The difference between synthetic and natural ABC vitamins in natural skin care

We keep hearing about vitamins in skin care products, particularly vitamins A, B and C.

What we know at Simplicité is that adding factory-made vitamins to skin care won't improve skin anywhere near as much as they way we use vitamins that are part of our whole plant extracts.

In this article we explain how natural plant-derived vitamins give multi-nutritive advantages for your skin (as compared to results from using synthetic vitamins such as retinol, niacinamide and ascorbic acid.)

(Read here how vitamins A,B,C,D and E 'co-work' with many other synergistic nutrients in Simplicité skin products.)

Plant remedies are crucial to skin health

For centuries plants have been used as remedies and therapies in medicine and skin care. Up until about the 19th century, plants were regarded as crucial to health.

However once industrial chemistry and manufacturing methods became more sophisticated, synthetic medicines and vitamins became the norm[i], largely because they were cheaper to produce, made from readily available substances and had a longer shelf life than plant-derived nutrients.


Vitamins from whole plant extracts

It's important to remember that healthy skin, just like a healthy body, can’t be achieved just by applying or taking vitamins on their own.

For best results, skin care products must be formulated with nutrients that, as well as vitamins, include minerals and compounds that are found within nature – in other words, whole plant extracts.

The plant extracts that are mentioned in this article don’t just contain vitamins A,B,C,D and E and more. They also possess high levels of desirable actives such as citral, flavonoids, limonene, phenolics, linalool, thymol, eugenol, carvacrol and monoterpenes – to name just a few.

These actives have many benefits. They enhance tissue repair, antioxidant activity, inhibit skin cancer cell growth when the early signs are just a few cells in size, are antibacterial, enable penetration into the dermis, support collagen formation and much more.

There is nothing invented in a laboratory that can achieve what these compounds can do for skin’s health and structure.

Vitamin A in skin care

There are two types of vitamin A - provitamin A (natural) and retinoids (synthetic).

Vitamin A - synthetic: Retinoids

Retinoids are:

  • used in dermatology and general skin care use.
  • claimed to boost skin cell turnover, stimulate collagen production and treat acne.
  • subject to research that shows any benefits gained are lost upon discontinuation[ii].
  • synthesized from the breakdown of beta-carotene.
  • of different types and potencies – these include retinoic acid, retinol, retinaldehyde, retinyl palmitate, tretinoin, adapalene and tazarotene
  • just the synthetic vitamin. They have none of the co-compound nutrients and synergistic actives that naturally occur with provitamin A.
  • well known to have unpleasant side effects such as sun (photo) sensitivity, dryness, irritation and even swelling, peeling and blistering.

To try and avoid these side effects yet still claim they are using vitamin A, many skin care brands opt to use diluted amounts of the lesser strength retinoids in their products.

Vitamin A - natural: provitamin A (beta-carotente)

Beta-carotene is one of several carotenoids that have vitamin A activity, i.e., your body converts beta-carotene to retinol after you apply it to your skin[iii].

Beta-carotene has an orange-yellow color. There are about 700 different carotenoids in nature.

High-quality plant extracts containing provitamin A (beta-carotene):

  • revitalise skin tone
  • restore elasticity
  • improve appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • assist in the repair of sun damage.

Provitamin A has about one sixth the biological activity of retinol (usually the synthetic form of vitamin A), so it has none of retinol’s harsh side effects. Because the Simplicité range generally contains high levels of provitamin A it is easy to rapidly build up effective levels in skin, even more so with multi use of products.

Simplicité uses these high-quality plant extracts that not only contain provitamin A, but many other active nutrients.

  • Almond
  • Avocado
  • Beetroot
  • Calendula
  • Carrot Seed
  • Pumpkin Seed
  • Rosehip Oil

Our Antioxidant Plant Serum for example contains 14 anti-ageing antioxidants that improve skin tone and texture. This Serum Concentrate also contains many natural vitamins (provitamin A and vitamins B,D and E) and these are components of the high quality, concentrated extracts Apricot Kernel, Avocado, Calendula, Carrot Seed, Jojoba, Pumpkin Seed and Wheatgerm.

provitamin A and vitamin B from Carrots and Hazelnuts in Antioxidant Plant Serum
Provitamin A and vitamin B from Carrot oil and Pumpkin Seed oil in
Antioxidant Plant Serum (12 other ingredients contain even more vitamins.)

Vitamin B in skin care

There are two types of vitamin B – synthetic and natural.

Vitamin B - synthetic: Nicotinamide

Many skin care brands use a synthetic form of vitamin B known as Nicotinamide or Niacinamide that is claimed to preserve hydration and reduce redness. Nicotinamide is synthesised in factories using a starting point of nylon and Cadaverine. This is transformed into picoline, which is ammoxidated and biocatalytically hydrolysed to niacinamide.

Knowing the origins of Niacinamide makes it clear that this is not at all like naturally sourced vitamin B with its nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and compounds, that are only found in nature.

