Vitamin A for Acne

Vitamin A for Acne

Vitamin A is a nutrient that is often recommended for acne and also provides numerous other health benefits. Often available 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 vitamin A for acne. There are many types of acne including blackheads, whiteheads, cystic acne and nodular acne.

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 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 Liposomal Vitamin A by Da Vinci Labs come into play.  This vitamin A supplement provides 1500mcg 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. Although higher strengths are available, the liposomal delivery system ensures excellent absorption into the bloodstream.

Retinol in skin care

Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A and is considered by most dermatologists to be transformative in effective skincare. Studies have shown it to enhance cell turnover in skin resulting in improvements in ageing skin, hyperpigmentation and acne.

With specific reference to acne, by enhancing cell turnover, it helps prevent pore congestion, regulates oil production and improves appearance of blemishes. Retinol is just one of a group called retinoids of which Granactive Retinoid Serum by Garden of Wisdom remains a firm favourite since it provides all the benefits to prevent acne without any irritation so common to high strength retinol products.


Vitamin A supplements and topicals 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.

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