Essential Vitamins For Your Skin: Why Vitamin A (aka retinoid) is a Must in Your Skincare

Essential Vitamins For Your Skin: Why Vitamin A (aka retinoid) is a Must in Your Skincare

Essential Vitamins for Your Skin: 5 Reasons Why You Need Vitamin C Reading Essential Vitamins For Your Skin: Why Vitamin A (aka retinoid) is a Must in Your Skincare 7 minutes Next Ash Meredith’s Pro-Tip Rosemary Treatments and More for Your Scalp Care Routine

Vitamin A, also known as retinoid, is a hot topic these days. It’s in almost every skincare product, and for good reason.

One of the most tested and widely used ingredients in skincare and dermatology, retinoid has proven to be a skin regenerating molecular powerhouse, working as a dynamic antioxidant.

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Some of the main vitamin A skin benefits are:

  1. defends against enzymes (MMP’s) responsible for collagen degradation
  2. induces collagen production
  3. promotes skin cell turnover and repair, brightening pigmentation
  4. restrains transepidermal water loss
  5. treats acne, unclogs dead skin cells from pores, and acts as an anti-inflammatory (1, 2, 3, 8 )

Simply put, vitamin A has been tested to significantly reduce the unwanted effects of sun damaged and aging skin (hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, decreased elasticity and uneven skin texture) as well as prevent acne by repairing, renewing, and regenerating skin on the molecular level.  


the vitamin a family tree: what is vitamin A?

Vitamin A is actually a collective of compounds, classified under the umbrella term retinoid. Retinoid offshoots into four subtypes, each made up of slightly different structures (there is a difference between retinol and retinal after all), each touting their own list of positive, and negative, effects.(5)

The first rule of vitamin A is that retinoic acid is the only form that skin can effectively absorb for its repair processes to work their magic. So the closer the compound is to retinoic acid, the more readily available it is for skin to use. (4)


retinal vs retinol: what’s the difference?

You may have heard or are currently using retinal and/or tretinoin, the purest forms of retinoic acid available and considered by some dermatologists to be age-defying holy grails.(4)

However, known to be harmful for certain skin types, tretinoin is only available by prescription. Extreme irritation, dryness, and UV hypersensitivity are a few common retinal and tretinoin effects that we’d personally like to avoid for healthy, happy skin. (6)

Retinol on the other hand, is a less active retinoid. Our skin must convert topical retinol in two steps before it can be absorbed, showing less powerful results that take longer to show.(4)

In short, retinoid compounds at lower levels are less effective, and at higher levels can be irritating, even damaging, to skin.   


granactive retinoid + wake up beautiful

Being a chemically derived ingredient, retinoid has appeared on many natural no-lists since the 90’s. Being a forward-thinking brand, we did extensive research and found out most topical retinoids are petroleum derived. This sent us on a path to discover a safe and powerful retinoid sourced from clean derivatives that follow our compassion standards.  

 Wake Up Beautiful Serum and Overnight Cream with Models


Our solution: Granactive Retinoid™ featured in Wake Up Beautiful 

Granactive is a petroleum-free retinoic acid ester, the next generation of retinoid. Think of it as a sister to retinoic acid. While similarly active and bioavailable, retinoic acid esters have proven to come with less skin irritation than other retinoids while showing the same, if not more, effective results.(7)

The manufacturer of Granactive has done some pretty extraordinary testing: in just 24 hours, an occlusive patch of 0.5% Granactive resulted in significantly lower irritation than 0.5% retinol. And there was a statistically dramatic improvement in aging skin (think fine lines and wrinkles) after applying 0.2% Granactive around the eyes only twice a day for 14 days. Now that’s impressive.  

We chose Granactive Retinoid™ to be the star ingredient of our Wake Up Beautiful Collection, formulating it alongside nourishing bioactives such as melatonin, mushrooms, and quinoa to deliver the age-defying results of vitamin A while restoring skin thickness and elasticity. By promoting skin health and longevity, these potent yet gentle products renew plumpness, firmness, and radiance without causing irritated or dry skin. And they’re petroleum free; most topical retinoids on the market today cannot make that claim.  

granactive retinoid, mushrooms, quinoa, melatonin

If you haven’t yet incorporated vitamin A into your skincare routine, have tried it and not liked or seen its effects, or just curious about what other retinoid skincare product options are out there, Wake Up Beautiful is a gentle and effective place to start, with guaranteed happy, healthy skin and gorgeous results.  


