Vitamin A for Acne

Vitamin A for Acne

According to the NIH, oral vitamin A for acne could prove to be as effective as retinoids for acne. Vitamin A is a nutrient that is often recommended for acne and also provides numerous other health benefits. Vitamin A for acne is often found in supplements as two types, provitamin A and preformed vitamin A, it can be confusing at to which vitamin A supplement should one take.

What is Vitamin A?

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble group of vitamins that are essential for many processes within the body including maintaining healthy vision, a healthy immune system, ensuring healthy cell renewal and for healthy skin and hair growth.

Provitamin A carotenoids which include beta carotene, alpha carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin are the inactive forms of vitamin A found in plants. These carotenoids must be converted into retinol in the intestine before being utilised.

Preformed vitamin A is the active form of vitamin A that the body utilises daily and is found exactly as it is in animal products including meat, fish & chicken and included retinol, retinal and retinoic acid.

Whilst provitamin A carotenoids may be converted into retinol, this process may not occur effectively for people with digestive concerns, inflammation in the gut, enzyme reduction due to age, gall bladder disease, excessive alcohol intake and in diabetics.

Does vitamin A help fight acne?

Now that we understand the differences in the two types of vitamin A, we can look to understand the benefits of how vitamin A is good for acne. There are many types of acne including blackheads, whiteheads, cystic acne and nodular acne. There are many vitamins for acne, supplements for healthy and clear skin, but vitamin A is often the most prescribed treatment for acne-prone skin. 

There are many factors that contribute to acne and so it is useful to know that vitamin A is a powerful nutrient that can fight acne. Vitamin A especially preformed vitamin A supplements can promote healthy cell renewal which can result in improved skin appearance as well as strengthening your tissues from within which means less likelihood of acne breakouts.

Medications such as Roaccutane contain a synthetic form of vitamin A for acne which works to prevent clogging of pores from dead skin cells, reducing amount of oil produced and decreasing androgen production that causes inflammation. Natural vitamin A supplements, especially preformed vitamin A may also provide these benefits albeit gentler in action and generally without side effects.

Whilst vitamin A may be obtained from food sources, keep in mind that it is hard to obtain your daily requirements through diet alone which is where vitamin A supplements such as Nutrisorb® Vitamin A by Biocare come into play.  This vitamin A supplement provides 750 mcg per daily dose which is generally accepted as the therapeutic dose for skin concerns but do remember that vitamin A supplements are not a ‘cure-all’ and will be of benefit when combined with a healthy and varied diet. Biocare's Vitamin A supplement is ideal for those who cannot swallow or have digestive disorders that hinder absorption of nutrients as this liquid Vitamin A supplement can be taken under the tongue which by-passes the digestive tract so that the vitamin A is delivered directly into the bloodstream.

Retinoids in skin care

Tretinoin is a generic name for a derivative of Vitamin A used to help combat acne. Tretinoin and Retinol are both topical retinoids for acne treatment. They are considered by most dermatologists to be transformative in the treatment of acne as well as blackheads. Studies have shown retinoids work by exfoliating dead skin cells and enhancing cell turnover to produce healthy new cells. These new cells push the dead cells and excess oil in the blocked pores.

Retinoids in skincare for acne also keep the pores clear of dead skin cells and regulate oil production. By enhancing fresh cells, retinoids improve the appearance of blemishes and scars.

However, Tretinoin for acne, retinol and many other retinoids are not without side effects. The most common retinol side effects include burning, itching, reddening and discolouration of skin. Tretinoin is therefore only available on prescription due to these side effects.

Many people wish to use gentle retinoids for acne as part of their skincare routine such as retinol. Retinol is a retinoid for acne that can also display similar side effects such as dry skin, irritated skin, itching, and redness which is dependent on the strength used.

Fortunately, there are gentler retinoids than retinol, which are equally effective in combating acne and spot-prone skin without irritation such as Granactive Retinoid Serum. DoSe Granactive Retinoid 5% Serum contains Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate and is a gentle retinoid serum for treatment of acne which is well tolerated by most people and provides all the benefits to treat acne without any irritation so common to high strength retinol products.


Vitamin A supplements and retinol serums can be a saviour for your acne. It is however important to understand that too much vitamin A can be detrimental to the body. Vitamin A supplements should not be taken alongside anticoagulant medications, prescription retinoids and also during pregnancy or whilst breastfeeding. Additionally, it is not recommended to apply retinol serums during pregnancy or whilst breastfeeding.


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