How is Vitamin A Beneficial for the Skin?

Are you aware that vitamin A stands as one of the most cherished components within the realm of dermatology? Yet, you may be perplexed by the fact that you may not have encountered it before. However, have you ever come across the terms retinoids or retinol? Let it be known that they are one and the same; retinoids represent the active or preformed version of vitamin A. In the following discourse, we shall delve into the myriad facets of this remarkable vitamin. Continue perusing to unlock its secrets and marvels.

What does vitamin A do for the skin?

Vitamin A is essential and plays a big role when it comes to the health of your skin. It is engaged in the production of new and fresh cells, which helps your skin look and function its best.

There is an impressive list that proves vitamin A is a great skincare ingredient on the market today.

  • First and foremost, this vitamin effectively enhances the shedding of old skin cells and encourages the regrowth of newer, smoother, and healthier cells.

  • It acts as an exfoliant that can promote both the texture and complexion of the skin.

  • Aside from working on the top layer of the skin, vitamin A effectively works in the dermis to stimulate collagen production.

  • This vitamin helps decrease wrinkles and fine lines and also enhances and thickens the skin.

  • Vitamin A was first FDA-approved as an acne treatment because it helps slow down the production of oil and prevents clogged pores and inflammation by removing dead skin cells.

  • Taking sufficient amounts of vitamin A can protect your skin from damages from the UV rays of the sun. It helps your skin be less sensitive to the sun and prevents it from pigmentation and sunburn.

What are healthy foods high in vitamin A?

Since our body cannot make vitamin A by itself, the only way to get this vitamin is from the diet. Luckily, many foods are rich in vitamin A, so it is easy to obtain the daily requirement. Take a look at the top list below and then add them to your diet!

Foods high in vitamin A

  • A 3-ounce serving of beef liver – 6,582 mcg (731% of the daily value (DV))

  • 1 teaspoon of cod liver oil – 1,350 mcg (150% DV)

  • Half a fillet of king mackerel – 388 mcg (43% DV)

  • Half a fillet of salmon – 229 mcg (25% DV)

  • 1 tablespoon of goose liver pate – 130 mcg (14% DV)

  • 1 slice of goat cheese – 115 mcg (13% DV)

  • 1 tablespoon of butter – 97 mcg (11% DV)

  • 1 slice of cheddar – 92 mcg (10% DV)

  • 1 large hard-boiled egg – 74 mcg (9% DV)

  • 1 tablespoon of caviar – 43 mcg (5% DV)

Vegetables high in provitamin A

  • 1 cup of cooked sweet potato – 1,836 mcg (204% DV)

  • 1 cup of cooked winter squash – 1,144 mcg (127% DV)

  • 1 cup of cooked kale – 885 mcg (98% DV)

  • 1 medium cooked carrot – 392 mcg (44% DV)

  • 1 large sweet red pepper – 257 mcg (29% DV)

  • 1 cup of raw spinach – 141 mcg (16% DV)

Fruits high in provitamin A

  • Mango – 181 mcg (20% DV)

  • Cantaloupe – 172 mcg (19% DV)

  • Papaya – 74 mcg (8% DV)

  • Apricot – 34 mcg (4% DV)

  • Guava – 17 mcg (2% DV) [1]

On average, men need to consume 900 mcg while women need 700 mcg per day to avoid a deficiency. So, if you regularly eat some of the foods listed above, you can meet your requirements with ease.

How to get more vitamin A?

Aside from eating a diet that includes a variety of foods high in vitamin A above, you take other sources to increase the amount of vitamin A as well. 

Supplements

Vitamin A is available in many versions like retinoids or retinyl palmitate or only beta carotene (carotenoid). Or sometimes, you can find supplements that combine both carotenoids and retinoids. Vitamin A is also a common ingredient in vitamin and mineral supplements. Plus, it is added to some products that are fortified with extra nutrients like breakfast cereals and milk.

Topical creams

It is easy to find some skincare products that include vitamin A as an ingredient. These range from sunblock to anti-aging creams or ointments.

Oil forms

Similar to vitamin E, vitamin A is available in the form of oil that can be applied to the skin directly.

However, if you take or apply too much vitamin, this might create unexpected side effects. Avoid taking over 3,000 mcg every day or you might face up to harmful effects like dizziness, nausea, recurrent headaches, blurred vision, etc.

Can I put vitamin A directly on my face?

Of course, Yes. Some vitamin A supplements come in oil forms that you can split and apply directly to the face. But when it comes to topical application, you need to consult your dermatologist before using it. Only try a small patch on a small area for a few days and check your skin reactions.

How to use it?

First, you need to wash your face with a gentle cleanser and dry it with a clean towel. Then wait about 15 minutes before applying a retinol supplement, and only use a pea-size amount on your whole face (do not get it too close to your eyes).

Cautions

If you let both UV and vitamin A into your skin, they will create opposite things. While one heals, the other damages, thereby leaving your skin red and irritated. So, if you are using a vitamin A product, remember to use sun protection and nourish your skin with antioxidants.

The best time to use a retinol cream is at night because it causes fewer skin sensitivities. But if you wake up in the morning and your skin is peeling, red, or dry, you should use it every other night. Note that these effects are common when starting this type of skin treatment.

How much vitamin A should I take for acne?

As previously mentioned, vitamin A can be considered safe at a daily intake of approximately 3,000 mcg (equivalent to 10,000 units). It's crucial to recognize that vitamin A comes in two distinct forms: preformed vitamin A and provitamin A. The recommended maximum daily dosage of 3,000 mcg pertains solely to preformed vitamin A.

However, it's worth noting that certain supplements may contain both preformed and provitamin A variants. In such instances, it becomes essential to ascertain the proportion of preformed vitamin A within the supplement to gauge its safety. It is possible that a vitamin A supplement with higher levels of vitamin A (exceeding 3,000 mcg) could still be considered safe if a substantial portion of it is in the provitamin A form.

In summary, vitamin A stands as a crucial nutrient with benefits not only for your skin health but also for your overall well-being. Ensuring an adequate intake of this vitamin, whether through animal and plant-based foods or supplements, can significantly enhance the condition of your skin.

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