 Vitamin B – natural: in plant extracts

Plant-based naturally occurring vitamin B is essential for proper cell function and metabolism. Simplicité uses naturally occurring co-compound nutrients and synergistic actives and natural sources of Vitamin B derived from:

  • Almond
  • Apricot Kernel
  • Hazelnut
  • Macadamia
  • Rice Bran
  • Sesame
  • Linseed

Our Rehydration Serum contains 15 hydrating concentrates  that rebuild moisture reserves. This Serum Concentrate's natural vitamins (provitamin A and vitamins B, D and E)  are naturaly found in the concentrated, high quality extracts Almond, Carrot Seed, Hazelnut, Rice Bran, Rosehip Seed and Sesame.

Damask Rose Day Creme contains vitamins A B C D and E
Hazelnut oil and Carrot oil contribute vitamins A B C D and E to Simplicité products (along with many other minerals and nutrients).

Vitamin C in skin care

There are two types of vitamin C – synthetic and natural.

Vitamin C - synthetic: Ascorbic Acid aka L-ascorbic acid

As with retinol, there are different forms of Ascorbic Acid with varying potencies, including Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Sodium Ascorbate, Calcium Ascorbate, and Ascorbyl Palmitate.

Regardless of the variation, all Ascorbic Acid is:

  • a factory made substance imported from China and India
  • extracted from corn syrup via an industrial process that uses heat, hydrogenation, and the addition of hydrochloric acid.
  • cheap to produce and has a long shelf life.
  • does not contain antioxidants, bioflavonoids or beta-carotene
  • known to irritate the surface of the skin which results in skin swelling that is often mistaken for healthy skin plumping.
  • skin plumping is temporary but negative effects of burning by the ascorbic acid can lead to long term skin hyper-sensitivity.

Vitamin C - natural: in plant extracts

  • Stimulates collagen formation.
  • Contains antioxidants, bioflavonoids and beta-carotene.
  • Reduces the incidence of allergies and inflammation.
  • Aids absorption of active ingredients.
  • Evens skin tone.
  • Reduces pigmentation.

Simplicité sources natural vitamin C from:

  • freshly made extract of Rosehip husk.
  • freshly made extract of Alfalfa.
  • freshly made extract of Beetroot.

Our Results Lift Gel for example contains 12 firming plant extracts that hydrate, tone and give skin a beautiful, luminous radiance. Results Lift Gel includes natural vitamin C plus provitamin A and vitamins B,D and E - all as part of extracts of Calendula, Rice Bran and Rosehip husk.

Vitamin D in skin care

There are two types of vitamin D – synthetic (an oral supplement only) and natural (from plant extracts by conversion)

Vitamin D - synthetic: Cholecalciferol

Cholecalciferol is a oral dietary supplement that is taken to prevent vitamin D deficiency. As an ingredient in skin care it is useless because skin cannot absorb it.
Cholecalciferol is industrially produced by the ultraviolet irradiation of cholesterol that is extracted from sheep's wool grease and wool wax alcohols obtained from the cleaning of wool after shearing.

Vitamin D - natural: in plant extracts (by conversion)

Simplicité uses five high-quality plant extracts* that contain large amounts of squalene.

Squalene as a component of these high-quality plant extracts:

  • converts to vitamin D when applied to skin and skin is exposed to UV light - it thus improves skin’s utilisation of vitamin A.
  • is radioprotective.
  • protects against skin cancer cell growth.
  • Almond*
  • Avocado*
  • Pumpkin Seed*
  • Rice Bran*
  • Wheatgerm*

Our One Step Exfoliating Cleanser contains 13 antioxidant  extracts that clear congestion, reduce sun damage and refresh the complexion. One Step Exfoliating Cleanser includes natural vitamin D plus provitamin A and vitamins B and E - all as part of extracts of Almond and Avocado.

Vitamin E in skin care

There are two types of vitamin E – synthetic and natural.

Vitamin E – synthetic:Tocopherol

The vitamin E generally used in skin care products is a factory manufactured ingredient called tocopherol. Tocopherol is added to improve antioxidant content of a product.

Vitamin E - natural: in plant extracts

Vitamin E as a component of whole plant extracts is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants help to fight free radical damage.

Simplicité uses seven high-quality plant extracts that contain large amounts of natural vitamin E:

  • Apricot Kernel
  • Avocado
  • Jojoba
  • Pumpkin Seed
  • Rice Bran
  • Sesame
  • Wheatgerm

Our Lemon Night Creme for example contains 10 nutritive extracts that soften and smooth skin and give it a healthy glow. Lemon Night Creme contains natural vitamin E plus provitamin A and vitamins B and D, all as part of extracts of Almond, Avocado, Calendula, Carrot, Linseed, Pumpkin Seed and Sesame.

At Simplicité we believe that nature provides all our skin needs. A twice daily application of skin care products containing whole plant vitamins will ensure your your best skin yet. It is essential that these skin products use the very highest quality (medicinal grade) and effective amounts of these plant extracts.

Our skin care range has been formulated to include a finely balanced synergistic range of vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants in potent yet gentle formulations that restore elasticity and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.


vitamins vitamins in skin care

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David and Robin Lyons

Simplicité Founders

"We help our customers to never again feel disappointed or worried about their skin. Every day we hear from surprised, happy, satisfied people about the most effective skin care products they’ve ever found."