Vitamin A for acne


Vitamin A for acne

Vitamin A for acne is used in systemic treatments. But you can also find it in many foods. Its role in the process of keratinization is important, and the derivatives of Vitamin A are used to treat acne, but can create some important side effects. To know the different treatments based on Vitamin A and their pros and cons, here are the best articles from the net about Vitamin A for acne to help you :

Where to buy Vitamin A

Can Vitamin A Really Cure Acne?

Vitamin A for acneVitamin A is one of many solutions used to help deal with acne. It is so effective in fact that prescription treatments like Accutane and Isotrex use it as a main ingredient. What is it in this vitamin that makes it work? And what are the risks and side effects of using this treatment for acne? Read on to learn more.

Vitamin A Mechanism and Function

Vitamin A is an important nutrient needed by different parts of our body. Its most active form, retinol, is converted into retinal, which helps us see in the dark. Retinol is also converted into retinoic acid, a compound needed by the cells to multiply and specialize in function. It is also needed for the normal function of the linings of our lungs and respiratory tract.
Retinoic acid is also a vital component needed to keep skin healthy, strong and supple. It switches on genes needed for skin cells to mature, develop, and regenerate. The product Retin-A relies on this chemical to increase skin cell turnover and keep skin young-looking. A form of retinoic acid, isotretinoin, is popularly used to treat acne. It shrinks the sebaceous glands so that sebum or oil production on the skin is drastically reduced. Because of this, pores become smaller and the acne-causing bacteria that feed on oil in the pores and on skin disappear. Isotretinoin also minimizes the redness and inflammation of pimples.
Another form of vitamin A are carotenoids, precursors of retinol found in colorful plants and vegetables. Carotenoids also function as antioxidants that help protect the cells from toxins as well as help repair damaged skin.

Sources of Vitamin A

Vitamin A for acneVitamin A in the form of retinol come from animal products. These include beef and chicken liver, milk, cheese, butter, margarine, egg whites and cod liver oil. Carotenoids, on the other hand, are abundant in vegetables like carrots, spinach, kale, peas, tomatoes and pepper and in fruits like cantaloupe, apricots, papaya, mango and peaches.
Vitamin A supplements are also sold in drugstores and health shops. In the United States, the recommended daily intake of vitamin A is 700 micrograms (or 2,310 IU) for adult females and 900 micrograms (or 3,000 IU) for adult males. Acne treatments like Accutane, Isotane, and Retin-A also contain elevated levels of vitamin A.

Side Effects

Overdosing on vitamin A may cause very serious side effects. The U.S. Institute of Medicine recommends a maximum of only 3,000 IU of Vitamin A. Any more than that and you’re upping the chances of birth defects (in pregnant women), liver failure, bone weakening, and central nervous system damage. When taking vitamin A-based acne treaments, it is common to see a sudden flareup in acne, extreme dryness, irritation, flaking, and sensitivity.
There you have it – the pros and cons of vitamin A for acne. While this acne vitamin is worth trying especially for stubborn and severe acne, you can also look into other vitamins for acne that may have more health benefits than side effects.


Vitamin A For Acne

Vitamin A for acneVitamin A benefits for skin have always been known to include remedying stretch marks, scars, liver spots, wrinkles, psoriasis and also keeping skin cancer at bay. But now you can successfully use derivatives of vitamin A for acne treatment to keep those ugly eruptions at bay. Find out how vitamin A works to keep your skin clear, radiant and blemish free.

Elizabeth Hurley once said, « A bit of lusting after someone does wonders for the skin. » Today, I shall take the liberty and add « And so does using vitamin A » to her sentence. Well, the goodness of vitamin A is definitely nothing new and everybody knows how it works in favor of the entire body. It works to strengthen our ocular faculties and shields us against nyctalopia, it boosts the cardiovascular health and also keeps the cholesterol levels in check among myriad other functions. But vitamin A is also very good for skin health and it actually harnesses and reverses the effects of multiple skin problems. Vitamin A is known for remedying issues such as wrinkles as it acts as an antioxidant that limits the action of free radicals from raging havoc. Besides this, vitamin A benefits for skin includes diminishing liver spots, stretch marks and scars, healing skin diseases such as psoriasis and also eliminating cancer risks in the form of beta-carotene. Finally, one can also use derivatives of vitamin A for acne treatment under the supervision and guidance of a medical practitioner. So, how is this done? We shall find out in the following paragraphs.

Why Use Vitamin A for Acne Treatment?

To begin with, it is believed by experts that in case of a deficiency of vitamin A in the body, one can develop acne. This because vitamin A is believed to service the largest organ of the body, the skin, in multiple ways. For starters, it limits excessive secretion of sebum, one of the biggest culprits for causing acne. It also mends and conserves the skin tissue, rendering it strong, so as to prevent arbitrary eruptions. Thirdly, vitamin A happens to be one of the best antioxidants known to man and therefore it inhibits the tantrums of free radicals, which in turn strengthens the immune system and aids the eradication of acne causing bacteria. So, it is of optimal importance that one sticks to the recommended daily allowance or RDA of vitamin A which happens to be 2,310 IU for women and 3,000 IU for men. Now since there are multiple natural vitamin A sources, one can easily indulge in them 5 times a day. This will help your skin and other bodily functions as well.

How to Use Vitamin A for Acne Treatment?

