What Does Vitamin A Do For Your Skin?

Written by Arshiya Syeda

Healthy skin has a natural shine and a bouncy structure that makes a person look attractive. To maintain skin health, it is important to give it the vitamins it deserves. Vitamins give your skin a healthy appearance. They may also reduce the chances of premature aging, psoriasis, or acne (1).
One of those vitamins fast gaining popularity is vitamin A. How does it help improve your skin? Here, we discuss vitamin A and how it may benefit your skin health. Take a look.

What Is Vitamin A?

Vitamin A has an integral role to play in the overall skin health of an individual. When an individual consumes Vitamin A, the liver converts it to retinol. Primarily, there are two types of vitamin A – the preformed version, retinoids, and the preformed version, carotenoids. Cartenoids are loaded with ant-oxidants and help tackle cell damage, premature aging, and several other skin diseases (2).

When vitamin A is topically applied to the skin, the same is absorbed and the skin ceases to be overly dry. That is because retinol is a key ingredient that fosters the production of new skin cells (3). Prolonged decrease in vitamin A results in papules forming on the skin, leading to conditions like follicular hyperkeratosis (excess keratin in the hair follicles on the skin) (3).

Topical retinoids are also effective in treating oily skin conditions such as pimples and acne (4). Retinol, a derivative of vitamin A, also helps stimulate the collagen production in the body. This way, it helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles (5).

Now that you understand what vitamin A is, let us explore how it can benefit your skin.

Benefits Of Vitamin A For Your Skin

1. May Slow Down The Signs Of Aging

Vitamin A can be applied topically on the skin. You can also incorporate it into your diet. It is a potent antioxidant that supports collagen production and helps reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and saggy skin (that could be caused due to collagen damage).
Prolonged UV exposure is one major cause for this. The carotenoids have antioxidant properties (2). These may help reduce the premature signs of aging.

2. May Protect Against Infection

The skin is the first line of defense against pollutants, bacteria, and several other infections. Vitamin A promotes the production of new skin cells and strengthens the skin. This way, it is thought to fight any skin infections. However, more information is warranted in this regard.

3. May Even The Skin Tone

Anecdotal evidence suggests that using vitamin A lotion on skin can even its tone. The lotion may help improve skin cell turnover. It may help shed the damaged and pigmented skin surface. Healthier skin cells are formed that give boost the natural radiance. More research is warranted to further understand this specific property of vitamin A.

4. Boosts Natural Skin Pigmentation

Retinoic acid (a metabolite of vitamin A) regulates the pigments in the skin and helps keep skin smooth. It also promotes wound healing (6). Lack of vitamin A results in the depletion of retinoic acid may cause dry and itchy skin. Regular consumption or application of vitamin A leads to an ample supply of retinoic acid, leaving the skin fresh and moist.

Vitamin A helps shed the unwanted pigmented skin. The retinoids in the skin block certain enzymes needed for melanin production (7). Melanin tends to darken the skin.

5. May Help Reduce Acne

Retinoic acid is a major constituent of Isotretinoin, a drug used to treat acne (8). This drug also helps with sebum regulation, which is one reason vitamin A is also thought to help treat acne. However, the direct role of vitamin A in acne treatment is yet to be studied.

6. May Help With Wound Healing

Vitamin A may repair the skin from everyday damage. It regulates the cellular regeneration metabolism of the skin’s deeper layers and leaves your skin feeling supple. The vitamin A also boosts the growth of skin cells, fibroblasts, and other skin tissues. It even boosts collagen synthesis (9).

Compounds like retinol, retinal, and retinoic acid are derivatives of vitamin A and play an integral role in the growth of skin cells (3). When the body is deprived of Vitamin A, the skin weakens and is more prone to wounds. Vitamin A may also help reduce the risk of certain types of cancers (10).

7. May Protect Against Sun Damage

Vitamin A absorbs certain ultraviolet radiation and has a photoprotective action on the skin. The vitamin is the parent compound of retinyl esters. Retinyl esters work on the epidermis and absorb ultraviolet radiation (11). This helps protect the human skin against sun damage.
The antioxidant properties of vitamin A also squelch the free radicals on the skin and reduce its sensitivity to solar rays. As a result, you will have a visible reduction in sun-induced pigmentation, redness, and itchiness (3).

Now that you know how your skin stands to benefit from vitamin A, it is time to understand how you can procure this nutrient.

Sources Of Vitamin A

  • Some of the richest sources of vitamin A include (12):
  •  Eggs
  • Fortified milk
  •  Fortified breakfast cereal
  •  Orange and yellow fruits and veggies
  •  Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and broccoli (sources of beta-carotene)
    Yellow fruits such as apricots, papaya, or mango add beta-carotene to your diet. The body then converts it to retinol. Red vegetables such as carrots and red peppers are other good sources of beta-carotene.

While vitamin A has its advantages, excess can be bad. What is the right dosage of this nutrient?

How Much Vitamin A Do You Need?

An average adult male in the age group of 16 to 64 years needs 600 to 900 µg of Vitamin A daily. Women would need about 600 to 700 µg a day (13). For people who consume a balanced meal, their daily vitamin A requirement can be met through their diet.
You must realize that vitamin A must be consumed in the quantities mentioned above. Excess intake can cause certain side effects.
Risks And Side Effects Of Using Vitamin A For SkinIf you are considering vitamin A pills for skin, you must be cautious. Daily dosage exceeding 10,000 IU can be dangerous for your health (14). One may experience bone thinning, headache, nausea, and even liver damage. Check with your doctor for the dosage ideal for you.

Vitamin A supplements may react with prescription retinoids, hepatoxic drugs, anticoagulants, and cancer drugs such as bexarotene. More research is warranted in this regard. But if you are on any of these medications, consult your doctor before taking vitamin A supplements. There is inadequate information on the safety of vitamin A supplements for pregnant or breastfeeding women. Stay safe and avoid use.
Vitamin A oil may cause possible irritation on the skin. To minimize this side effect, you can consider using vitamin A oil with low retinoid concentration every alternate day. Avoid abrasive substances like scrubs, astringents, and peel-offs. Products containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid must also be avoided. If possible, avoid overexposure to the wind, sunlight, or extremely cold conditions in the initial days of using retinoid creams or oils. As your skin gets accustomed, you can increase the frequency of usage or the retinoid percentage in the product.

Final Words

Having adequate vitamin A is one of the most important factors for boosting skin health. Now that you know the benefits, side effects, and risks associated with Vitamin A for the skin, you are in a position to make a better-informed decision. Start using it today, but be wary of the adverse effects.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do skin issues resurface if vitamin A consumption is discontinued?

Vitamin A is an essential nutrient. Discontinuation of topical application or oral consumption may adversely affect your skin and general health. Consult your dermatologist to understand the best way to use Vitamin A for the skin.

Can vitamin A be combined with other ingredients in skincare products?

Yes, you can combine vitamin A with other ingredients in skincare products. Consult your doctor for more information on the same.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

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Arshiya Syeda is an editor and certified counselor. Ever the lover of the written word, she served on the editorial boards of her school and college newsletters. Writing articles on hairstyles, hair care, and nutrition helped her combine her love for reading, writing, and research. As an editor, she helps her team members deliver polished and meticulously researched content. Arshiya is fluent in English, Urdu, and Hindi and aims to become a multilinguist by learning German and teaching herself American Sign Language (ASL).