10-07-2017 | Dermatologist | Skin , Nutrition

Benefits of Vitamin A on your skin

Vitamin A is a nutrient which is most beneficial for the skin. We know vitamin A by many different names such as retinoic acid, retinol, antixerophthalmic vitamin, biosterol or beta-carotene. However vitamin A is an isoprenoid polyene alcohol and these names all have different functions.

We will look at the most important: Retinol is the main form of vitamin A in diets and is solely found in animal products. Carotenes and derivatives act as provitamins or precursors of vitamin A, which is found in many plant substances. So... What is retinoic acid? It is the active form of retinol on the skin and regulates queratogenesis which is the generation process of the skin’s horny layer.

What food contains vitamin A?

Vitamin A is a nutrient of animal origin. It’s complete nutrient form is found in oils from animal origin, butter, egg yolk, milk and meat (above all in liver) and some fish.

However carotenes (and beta-carotenes) are found in dark green vegetables, such as spinach, lettuce, cabbage and some vegetables such as pumpkin, carrots and yellow corn. You should always take into account that a considerable amount of carotenes are lost when these foods are dried in the sun, therefore we recommend that you eat them when they are fresh. We cannot be sure that the WHO recommended amount of vitamin A (750μg of retinol daily for adults) can be achieved by “only” consuming vegetables (carotenes) because the conversion to retinol is not effective.

And one more thing about beta-carotenes (precursor of vitamin A) that we need to bear in mind is that it does not accumulate, meaning that the body can only absorb the amount necessary and the rest is discarded. Therefore it’s important to know this when we plan our diet. Only vitamin A in its final structure can accumulate in the liver.

Benefits of vitamin A on skin

  • Anti-wrinkle: Retinoids work best against the most visible effects of aging, the fearsome wrinkles. They are often found in the form of gels or serums.
  • Firming: Retinoic acid (the active form of retinoid on the skin) regulates the queratogenesis and this is necessary to keep the skin smooth, fresh and moist. A vitamin A deficiency can cause dry, itchy skin or dry hair.   On a systematic level, it can produce any of the following symptoms: Night blindness, dry and inflamed eyes and reduced resistance to infections
  • Pigmentation: Vitamin A is an element that likely contributes more to maintaining healthy skin and helps promote a natural tan, since it encourages the pigmentation development in the skin.
  • Acne treatment: Isotretinoin is a drug derived from retinoic acid (vitamin A) which has a big effect on cystic or severe acne. Its original form helps sebum regulation.
  • Antioxidant: Beta-carotenes have an antioxidant action, meaning that they protect the body from illness and aging by blocking the action of so-called free radicals which are compounds that damage skin cells. They can be included in some treatments in a concentrated form.
  • Healing: Vitamin A promotes the healing and softness of our skin and regulates the metabolism of cellular regeneration in the horny layer.

autor
DermatologistExpert in skin care

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