Navin M. Geria
Senior Technical Advisor
Doctors Skin Prescription
Navin Geria, ex-Pfizer Research Fellow, is senior
technical advisor and principal of the dermatological
research company, Doctors Skin Prescription (DSP),
Boston, founded by dermatologist David J. Goldberg,
MD JD and plastic surgeons William P. Adams, MD
FACS and Jason Pozner, MD. Geria has more than 30
years of experience in the personal care industry and
was previously with Clairol, Warner-Lambert, Schick,
Bristol-Myers and most recently, Spa Dermaceuticals.
He has earned nearly 20 US patents, has been pub-
lished extensively and has been both a speaker and a
moderator at cosmetic industry events.
THe ANTi-AGiNG PoWeR
oF ToPiCAL ViTAMiNS
THE ARRIVAL of a new year can be such a motivating event to make improve- ments in one’s life. If it’s February,
most folks have already forgotten the resolution they made on January 1. But no matter what the calendar reads, it is always a
good time to take care of your skin. It is clinically proven that topically applied vitamins
are well absorbed through the skin. This column will briefly describe the benefits of using daily skin care products formulated with
anti-aging vitamins such as vitamins A, B, C,
E and K, and co-enzyme Q- 10.
These six vitamins are the most frequently used for healthy skin. Using them regularly
is a sure way to prevent skin damage, before
it even begins. Baby Boomers continue to
seek new and effective ways to slow down
the passage of time and this is reflected in the
Euromonitor International market research
study that predicts the skin care products
market will reach $91 billion this year.
Vitamin A: The term “retinoids” refers to vitamin A and all of its natural and
synthetic derivatives. Retinoids influence
the function of a cell by altering the gene
expression pattern. Some of their biologic
effects include regulating growth and differentiation of epithelial cells; decreasing
inflammation; enhancing the immune
system; improving acne, photoaging, psoriasis and skin discoloration; reversing sun
damage; and inhibiting collagen and elastin breakdown. A very low level, 0.05%, of
retinol provides efficacy by its conversion to
intermediate retinaldehyde to retinoic acid
that actually is the endogenous active form.
Vitamin B (vitamin B3, niacinamide
and nicotinamide): easily penetrates the
stratum corneum, providing a variety of
beneficial effects to skin such as improvement of dry skin, elasticity, texture and
color, decrease in age spots, evening out
of overall skin tone, skin-barrier enhancement, moisturization, improvement of
lipid barrier component of the epidermis.
As a result, there is a reduction in tran-sepidermal water loss (TEWL), sebaceous
lipid excretion and pore size, leading to an
overall improvement in skin appearance.
Clinical research study results have shown
a significant reduction in fine lines, wrinkles, hyper-pigmented spots, red blotchi-ness and skin sallowness.1, 2 Usually 2-5%
vitamin B has been used in topical formulations to achieve these effects.
Vitamin C (L- ascorbic acid): fights
off free radicals, slows down the aging
process and even reverses the signs of ag-
ing. Many anti-aging products containing
vitamin C are not effective on the skin be-
cause of several reasons:
• The concentration of L-ascorbic acid
could be too low;
• Exposure of the product to air and
light compromising the stability of the
• The L-ascorbic acid is in the form of
an ester or a mixture of isomers, which
cannot be absorbed or metabolized effec-
tively by the skin.
In high enough concentration (at least
10%) of the non-esterified, optimal isomer
vitamin C inhibits UV damage. It is impor-
tant to know that stabilizing ascorbic acid
presents challenges. However, a formula-
tion that has an acid pH of approximately
3. 5 may optimize vitamin C absorption.
Clinical studies support the use of topical
vitamin C to improve fine lines and reduce
both pigmentation and inflammation. 3
In another clinical research study, vita-
min C is formulated with potent antioxidant
ferulic acid and vitamin E. This stabilizes the
formula and doubles the photoprotection
from four- to eight-fold. This combination
of actives is featured in Skinceuticals’ CE
Ferulic, which contains 15% vitamin C, 1%
vitamin E and 0.5% ferulic acid. 4
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol): an
excellent moisturizer and an emollient.
It inhibits the acute UV damage of ery-
thema, sunburn and tanning as well as
chronic UV photo-aging and skin cancer. 5
It protects cells from oxidative stress and is
primarily used for the treatment of minor
burns, surgical scars and wounds.
Vitamin C regenerates oxidized vitamin
E when they are used together in the for-
mulation. This combination in a formula-
tion is synergistic, particularly with regard
to UV protection. Usually topical prepara-
tions contain vitamin E in concentrations
ranging from 0.1% to 20%. Because there is
no dose-response relationship information
Vitamin B reduces the appearance of wrinkles.