The A313 is a Cult French Vitamin A product that is shrouded in mystery. It works phenomenally but nobody is actually sure why. I have fallen down a bit of a rabbit hole with this one, and whilst I do not have ALL the answers, I have made some interesting discoveries along the way. Read on for a review of the A313 and a bit of insight as to why it works so well.
Vitamin A, AKA Retinol.
Before we embark on the wonders of A313, I thought it would be best to just quickly summarise the type of Vitamin A we are dealing with here.
Vitamin A comes in a variety of forms, with all forms doing the same thing, just at different strengths.
A quick overview of the benefits of vitamin A are as follows:
- Reducing fine lines and wrinkles
- Reduction in dark spots
- Acne fighting
- Increases cell turnover
- Increases production of collagen
- Improves skin tone and texture.
It would be easier for me to list what it doesn’t do. As you can see it is a phenomenal, proven skincare ingredient.
This ingredient comes in a variety of forms. The weakest form being Retinyl Palmitate, the strongest form being retinoic acid.
The Vitamin A derivative in the A313 is Retinyl Palmitate. Therefore we would all presume, gentle and potentially not very effective? Especially for us more seasoned Vitamin A users right? Wrong.
This is a cult product for a reason. A product that provides phenomenal results. But why? Based on the vitamin A content, we shouldn’t really be noticing much of a difference.
Now I am a sucker for a unique skincare product, and even more so if it is French. The French just know how to make good skincare. Fact.
I had seen the A313 raved about on numerous occasions and decided it was clearly something I needed to try. Not only did it sound phenomenal but it had such a reasonable price point at £17.99!
However, once I had placed my order (which is difficult in itself if you do not happen to live in france), I started to research the product further.
Every qualified dermatologist that had reviewed the A313 had dismissed it’s effectiveness immediately. Stating that the amount of Vitamin A contained would be pretty useless.
Yet every review I found of actual users of the product, all claimed that it worked absolute wonders?
It became somewhat of a mystery.
In addition, the Ingredients list just gave me more questions. With some sites stating one inci list, and others stating something completely different.
What on earth was this stuff?
Well I was about to find out …….
A313 – My experience.
A friend of mine and I decided to trial this product at the same time. A little experiment if you will. (We are in Lockdown, we have got to find our fun somewhere.)
The A313 is housed in a very medical-looking type tube, not the prettiest of packaging, but I was much more interested in the contents.
This leads me nicely into the texture of the A313. This stuff is thick! Thick and very greasy! It has a similar texture to vaseline. Not exactly the type of product you want to be smearing all over your face, but for the love of a good experiment, I persisted.
I applied a pea sized amount, as instructed, and took myself off to bed. At this stage I wasn’t expecting much from the A313. I was thinking, best case scenario, I dont wake up with a face full of spots.
The following morning I awoke to the most beautiful plump skin. What is this wizardry? I don’t think I have ever been so confused.
Presuming my eyes were deceiving me, I immediately sent a message to my friend to see what she thought. It became clear very quickly that she was also experiencing the same results and was as confused as I was.
I tried it again a few nights later, still unable to believe the A313 with its very limited Vitamin A content could provide such results, and awoke to the same soft and plump skin. I looked so healthy and youthful.
My confusion increased. Vitamin A, any form, regardless of strength takes time to work. It will be a while before you start to notice the benefits. Therefore, why on earth was the A313 giving me amazing, immediate benefits based on such a low-strength vitamin A content?
I had to get to the bottom of this mystery.
I had a chat with Dr. Marine Vincent, founder of The French Pharmacy (a lovely brand which I will be talking about next week). Dr. Marine also found A313 equally confusing but did understand the ingredients list a little better than I. She suggested that it was in fact the additional ingredients (other than the vitamin A) that helped the skin absorb the vitamin A more effectively. She also claimed one specific ingredient, Macrogol, was an effective moisture magnet drawing water to the surface of the skin which would contribute to a plumping effect. It’s also a great ingredient for skin penetration.
This new information seemed to make sense. However, after our call I decided to do a little bit more research into the additional ingredients, and to be honest, I really do not know how I feel about my discovery.
The actual formula has a petroleum derivative base, which gives the A313 its greasy thick texture. This consistency will work as a seal on the skin, keeping moisture in which can help with TEWL, less moisture lost throughout the night will contribute to a more overall plump appearance by morning.
In addition, we have Macrogol, and this is the ingredient that has solved the mystery. Macrogol is an ingredient used in laxatives. Yes, you read that right. Laxatives! When used in a laxative formula, Macrogol draws water from the rest of the body, into your bowel to help loosen things up. Therefore, if you are applying this ingredient, topically to your skin, theoretically Macrogol could draw water to the surface of the skin to create a plump appearance. This would indeed explain the immediate plumping effects both myself, and my friend, experienced.
There is no denying that the A313 provides the skin with a more plump and smooth appearance. I can confidently state, it works. I am rather in love with the results I experienced.
However, this plumped appearance is temporary. You would need to use the A313 almost every single day to reap those plumping benefits, which have absolutely nothing to do with the vitamin A content.
I feel like I have solved one of life’s little mysteries. I purchased my A313 from The French Pharmacy, which I highly recommend.