Vitamin A for acneOther than this, one can use vitamin A ointments topically and capsules orally to eliminate acne. How much vitamin A for acne treatment? Herein lies the catch. Research has proven that one needs to use 3,00,000 to 5,00,000 IU per day to cure acne. But the upper limit of vitamin A perusal mustn’t under any circumstances supersede 10,000 IU in one day, or there exists very high chances of your becoming a victim of vitamin A overdose. This means that you shall become exposed to dire physiological risks, which may include acute neural and hepatic damage. People start experiencing severe headache and nausea and often the toxicity of vitamin A results in large proportion of the vitamin getting stored in you body. This is because the vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin and this means that excessive doses of it doesn’t get discharged from the body in the form of urine, as it isn’t water soluble. Retention of such high amounts of vitamin A in the body triggers multiple other bodily problems. So, if you are opting for such a treatment, then do not do so without a doctor supervising you. Even in such cases, doctors will recommend you to take non-synthetic vitamin A in doses of 300,000 IU for the first 2 weeks and then bring it down to 100,000 IU/day for 2 months. Also, one must try to divide the portions over the entire day and refrain from taking it all at once.

But nowadays, derivatives of vitamin A have been floated into the market. These retinoids are known as adapalene, isotretinoin, tazaroten, and tretinoin. Let us see them in some detail.

Adapalene: This retinoid is available in the cream and gel form and is to be applied topically in order to zap acne out of your life. Some experts take it to be more effective than tretinoin, and prescribe the patients to use it only once a day after washing the face with water and face wash, just before going to bed.

Isotretinoin: This is the most potent and the most expensive retinoid which is only given in case of the failure of all other acne treatment methods. Doctors do not prescribe it unless absolutely necessary, for it has a high tendency of inducing toxicity. Isotretinoin is taken orally and the dosage pattern is 0.5 mg/kg/day to 2mg/kg/day, distributed throughout a day, for the first 4 to 6 months, a gap of 8 weeks and then another course if absolutely necessary. This retinoid proves efficacious in cases of acute cystic acne and is a good derivative of vitamin A for acne scars removal. It works by drying out the septic sebum and eliminating the infection as a whole.

Tazarotene: Another retinoid that is available in the form of a gel. The application procedure is same as that of adapalene. Using moisturizers with this retinoid keeps dry and flaky skin at bay.

Tretinoin: Dermatologists use this retinoid most commonly for the treatment of acne, wrinkle removal and stretch marks removal. It is used in most anti-aging skin care products and harnesses the discoloration and damage caused by exposure to UV rays. It is available in the gel and cream form and is not given to patients with overtly sensitive skin.

No matter how effective these retinoids have turned out to be in the treatment of acne, one must NEVER use them without seeking the guidance of a good dermatologist. There are certain lifestyle changes that one has to adhere to when using these derivatives of vitamin A for acne, which are crucial. If you do not adhere to them, you will end up with severe retinol side effects, such as acute sunburn or torn epithelium or even pancreatitis in infrequent cases. So, why risk it. Personally, I feel that one must eat rich vitamin A food items, such as apricots, cheese, milk, romaine lettuce, pumpkin, cantaloupes, and others 5 times a day and that itself will show results. But if you must go the retinoid way, then do so under the steering of a dermatologist.


Safety of Vitamin A for Acne

Vitamin A for acneHave you heard that vitamin A is good for acne? Maybe you’ve also heard that it’s toxic? It seems that there is controversy out there about its toxicity, so I’d like to clear up the confusion by starting with how the source of vitamin A matters when questioning safety.

Vitamin A can either be natural or synthetically derived. Plants and animals contain it, but it can also be manufactured in a laboratory. Retinol (the proper name for naturally sourced, fat-soluble Vitamin A) is among the first nutrients discovered to be essential to human life. Remember, essential means we cannot have health without it. In fact, vitamin A is so important that the human body can actually manufacture it! I’ll say more about that later. Retinol is found in animal products, such as milk products and meats, the highest source being liver.

Since retinol is a fat-soluble vitamin, it remains in the body for longer periods of time than do water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C and most B vitamins. Excess amounts of retinol are stored in the liver. This is why higher doses may lead to alterations in liver function.

Another type of vitamin A-like molecule is not found in food. It’s isotretinoin, a synthetically produced kind of vitamin A. Isotretinoin is the acne drug, Accutane. If you are using isotretinoin orally as prescribed, your doctor requires you to have blood work done every few weeks to monitor liver function. This is because the dosage prescribed is so extremely high that it can cause liver damage (i.e. , a minimum of 100,000 i.u.! Compare this to the upper limit of retinol supplementation suggested by government health officials: 10,000 i.u.)

Beta-Carotene: Now, scary things aside, compare isotretinoin to beta-carotene. Found in plant foods and often mislabeled as ‘vitamin A’ , beta-carotene is NOT the same as retinol. It has very different functions. Beta-carotene and other carotenoids such as alpha-carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin have anti-oxidant properties, protecting cells from damage by unstable, reactive molecules. Highest food sources include fruits and vegetables that are yellow, orange or red in colour.

The Magic of Beta-Carotene and Zinc

Vitamin A for acneBecause it is stored in the skin, not the liver, and isn’t retinol, beta-carotene wins the prize as the safest way to improve your vitamin A status. But the most interesting thing about beta-carotene is that it can be converted to retinol in the body. How effectively your body does this depends on a number of factors, such as liver and thyroid health, age and diet . In fact, without the mineral zinc you will not be able to produce retinol on your own! This becomes a really important fact if you are not eating a well-balanced, nutrient-dense diet. Vegetarians are wise to pay particularly close attention to plant foods rich in zinc if they suffer from acne or other skin problems since they are not eating any pre-formed retinol.

So, now that we’ve clarified the different types of vitamin A we can only now begin to assess their safety. Stay tuned for the next installment that will explain how vitamin A supports skin health!


Vitamin A for acne is effective, but caution about the side effects so talk about it with your physician.