Please note that as of April 2013 Arcona have reformulated their Vitamin A Complex. The ingredients are now:
Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., Agua (Water), Retinol, Retinyl Palmitate, Fructooligosaccharides (D-beta), Glycolic Acid, Glucosamine HCI (D), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Acacia Gum, Benzyl Alcohol.
This formula would seem very different - too different, really, to justify selling it as the 'same' product. It also seems quite inferior to me, with the addition of two alcohols and the removal of all - yes ALL - of the high quality antioxidants.
Has someone with a very different value system taken over the company, or the formulation department? I don't know. It seems so.
For historic reference, this was the original, rather impressive formula:
Agua (Distilled Water), Hamamelis Virginiana Extract (Witch Hazel), Retinol, Glycolic Acid, Arbutin, Quercetin Flavonoid, Beta Glucosamine, Resveratrol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Vitamin A (Retinol Palmitate), Vitamin E (Tocotrientols), Super Oxide Dismutase, Aminoguanidine HCI, Spin Trap (Phenyl Butyl Nitrone), Grapefruit Seed Extract (Citrus Grandis).
(I have rated it highly only so as not to affect everyone else's glowing ratings of the original formula. I don't actually think much of the new version.)
I went on an Arcona buying spree last fall, and had some hits and misses. This one's a hit. The first few times I used this serum, my skin was quite dry the next day. But after a couple of weeks, I find that the morning after using this (twice a week), my skin looks great. The other retinol products I've used were in cream bases, and I found them to be heavy, and some were clogging. This is a light serum that absorbs quickly, and I can even use it under my eyes. I also like that I only need to use this 2 to 3 times a week--easier to work an exfoliant into my routine (my skin is too sensitive to use both in one day).
If your skin is breakout-prone, clog-prone and/or oily, this should be your ONLY choice in retinol products. Let me say, without exaggeration, that EVERYTHING makes me breakout, I'm nearing 28 and I have yet to find a single packaged moisturizer that won't clog my pores and actually moisturize. But I digress. This serum has been an absolute god-send for me, every morning following the application of it, I wake up with smooth, clear, pore-refined, perfect skin. If my skin is starting to breakout, or I have tiny zits that I know I shouldn't attack because they'll just get red and end up even bigger, I remind myself that in the morning after using this vitamin a complex they will be gone. There isn't a single pore-clogging ingredient in it.
The product itself is very runny, clear yellow and smells of witch hazel (which it contains so avoid if you're sensitive!). It spreads easily and dries fairly quickly (recommended to wait 30 min if applying a moisturizer afterwards). If you have dry skin (I have super oily in the summer, combo to dry in the winter) you will want to follow up with a moisturizer, even if its just a little glycerine and aloe (which is an AMAZING, cheap and non breakout causing moisturizer btw!).
The air-tight silver pump it comes in is sleek and not an eye-sore on the bathroom counter; plus I've never had ANY issues with it not working. My only qualm with the pump is that you can't control how much comes out if i want use some as a spot treatment but I typically use two full pumps anyway with each use, one covers my face, and the other is for my neck and décolleté. One bottle lasts me about two months but I've been using it for years and I use it every night now (the instructions say to use it 2-3 times a week).
Since the retinol concentration isn't advertised on the box or bottle, I contacted Arcona directly and was informed that this 1% retinol, so use sparingly if you're new to retinols. Before this, I tried skinceuticals retinols but they broke me out (probably due to the soybean oil?) and I tried Roc retinols as well and had the same problem.
As far as the price, well, considering other hyped up retinol creams and the actual effectiveness of this one, $68 is not bad. At all. This is the only "luxury" brand item in my skincare routine so it's easily affordable. And trust me, even if you think its pricey, once you try it and you see how great your skin looks, you will find a way to make this affordable!
Btw, if you do have a problem with breakouts and are curious about the Arcona brand, I have tried their raspberry cleansing bar and glycolic peel pads with great results. But that regime is extremely pricey.
-high amount of retinol, and i like the idea of the arbutin as a safe alternative to hydroquinone to lighten skin
-the packaging is dark, keeping out the sun
-natural ingredients! no bht or parabens, which is unusual when it comes to anti-aging products.
-cost me $68, sounds like it's worth it considering the good quality ingredients and this will probably last me several months if used 2-3 times a week as instructed.
By the way I LOVE the Arcona Reozone spf 40 sunscreen as well - it only uses zinc and titanium dioxide as the active ingredients and blends in very well, plus isn't greasy.
I am 53 years old and am unfortunately paying for my sun-worshipping days. In addition to hyperpigmentation, I also have an oily T-zone. This of course complicates things because I struggle with both blackheads and enlarged pores along with dull, lifeless post-menopausal skin that needs hydration. In the last year or so I've really noticed the havoc hormones have wreaked and it's not pretty! That youthful glow I once had is sadly gone.
Well I spent all kinds of time researching what types of products might help me, and given the fact that my skin can be somewhat sensitive I was reluctant to try anything the least bit harsh. I learned there were two things I needed to add to my regimen, a good exfoliating product and some form of retinol. I'm using Pevonia Botanica Enzymo-Spherides Cream for the exfoliation, which has been quite effective and for which I've also written a review. And for the retinol-type product I chose Arcona Vitamin A Complex because the ingredients in it made sense to me. These are proven effective ingredients, and there aren't a ton of ingredients because there doesn't need to be. No wild claims are made by Arcona, just that you'll see an improvement in your skin.
Voila! What an improvement! My skin looks and feels better than it has in years, and I've only been using this product for two weeks. The container says that improvement continues over time. If that's true, I can only imagine how nice my skin will be a few months from now. I don't remember ever seeing such a noticeable difference in my skin from any other products I've used in the past--never, ever. And I promise you I am not employed by this company!
