What is Vitamin A?
Vitamin A is an essential nutrient that needs to be replaced every day for a healthy and more youthful appearance.
It’s a fat-soluble chemical found in fish liver oils, animal livers, egg yolk, milk, spinach, parsley, carrots (and many other vegetables containing beta-carotene and other carotenoids).
There are two groups of Vitamin A:
➢ Animal source, which is called retinoids and includes retinol, and
➢ Plant source, which called carotenoids and includes beta-carotene.
Our bodies convert beta-carotene to Vitamin A.
Vitamin A is very easily degraded by exposure to light and air, so scientists came to realise that the cause of aged skin is actually a deficiency of Vitamin A caused by the light-sensitive nature of the molecule.
This is why too much sun exposure causes your skin to age prematurely.
Retinol, retinyl palmitate and retinyl acetate are different forms of vitamin A that you may find in skincare products and when applied to the skin, they are converted to retinoic acid. Retinoic acid is the compound that actually affects the skin cells and their behaviour.
While an oral Vitamin A supplement is important, the dosage taken is not adequate to treat your skin intensively. The best way to supply Vitamin A to your skin is directly onto your skin surface.
The Benefits of Vitamin A…
➢ It’s a regulator or normaliser of DNA.
➢ It increases your skin cells turnover and helps to speed up the skin cells growth to normal which in turn thickens the skin.
➢ It increases your skin-healing process because the skin cells are growing faster.
➢ It improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by encouraging fibroblast cells; the most important cells in the skin tissue to produce more collagen.
➢ It also increases the secretion of natural moisturising factors giving your skin more hydration and better tone and texture.
➢ The blood supply to the deeper layers of your skin is improved, which means that more nourishment and oxygen are delivered to your skin.
➢ Vitamin A repairs ultra-violet damage to the skin such as sunspots and age spots, and improves the appearances of skin imperfections.
Using Skin Vitamins Effectively
Vitamin A encourages cellular turnover and because of this, it should be applied to your skin with caution.
When you start applying Vitamin A you may experience skin reactions such as redness, dryness or even skin peeling in some spots. This is because there are not enough Vitamin A receptors in your skin cells’ wall to absorb this vitamin. So if you’re just starting to use Vitamin A, begin with a low-level formulation, and/or mix it with your normal moisturiser to avoid skin irritation.
Initially, you should apply your Vitamin A every second day rather than every day until your skin becomes accustomed to it. Gradually increase the dose little by little until you can apply it twice daily.
Vitamins A, C and E are all depleted by UV-A and UV-B radiation even on a cloudy or rainy day, however the effects are milder than on a sunny day.
If you apply any form of active ingredients and vitamins during the day, be sure to apply sunscreen and avoid sun exposure as much as possible to get more benefits from your products.
Most of the plastic surgeon put their clients on Vitamin A and E pre and post their surgery to fasten the skin healing as well as improving scars.
South African plastic surgeon Dr Des Fernandes, the creator of Environ skincare, says he can spot a Vitamin A user from across a crowded room.
Dr Fernandes says “There is a special radiance in the skin. The skin is smoother, pigmentation is lighter and wrinkles are less apparent. Applying topical supplements such as Vitamins A, C and E directly to the skin early on, can make a significant difference in preventing premature ageing,”
Avoid using Vitamin A serum if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
With most skin-care formulas all that is necessary to protect the active ingredients is a container that minimises air and light exposure and keeps your fingers out of the products. A pump or a tube with a very small opening is the best packaging for your skincare products.
If you want healthier looking more radiant skin consider including this super star vitamin in your daily skincare routine, before the visible signs of aging start to appear.