What actually is vitamin A?
Vitamin A is an essential nutrient that supports the function and health of your body. Retinol is the main form of this vitamin, and there are two types:
- Retinoids = this is a form of vitamin A that’s ready for use in our bodies
- Carotenoids = these can be converted into retinol
Fun fact: Carotenoids are pigments that give many plants their colour!
Once consumed, your liver gets to work on converting both types into retinol. This is either kept in storage in your liver or transported to the rest of your body to support a multitude of functions – one of them being to maintain healthy, glowing skin.
Okay, so how does it help my skin?
Healthy cell production:
Retinol (or vitamin A) supports the daily production of skin cells. This process is super important to maintain firm and healthy skin.Without it, skin can be weak, flaky and dry.
Putting the A in clear skin:
Vitamin A encourages clear skin in a few ways. First, it fights hyperpigmentation. Vitamin A normalises the activity of tyrosinase, an enzyme that is involved in the production of melanin, and therefore reduces the appearance of dark spots.
Secondly, by supporting your immune system, vitamin A fast-tracks healing, prevents breakouts and protects your skin from harmful irritants. It also supports natural moisturising, leaving your skin radiant and healthy.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends topical retinoids as a treatment for acne! These are creams, lotions and gels that contain medicine derived from vitamin A. Retinoids anti-inflammatory properties are also beneficial when fighting skin conditions like acne.
21 forever (almost):
Retinol is effective at stimulating collagen production (a protein that provides the skin with its structure). This can reduce the appearance of wrinkles (see here). Further evidence suggests that cell damage and premature skin ageing can be discouraged by a diet high in carotenoids. Essentially, retinol motivates the cells responsible for making collagen, which in turn strengthens skin, fills out fine lines and makes your skin appear youthful and smooth.
Where can I get vitamin A from?
Vegan? No problem! Carotenoids can be found in plant products, including:
- Sweet potatoes
- Leafy green vegetables
Whilst you can get plenty of vitamin A simply by eating a healthy, balanced diet, vitamin A is also available in supplement form.
As mentioned earlier, you can apply vitamin A directly to your skin via topical retinoids. Vitamin A is added to many cosmetic products, including moisturisers, anti-aging creams, and sunscreen – you may be surprised by how much is already in your cupboard! Vitamin A is also available as serum and oils.
Bonus: not just for your skin!
Vitamin A doesn’t just spend its time tending to your skin, it is also essential in the operation of other bodily functions you require every day! This includes:
- Maintaining a healthy immune system
- Bone health
Vitamin A is a super important nutrient that is involved in many bodily functions. When it comes to your skin, retinoids promote cell production, fights breakouts and stimulates collagen, resulting in skin that is firm, youthful and radiant.