The other day Lori posted the full ingredients list for Emergin C Multivitamin Retinol Serum ($79) and reminded me that this is a powerful over-the-counter retinol potion that deserves a closer look.

Emergin C Multivitamin Retinol Serum has a hefty 4% concentration of retinol and a 5% concentration of vitamin C. The multivitamin component is made of B complex, E, F, H and K.

Emergin C is really about the retinol, which is vitamin A. Unlike most other vitamins, vitamin A does not have a direct biological effect. It works via its active metabolite (biochemical derivative) called retinoic acid. Retinoic acid (also called tretinoin) is the active ingredient in Retin A and Renova, which are prescription only.

Vitamin A has been shown to stimulate new collagen production. The increased cell turnover caused by Vitamin A has made it particularly helpful for acne sufferers. The skin exfoliation unclogs pores and helps fade acne scars. Vitamin A is one of the few substances with a small enough molecular structure to penetrate and repair the lower layers of the skin where collagen and elastin reside. Skin will appear smoother, softer, pores will appear smaller and less noticeable, and signs of aging will begin to diminish.

All this turning over of skin cells can cause redness and irritation. Most non-prescription creams contain retinyl palmitate. This is less irritating than retinol, but not much use. Emergin C stands out amongst a handful of over the counter creams that pack a retinol punch.

I am too nervous about introducing my pathetically sensitive skin to this much A and C, but if you are made of tougher stuff and are willing to write a review, then post a comment saying why we should choose you as the lucky recipient. Post comments by August 10, please.

Ingredients in Emergin C Multivitamin Retinol Serum

Water (Aqua), Butylene Glycol, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Ethoxydiglycol, Camellia Olifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Retinol, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Sodium Tocopheryl Phosphate (Vitamin E), Mimosa Tenuiflora Bark Extract, Prunus Amygdalus (Sweet Almond) Fruit Extract, Biotin, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Extract, Arachidonic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Bisabolol, Phytonadione (Vitamin K), Humulus Lupulus (Hops) Extract. Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Extract, Melissa Officinalis (Balm Mint) Leaf Extract, Achillea Millefolium (Yarrow) Extract, Foeniculul Vulgare (Fennel) Fruit Extract, Panthenol, Calcium Pantothenate, Allantoin, Polysorbate 20, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Carbomer, Sorbic Acid