Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for the body, playing multiple roles in skin and scalp care. There are two types of vitamin A – retinoids (preformed) and carotenoids (proformed). Both types are converted by the liver to a derivative called retinol. If it isn’t used immediately, it’s stored by the body or transported via the lymphatic system to the cells where it stimulates, strengthens, heals, balances and more.1 Today we’re covering the various ways in which vitamin A (retinoids and retinol) aid the skin and scalp, concluding with our top tips for introducing vitamin A into your routine.
How Vitamin A Helps The Skin And Scalp
- Balances and heals. When the sebaceous glands go into over-production, we experience clogged pores, breakouts, adult acne and oily skin/scalp. Vitamin A helps to reduce the amount of sebum (the body’s natural oil) which causes these by promoting cell turnover, exfoliating and removing dead skin cells from the epidermis. As a result, the skin and scalp are re-balanced, inflammation is reduced, hair growth is stimulated and scarring begins to heal.
- If the sebaceous glands are underactive and sebum is naturally lacking in the body, vitamin A helps to produce this, ultimately moisturising the skin and scalp, preventing them from becoming overly dry, making hair glossy and skin radiant.
- Evens skin tone. Melanocytes create the pigment called melanin. This pigment provides some protection against the sun and gives colour to our skin and hair. When we are over-exposed to UVA and UVB rays, the production of melanocytes increases, resulting in hyperpigmentation or skin spots. As a powerful antioxidant and fat-soluble vitamin, Vitamin A helps to repair this damage and distribute melanin effectively (reducing discolouration) by increasing blood flow and inhibiting the activity of tyrosinase – an oxidizing enzyme responsible for the melanin-forming process.2
- Promotes structural protein production. Vitamin A can slow down the normal ageing breakdown of collagen, elastin, and keratin which all act as building blocks for supple skin and healthy hair growth. Retinoids increase their production by stimulating fibroblasts to synthesise collagen, strengthening elastin and accelerating keratinization.
Our Tips For Using Vitamin A
- Some great sources for getting vitamin A from your diet are cheese, eggs, oily fish and liver. However, the body can also convert Beta-carotene into retinol from yellow, red and green (leafy) vegetables, such as spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes and red peppers, yellow fruit, such as mango, papaya and apricots.
- Too much vitamin A (high concentrations of retinol/retinoids) can cause damage and sensitivity so SPF is a must if applying topically.
- Too much vitamin A in the diet can also lead to brittle hair and cause hair loss (follicular hyperkeratosis – too much keratin in the hair follicles) so always start with low concentrations, increasing if needed.
- Apply at night when the skin and scalp are free to breathe, ready to absorb, and are in regeneration-mode.
- Our Scalp Oil, Face Oil and Eye Oil all contain naturally vitamin A rich oils such as Rosehip Oil, Moringa Seed Oil and Baobab Seed Oil.
- Always do a patch test when using a new product as some sensitive skins (like our Founder’s) cannot take retinols / retinoids.
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HOW DO YOU PROVIDE YOUR SKIN AND SCALP WITH VITAMIN A?
We’d love for you to tell us in a comment below!