This works in such a gentle way, too; just what I was looking for. The pesky blackheads around my nose that have plagued me for years no matter what I did are almost completely gone. The Vitamin A Complex caused the skin to peel just enough to shed the blackheads without causing uncomfortable irritation--it's truly amazing. Not only that, but my pores are significantly reduced, my skin feels sooooo soft, smooth, AND I've got a glow again. I just generally look more alive--wonderful. Of course it hasn't completely taken away my sun spots but somehow this product has sort of broken them up so they seem less noticeable. I know that laser therapy is the only thing that will rid me of these spots (unfortunately not in the budget right now).
I knew going into this that I couldn't use anything from the dermatologist because it 's always too strong for me, so for those of you who have this same problem I highly recommend giving this product a try. As for the witch hazel issue, there IS a significant amount in this product so if you know you don't react well to it then you probably cannot use this, as for everyone else...
I don't want to be without Vitamin A Complex ever again. This has to be one of the best skin care values out there. While the price may seem steep at first, when I think of all the even more expensive products I've tried with little or no improvement in my skin, I realize that Vitamin A Complex is worth every penny.
Thanks Delilabee for pointing out the change of ingredients in this product. I called Arcona to see what the story is and why they changed things. I have to say they were very helpful and forthcoming with the information. I just didn't like what the woman told me.
First of all, I noticed they took out Arbutin and Quercetin, along with a few other ingredients. Apparently they removed these other things, and increased the amount of Retinol. Second, she said the reason for this is that customers were using this product because of the benefits of Retinol, and the Arbutin and Quercetin are skin brighteners so they were taken out. She said customers can find these two ingredients in some of their other products.
So I had two reactions to this news. My first one being, does it mean this will now be irritating to my skin because of the increased Retinol? I loved that this was a gentle product that still got the job done. Also, I have a lot of sun spots and the Arbutin and Quercetin REALLY helped with that. I loved that I could get all this good stuff in one product. That's pretty much why I bought it. My second reaction was, okay, is this Arcona's way of getting their customers to buy two products instead of one. Call me cynical, but I don't put anything past the cosmetic companies.
One thing I know for sure--I do not want to buy two products so I will not be repurchasing. This one is expensive enough. I was willing to pay the price though because it was so effective. I am so bummed. I absolutely LOVED this product. Oh well.
I've used several sample bottles of this serum, and, at one point, I realized I was ordering other products in order to get the sample bottles of Vitamin A Complex. The instructions say to use 2-3 times a week, so it's perfect for alternating with Refissa, or other retinol products. The huge difference for me with Vitamin A Complex compared to other vitamin a treatments is that I see immediate exfoliation and brightening. After using this for a week, it's the ONLY thing that seems to be making a difference in discoloration and melasma. I use Vitamin A Complex on my face and neck and it adds just the right amount of moisture for softness as it keeps my skin clear, and remarkably less oily. This is better for clearing pores than Proactiv, if you ask me. I've read "expert" reviews that warn against the Hamamelis Virginiana (witch-hazel) in this formula, so don't buy without trying if you have sensitive skin! I've always found witch-hazel to be refreshing, clearing, and revitalizing, on skin and in hair care products, but everybody is different. I've also read that the pH of this product isn't low enough for exfoliation to occur, but I can literally SEE the exfoliation, especially around my mouth. When this occurs, an occasional spritz of Philosophy's Hope Springs Eternal toner provides a great balance of moisture and nutrients during summer heat. Vitamin A Complex makes my skin feel more resilient, which is always good, and I like to see the fast exfoliation and brightening. The formulation is, for me, fascinating, because it includes so many ingredients that are used in tissue rebuilding on trauma patients.
Agua (Distilled Water), Hamamelis Virginiana Extract (Witch Hazel), Retinal, Glycolic Acid, Arbutin, Quercetin Flavonoid, Beta Glucosamine, Resveratrol, Sodium Hyaluronate (Hyaluronic Acid), Vitamin A (Retinol Palmitate), Vitamin E (Tocotrientols), Super Oxide Dismutase, Aminoguanidine HCl, Spin Trap (Phenyl Butyl Nitrone), Grapefruit Seed Extract (Citrus Grandis)
I have always stayed away from Retinol since some stupid Dermatologist gave it to me when I was in my 20's and it almost wrecked my skin. Now I'm totally dubious about "Medical" skincare, although I'm in my 50's and need all the help I can get ; )
I am a dedicated Arcona user, it saved my skin the year I turned 50 and it's never been stronger brighter or clearer, with all of the normal ups and downs of course! I added the Vitamin A Complex to my rotation when they all started coming up on ebay due to a Beauty.com freebie, and every time I use it, I wake up in the morning and look at my face, thinking "wow, my skin looks so good, what did I use last night?" It's ALWAYS this stuff!
Here are the ingredients: Agua (Distilled Water), Hamamelis Virginiana Extract (Witch Hazel), Retinol, Glycolic Acid, Arbutin, Quercetin Flavonoid, Beta Glucosamine, Resveratrol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Vitamin A (Retinol Palmitate), Vitamin E (Tocotrientols), Super Oxide Dismutase, Aminoguanidine HCl, Spin Trap (Phenyl Butyl Nitrone), Grapefruit Seed Extract (Citrus Grandis)
Nice, huh? Last night I used it under a moisturizer AND Rosehipseed Oil -- it's dry here in LA -- and woke up glowing! Get some on ebay for a great price for 10 ml -- 3 of them = one whole bottle from Arcona! Enjoy!