THE SKIN BENEFITS OF VITAMIN A
You know the drill when it comes to caring for your skin: cleanse, tone, moisturize, apply sunscreen, and maybe try a few other treatments, like masks or anti-agers. Amid so many possibilities (and products) to help your skin looks its best, though, there are a few nutrients that skin really needs — and vitamin A is one of them. Whether you get it from your diet or in a topical cream, the protective and nourishing properties of A, and the nutrients your body uses to make it, lend a hand in keeping skin healthy, firm and radiant.
Unlike many other nutrients, vitamin A is a group of compounds that includes its active forms (retinal, retinol and retinoic acid) and other provitamin A carotenoids, like beta-carotene. Beta-carotene (and the other carotenoids) is the form of vitamin A that we get directly from the plant foods we eat. The pre-formed or active forms are found in animal foods. In our bodies, beta-carotene is converted into the retinol form of vitamin A.
Here’s what happens when you apply vitamin A topically:
vitamin a SMOOTHES WRINKLES
Topical vitamin A in the form of retinol (found in over-the-counter products) and retinoic acid (found in prescription creams) are proven wrinkle-fighters and many dermatologists’ go-to recommendation for combating signs of aging. Research has shown that these ingredients are able to stimulate collagen production: When collagen becomes damaged due to UV exposure and other aggressors, wrinkles begin to develop, much like cracks in a weak foundation. Retinoids “turn on” cells responsible for making new collagen, strengthening your skin and filling in fine lines below the surface so skin looks smoother. One study found that after using a prescription-strength vitamin A cream for 10 to 12 months participants noticed significantly fewer wrinkles, and medical experts noted an 80 percent increase in collagen.
vitamin a EVENS SKIN TONE AND GIVES YOU A GLOW
Vitamin A creams can help lighten sun-induced brown spots and boost skin radiance in two ways: First, by increasing and normalizing skin cell turnover, which helps you shed pigmented, damaged and rough surface cells, making room for healthier cells and allowing light to bounce off more evenly. Secondly, retinoids may block an enzyme needed for melanin (pigment) production, further helping to deliver an even-toned, glowing complexion.
Vitamin a CLEARS UP ACNE
Pimples form when pores become clogged with dead skin cells, bacteria and oil, providing the perfect breeding ground for Propionibacterium acnes, a common bacteria responsible for blemishes. When vitamin A creams stimulate cell turnover the same process happens within the pores themselves, helping to slow oil production and keep pores clear.