Being a fan of Mad Hippie products such as the Vitamin C Serum and the Exfoliating Serum, I was eager to try the Mad Hippie Vitamin A Serum ($32.99). I am in my mid-50s with oily and very sensitive skin. I had mild acne when I was younger and still get an occasional pimple from time to time. In recent years, I have also occasionally developed a few persistent milia. I have had some success with the Mad Hippie Exfoliating Serum for the milia, but felt frustrated that they kept returning. I have tried retinoic acid and retinol products periodically over the years with mixed results because my skin is so sensitive. While I have seen some improvement with the use of Vitamin A creams in the past, I also had stopped using them because I felt that my skin was getting even more sensitive. Because of this, I had not used these products for some time and was interested to see if my skin would tolerate this formulation.
According to the Mad Hippie website, the product features retinyl retinoate, a "revolutionary new form of vitamin A that is 2x more bioavailable than retinol while also being significantly more stable." They cite 2010 and 2012 studies that state that this form of vitamin A is less drying and irritating than retinoic acid (the form that requires a prescription) and retinol (found in many over-the-counter products). The serum also includes antioxidants like coffee berry and alpha lipoic acid, as well as anti-inflammatory ingredients such as phytoceramides and oat beta glucan.
I began the trial using the product as instructed, every other day, and applying my usual moisturizer over it after it dried. I did not experience any irritation, and after the first ten days, I increased the frequency of use. The serum applies easily and dries down to a matte finish quickly. I continued not to experience any irritation.
At first, I did not notice any observable difference in my skin, except that a couple of stubborn milia resolved, which I felt very happy about. At about three weeks into the trial, my husband, who does not usually comment on my skin, mentioned that I was looking "especially nice" lately. Since this is the only thing I am doing differently, I have to credit the Vitamin A Serum! At the end of the four weeks, I noted that fine lines on my forehead were improved and that my marionette lines also looked better. My skin felt smoother and slightly less oily.
Now that the trial is completed, I plan to continue to use the Mad Hippie Vitamin A Serum, at least during the cooler months. I live in Southern California, and am concerned about sun sensitivity during the peak sunshine months, even though I wear sunscreen religiously. I would definitely recommend this product to others who may have had difficulty tolerating retinol or retinoic acid products in the past.