Vitamin A Uses and Benefits
by Benjamin Bunting BA(Hons) PGCert
Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.
Retinol, or vitamin A1, is a common ingredient found in anti-aging creams and serums. It can help reduce fine lines and wrinkles, lighten dark spots, treat acne, and prevent sun damage.
It also boosts collagen and elastin production, which helps improve skin firmness and elasticity. But keep in mind that retinol can make your skin thinner, which means you’ll be more prone to bruising and tearing.
Is Vitamin A Good For You?
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that’s vital for the development and maintenance of skin, hair, eyesight, and your reproductive system. It helps prevent age-related diseases like cataracts and cancer by preventing oxidation, which can damage cells and lead to diseases.
Vitamin A comes in two forms: provitamin A, which contains specific carotenoids found in fruits and vegetables; and preformed vitamin A, which the body doesn’t have to convert into active vitamin A before using it. It’s best to eat a variety of foods that contain both these types of vitamin A.
Boosts Immune Function:
Vitamin A also helps your immune system work properly by helping your body fight off infection, per the U.S. National Library of Medicine. It also protects you against diseases that are caused by oxidation, including certain types of cancer and diabetes.
Helps Maintain Healthy Eyes:
Vitamin A is essential for maintaining your eyesight, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center. It protects your night vision and reduces the risk of developing eye disorders, including macular degeneration and glaucoma.
Aids in Healthy Pregnancy and Breastfeeding:
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, it may be necessary to get more vitamin A than the recommended dietary allowance of 770 micrograms a day. It’s especially important for women who are at high risk for fetal damage or premature birth, such as those who have had a previous miscarriage.
You can get vitamin A from a variety of sources, but some of the best foods include eggs, dark chocolate, fatty fish (like salmon), and liver. You can also find it in some plant-based foods, like carrots and sweet potatoes.
Reduces fine lines and wrinkles
Retinol is an anti-aging ingredient that promotes skin cell turnover and enhances collagen production. It can also help unclog pores and lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Retinoids can be found in prescription-strength and over the counter skin care products. They are derived from vitamin A and have long been used to treat acne, pigmentation spots, and wrinkles.
When applied topically, retinol increases surface skin cell turnover and stimulates the production of new cells in the deeper layer of your skin. It improves the skin’s texture and helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles, especially around your eyes and mouth.
It also promotes the production of fibroblasts, which are cells that help your body make collagen and elastin, which keep skin firm and elastic. In turn, your face will look plumper and younger.
Some retinols have antioxidant properties, which can help prevent free radical damage and protect your skin from sunburn. They also help reduce inflammation and promote skin repair.
Because retinol can be irritating, it’s important to use it carefully and slowly. Begin by using it every other day and work your way up to nightly applications.
You’ll want to apply it to your entire face, including your neck and the areas between your eyebrows and eyelids. The skin near your eyes is super sensitive, and retinol can easily cause irritation in that area.
To minimize any redness or swelling, you can also use a moisturizer after applying your retinol to help soothe the area. If you have dry or very sensitive skin, try using a lighter formula with a lower concentration of retinol to avoid irritation.
Retinol can also aggravate eczema and rosacea, so it’s best to avoid using it if you have these conditions. Retinoids also can increase your skin’s sensitivity to sunlight, so you should wear sunscreen whenever you’re outdoors.
Lightens dark spots
Retinol is an excellent skin care ingredient for fading dark spots as it increases the rate at which cells turnover. This results in a more even complexion. In addition, it also shrinks enlarged pores and reduces the appearance of acne scars and blackheads.
The best way to use Retinol is to apply it as part of a well-rounded routine that also includes exfoliating treatments like microdermabrasion or glycolic acid. This will ensure that the retinol is able to do its job efficiently without irritating or damaging your skin.
One of the biggest benefits of Retinol is that it can improve the overall look and feel of your skin by boosting cell turnover and collagen production. Collagen is the protein that gives skin its structure, firmness and elasticity. When your cells produce less of it, your skin can look dull and lackluster.
Luckily, there are many great products out there that contain the good stuff. For example, we found an expert-backed retinol serum that is designed to help fade the big three skin concerns (dark spots, large pores and dullness) with the aid of Vitamin C.
The secret to success with Retinol is in finding the right formula for your skin type. If you have sensitive skin, try a time-released formula with smaller, lower concentrations of the active ingredient. These will likely be the most effective, but can take some getting used to. Alternatively, you may want to try a combo of a Vitamin C and Retinol product for the best results.
Treats large pores
It has been known to reduce the appearance of large pores, increase cell turnover and boost collagen synthesis for firmer-looking skin.
Retinoids also stimulate the production of new blood vessels and reduce pigmentation for a brighter-looking complexion. Retinoids can be found in a variety of products, and some are even available over the counter without a prescription.
One of the main causes of large pores is excess oil and dirt buildup that clogs them. This clogging causes them to stretch and make them appear larger. Other extrinsic factors such as acne or oily skin can also contribute to enlarged pores.
A good way to prevent clogged pores is to cleanse your face daily and use a gentle exfoliating product at least twice a week.
You can also try a retinol moisturizer to keep your skin healthy and smoother. Look for ones that contain niacinamide, zinc oxide and vitamin B3 to help minimize the appearance of pores.
