to the skin. Depending on the strength and the length of time used, retinols may be effective in treating photo-aging, promote healthy skin structure, and enhance oxygen and nutrients. 

Vitamin C is one of the most studied skin care antioxidants and has been shown to thicken skin, reduce fine wrinkles and protect the skin from sun damage by neutralizing free radicals. 

Eur Food Res Technol [Copyrighted free use]

Eur Food Res Technol [Copyrighted free use]

Vitamin C is essential for biochemical functions, helps maintain a strong immune response, supports vitamin E regeneration, helps to heal wounds, promotes production of collagen and elastin, and promotes development of new blood vessels and skin nourishment. 

Over time, vitamin C skin concentrations decrease, the good news is that they may be replenished!

Vitamin C is available in several forms, including: L-ascorbic acid (LAA, water soluble), tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (oil soluble), and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP)—skin enzymes convert MAP into ascorbic acid. MAP is water soluble, non-irritating, stable, and mild enough to be used by those who cannot tolerate LAA. 

When mixed with water LAA must be used immediately unless it is preserved otherwise it will degrade when exposed to oxygen. While a 15 percent LAA serum probably will not cause irritation, if it is applied to irritated skin, it will worsen the condition. It is best to use tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate in an oil-based serum if skin is irritated.

A high concentration, high quality, stabilized vitamin C serum typically costs $80 to $120 per ounce retail. If this cost exceeds your monthly budget, it’s easy to make a DIY premium vitamin C serum that is stable and effective.

Sample of L-Ascorbic Acid, LHcheM

Sample of L-Ascorbic Acid, LHcheM

Initially, when I began applying vitamin C every morning, I mixed a little vitamin c powder (no fillers) in the palm of my hand with water and applied it immediately. These days I prepare a 4-ounce bottle of vitamin C serum using the recipe in my book. The LAA is preserved and the blend lasts a couple months in my refrigerator. I apply it to my face and neck every morning and spread the residual on the backs of my hands. At this price I can apply vitamin C serum anywhere and everywhere.

In my opinion, it is mandatory to maintain high skin concentrations of vitamins A and C to protect and rejuvenate the skin for a lifetime glow and to enhance the results of facials and advanced skin care practices. Whether you purchase or DIY high quality products, including powerhouse anti-oxidant vitamins A and C in your skin care could be your best new routine. 

Normal Epidermis and Dermis(Public Domain) Cropped and labeled by  Fama Clamosa / Mikael Häggström

Normal Epidermis and Dermis(Public Domain) Cropped and labeled by Fama Clamosa/Mikael Häggström

It takes an average of six weeks for new skin cells to move to the skin’s surface and to be able to observe the results of a new skin care routine. Monitor your results, take a photo of your skin in natural light before beginning a new routine. Six weeks later, take another photo in the same light. Compare results. Take another photo six weeks later, etc.

If you need more information, go to the library, search the Internet, read my past Blog articles, or get my book “Skin Remodeling DIY: An Introduction to the Underground World of Do-It-Yourself Skincare

Take good care of yourself. xo


This article is intended to be used as general information only and is in no way intended to replace medical advice, be used as a medical treatment program, diagnosis, or cure of any disease or medical condition. There are no warranties, expressed or implied, regarding the effectiveness of the practices described in this article. Products or substances discussed herein are for educational purposes only and are not intended as recommendations of the author.