Vivant Skin Care



The story behind Vivant Skin Care

Vivant Skin Care was founded by husband and wife team James and Sara Fulton. What’s interesting is that Dr. Fulton, dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon, co-developed Retin A in 1969. In case you aren’t familiar with Retin A (tretinoin), it’s one of the strongest and most effective topical retinoids used to treat acne and skin aging. As a fellow researcher and formulator, Sara Fulton envisioned the creation of a line of skin care products designed to provide solutions for problem skin. Her vision turned into a reality when she founded Vivant Skin Care in 1990. Today, Vivant Skin Care formulates products for the treatment of acne, hyperpigmentation, and melasma, as well as a number of creams and serums that treat wrinkles and fine lines.

What are the best selling Vivant Skin Care products?

Vivant Skin Care offers a variety of skin care products, including cleansers, toners, corrective serums, moisturizers, masks, eye and lip care, and body care products. Since there are too many products to cover in this review, we’ll discuss three of the best selling Vivant Skin Care products below.

First up is the Vivant Skin Care Mandelic Acid Toner. This multi-tasking toner is said to refine surface texture and prime skin for more efficient, faster absorption of the following steps of your skin care routine. The toner also clears surface buildup, promotes exfoliation, and removes dirt, oil, and make-up from pores. It can help with acne, aging, and hyperpigmentation, and is recommended for those with dry and combination skin. Vivant Skin Care Mandelic Acid Toner can be used by skin of all hues, and is ideal for sensitive darker skin tones and skin that is too sensitive for benzoyl peroxide and glycolic acid. 

Another best selling Vivant Skin Care product is called Exfol-A, a corrective serum that is Phase 2 in Vivant’s multi-tiered, patented vitamin A renewal therapies. This serum is said to slough away dead skin cells, encourage cell renewal, and help reduce wrinkles, acne scarring, and hyperpigmentation. It is recommended for those with normal, combination, or oily skin. 

The final best selling product is the Vivant Skin Care Daily Repair Pads. These single use, alcohol free pads are formulated with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and rejuvenating ingredients to improve skin texture and tone while prepping skin for better absorption of the next steps of your skin care routine. The Daily Repair Pads are recommended for all skin types, and are ideal for acne-prone, unevenly pigmented, discolored, or aging skin.

What are the key Vivant Skin Care ingredients?

Since Dr. Fulton co-developed Retin A, it’s easy to see why vitamin A (retinol) is a key ingredient in Vivant Skin Care products. While Retin A can effectively treat acne and aging skin, it is well known to cause side effects like skin dryness, irritation, and peeling. Thus, Dr. Fulton had a goal of harnessing the multiple benefits of vitamin A acid in a form that was both effective and easily tolerated by skin. The result was his patented vitamin A propionate, which provides all the efficacy of Retin A without the excess irritation.

Vitamin A propionate differs from other vitamin A derivatives in its molecular structure. For example, vitamin A (retinyl) palmitate and other forms of over the counter retinoids, have a large molecular structure, which makes them unable to penetrate skin and effectively treat photo-aging or acne. The smaller molecular structure of vitamin A propionate enables this ingredient to penetrate into the deep layers of skin where it can accelerate cell proliferation and the growth of collagen and elastin.

The skin normally takes about 28 days from the first formation of a cell in the basal layer of the epidermis until it naturally sheds off. Vitamin A propionate speeds this process up to 10 to 14 days, which results in thicker and more plump skin. Additionally, vitamin A propionate exfoliates the skin by causing more rapid shedding of the stratum corneum. The stratum corneum is typically composed of 14 layers of densely packed corneocytes (dead skin cells). The use of topical vitamin A propionate sloughs off several of these cell layers, thinning the stratum corneum to eight or nine elastic layers of more loosely woven skin cells.

The combination of rapid regeneration of cells and exfoliation of the stratum corneum not only improves the appearance of aging skin, but also helps to peel away dark spots and blemishes. Over time these actions improve acne, soften the skin, lift dark spots and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

Another key ingredient found in many Vivant Skin Care products is mandelic acid, a type of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). AHAs are popular skin care ingredients because they have the ability to exfoliate the skin, stimulate the skin’s natural regeneration process, and help the skin to retain moisture. Mandelic acid is unique because it has a larger molecular size than glycolic acid, the strongest AHA. You see, stronger doesn’t always equal better. Glycolic acid may be too strong for some skin types, leading to skin irritation, redness, and swelling. This is why mandelic acid is an excellent option for those with sensitive skin and for those who have never exfoliated with an AHA before. 

One problem with several Vivant Skin Care products is that the formulations contain high concentrations of denatured alcohol. For example, denatured alcohol is the very first ingredient in Vivant Skin Care Exfol-A (this means it’s the highest concentration ingredient!) There is also a very high amount of denatured alcohol in the Mandelic Acid Toner. Denatured alcohol is problematic for all skin types because this type of alcohol is well known to cause skin dryness, irritation, and even disruption of the skin barrier, especially when used in high concentrations. 

Where is Vivant Skin Care sold?

Vivant Skin Care is sold on the brand’s website (, as well as third party online sellers such as Dermstore, Amazon, and more. There is also a spa and reseller locator on the brand’s website that searches for available stores in the local area by zip code.

Is Vivant Skin Care cruelty free?

Vivant Skin Care is cruelty free. The brand affirms that their products are not tested on animals. However, some of the raw materials that are in the products were tested on animals back in the 70’s/80’s. The brand points out that it would be difficult to find any skin care company that does not contain raw materials that were tested on animals up to the 1980’s. 



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