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Can I use Wake Up Beautiful every night?

Yes! You can incorporate Granactive Retinoid into your nightly skincare routine. Because of its unique molecular structure, it is less irritating than other retinoids and better for sensitive skin. If you have very sensitive skin type, we recommend that you start out using it every other day to see how your skin tolerates the ingredient. As retinoids can increase photosensitivity, remember to apply an SPF every morning.  


Can I use Granactive Retinoid under eyes?

We have designed Wake Up Beautiful Eye Cream specifically for the fragile and sensitive undereye area. Granactive Retinoid is clinically proven to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, but without the skin irritation that can come along with using other forms of traditional retinoids.  


How long does it take to see results?

Clinical studies of Granactive showed “dramatic” results after applying it around the eyes twice a day for 14 days. In addition to using Granactive Retinol in our formulas, we power pack plant ingredients to help instantly plump and hydrate your skin. Complementary ingredients like melatonin, mushroom, and quinoa detoxify and nourish to boost the powerful anti-aging vitamin A skin benefits, so consider this a short and long game!  


Is Wake Up Beautiful pregnancy safe?

All retinoids are on the pregnancy no-list so if you are pregnant (or nursing), we don’t recommend usage. The same goes for melatonin. We recommend using the Wake Up Beautiful Collection’s Waterless Cleansing Balm, Dream Jelly Face Wash, Super Hydration Sleepover Mask, and Complex Lip Balm for skin health which do not contain retinoids or melatonin.  

For a deeper dive into how other essential nutrients contribute to skin wellness, check out ‘Essential Vitamins For Your Skin: 5 Reasons Why You Need Vitamin C’.  



1.      Ganceviciene R, Liakou AI, Theodoridis A, Makrantonaki E, Zouboulis CC. “Skin anti-aging strategies.” Dermatoendocrinol. 2012 Jul 1;4(3):308 19. doi: 10.4161/derm.22804. PMID: 23467476; PMCID: PMC3583892.    

2.      James Varani, Roscoe L. Warner, Mehrnaz Gharaee-Kermani, Sem H. Phan, Sewon Kang, JinHo Chung, ZengQuan Wang, Subhash C. Datta, Gary J. Fisher, John J. Voorhees. “Vitamin A Antagonizes Decreased Cell Growth and Elevated Collagen-Degrading Matrix Metalloproteinases and Stimulates Collagen Accumulation in Naturally Aged Human Skin.” Journal of Investigative Dermatology, Volume 114, Issue 3, (2000): 480-486. 

3.      Leyden J, Stein-Gold L, Weiss J. “Why Topical Retinoids Are Mainstay of Therapy for Acne.” Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2017 Sep;7(3):293-304. doi: 10.1007/s13555-017-0185-2. Epub 2017 Jun 5. PMID: 28585191; PMCID: PMC5574737.   

4.      Motamedi M, Chehade A, Sanghera R, Grewal P. “A Clinician's Guide to Topical Retinoids”. J Cutan Med Surg. 2022 Jan-Feb;26(1):71-78. doi: 10.1177/12034754211035091. Epub 2021 Jul 22. PMID: 34292058; PMCID: PMC8750127.   

5.      Mukherjee S, Date A, Patravale V, Korting HC, Roeder A, Weindl G. “Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: an overview of clinical efficacy and safety.” Clin Interv Aging. 2006;1(4):327-48. doi: 10.2147/ciia.2006.1.4.327. PMID: 18046911; PMCID: PMC2699641. 

6.      “Retinoids, Topical - American Osteopathic College of Dermatology .” AOCD, Accessed 16 Jan. 2024.  

7.      “Retinoid Vitamin A Delivery.” Grant Industries, Accessed 16 Jan. 2024.  

8.      Zasada M, Budzisz E. “Retinoids: active molecules influencing skin structure formation in cosmetic and dermatological treatments.” Postepy Dermatol Alergol. 2019 Aug;36(4):392-397. doi: 10.5114/ada.2019.87443. Epub 2019 Aug 30. PMID: 31616211; PMCID: PMC6791161.   

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