Using a retinol-based cleanser with salicylic acid can also help clear clogged pores and prevent breakouts.
Some retinoids can also be used to treat conditions such as psoriasis and warts. These are skin conditions that cause thick, white or red patches of skin to form and may be painful. Retinoids have been known to inhibit the growth of these skin cells, providing both physical and emotional relief for those suffering from psoriasis or warts.
It's a key ingredient in many products that claim to clear acne, fade dark spots and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It's widely available over-the-counter, and some formulations are prescription-strength.
In a nutshell, retinol prevents acne by decreasing the function of overactive oil glands and unclogging pores. It also helps keep the skin looking fresh and clean.
However, if you have very sensitive skin, retinol may be too harsh for your complexion. It can cause irritation and dryness, which is why many dermatologists recommend starting with a low dose and gradually increasing the frequency of your use.
As with all new treatments, it may take a few weeks for your skin to adjust to the retinoid. If you're still having problems, consider decreasing the amount of times you use it per week or switching to a weaker formula.
Another option is to use glycolic acid, which is a common exfoliant that can be used in conjunction with retinol. Alternating these two products can help alleviate the irritating effects of retinol while reducing dark spots and scarring from acne.
Glycolic acid is less likely to irritate your skin than retinol, but it can dry it out. You'll want to apply it after a shower and follow up with a moisturizer.
The best way to avoid these side effects is to choose a high-quality, reputable product and follow the instructions on the label carefully. You should also avoid the sun, as it can deactivate some retinol products.
You can try a combination of both retinol and salicylic acid, but you should only do this if you're confident that they won't irritate your skin. It's also important to alternate these products, since both can dry your skin.
Retinol and Estrogen
Estrogen is the major female sex hormone and plays a critical role in the regulation of the estrous and menstrual cycles, including the development of secondary sexual characteristics.
It is also important in the development and maintenance of female reproductive tissues such as the uterus, mammary glands and vagina during puberty, adulthood and pregnancy.
It has many other effects on the body. For example, estrogen promotes growth of bone and has a profound effect on the body's ability to produce new bone.
During the perimenopausal and menopausal periods, estrogen levels decrease, causing changes in the skin such as decreased collagen content, atrophy, thinning, and wrinkles. It also reduces blood flow and hydration, which makes the skin dry.
The skin changes associated with low estrogen levels accelerate the aging process and lead to increased risk of acne, rosacea, eczema and other skin conditions. A retinol-rich cream can help to prevent these problems and make the skin healthier and younger looking.
Retinol and Testosterone
Testosterone supports a wide range of human male attributes, including facial and body hair growth, muscle development, increase in upper body strength, and active and aggressive behavior patterns. In middle age, testosterone declines. Lesser levels cause the hair follicles to constrict and die, which is associated with baldness for some men.
In mice, retinol and retinoic acid stimulate testosterone production in Leydig cells by acting on a specific receptor. This is the receptor for LH (luteinizing hormone).
To investigate the effect of a Vitamin A-deficient diet on Leydig cell function, a research team induced vitamin A deficiency in VAD mice and measured serum testosterone concentrations.
The team also measured the expression levels of genes involved in retinoid signaling, including retinoic acid receptor alpha (Rara), retinoic acid receptor beta (Rarb), retinoid X receptor alpha (Rxra), retinoid X receptor gamma (Rxrg), lecithin-retinol acyltransferase (Lrat), aldehyde dehydrogenase family 1 subfamily a2 (Aldh1a2), and cytochrome P450 family 26 subfamily a1 (Cyp26a1).
The impants of vitamin A.ct of long-term consumption of AIN-93G on mRNA expression levels of Rara, Rarb, Rarg, Rxra, Rxrg, Lrat, Aldh1a2, and Cyp26a1 was examined by quantitative PCR. There was a significant difference between the VAE and control groups for all retinoid mRNA expression levels. This indicates that a diet lacking Vitamin A significantly increases the expression of genes involved in retinoid signaling, compared with a diet that contains sufficient amounts.
The body needs vitamin A to form and maintain healthy teeth, skeletal and soft tissue, mucus membranes and skin. Vitamin A also promotes good eyesight and helps you fight off infections.
A deficiency in vitamin A can cause night blindness, known as nyctalopia, which can lead to permanent vision loss.
Vitamin A is in two main forms: preformed vitamin A (retinol) and provitamin A carotenoids such as beta-carotene that are converted to retinol.
Eating a wide variety of foods, especially those rich in vitamin A (such as eggs, milk and cheese) is the best way to get your daily requirement. It is also possible to get sufficient amounts through dietary supplements.
How much you need depends on your age, sex and diet. The CDC recommends that adults 19 years and older get 900 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin A every day.
Taking too much of the preformed vitamin A in supplements or food can be harmful. High intakes can cause severe headache, blurred vision, nausea and dizziness. It can also cause muscle aches and problems with coordination.
Do not take too much vitamin A if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. It can harm your unborn baby and increase the risk of birth defects.
If you smoke or have a history of smoking, large doses of vitamin A may increase your risk for lung cancer. It can also increase the risk of hip fractures and osteoporosis, a condition that weakens your bones.