BEAUTY AND COSMETIC
vitamin a and acne
By Arthur J. Sumrall, M.A., M. D.
We tend to think of acne as an adolescent problem. But most of us know that these unsightly flare-ups can persist well beyond youth. Vitamin A has been shown in all forms to be beneficial to our skin.
Acne has been around for centuries and has been a plague on human skin throughout history. In ancient times, sulfur was used by Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans to relieve the skin of impurities. In the 1920’s Benzoyl Peroxide was developed and used as the main treatment. In recent years another ingredient has been found to be beneficial in the treatment of acne – Vitamin A.
There are various derivatives that have been developed to help clear the skin of impurities. These derivatives also help rejuvenate skin and increase the overall health of the skin. The vitamin A derivatives became popular for skin use in in the 1970’s.
It seems that all forms of Vitamin A have a positive impact on skin. Vitamin A is a potent antioxidant which helps minimize the negative affect of free radicals on the skin. A decrease in free radicals gives the skin a chance to purge itself of impurities.
Vitamin A improves acne conditions by helping reduce the production of excessive oil. This makes Vitamin A, a good topical treatment for Acne. The oral supplement, Accutane, is a Vitamin A derivative and has been used for many years for Nodular and Cystic Acne, in other words moderately severe to severe acne.
Vitamin A derivatives promote removal of comedones and help prevent development of microcomedones. These Vitamin A derivatives help with the formation of very small blood vessels and help increase collagen formation; this improves the texture of the skin.
There are two common forms of topical Vitamin A: retinol and retinaldehyde, both are good topical agents for acne. Retinols are converted to retinoic acid by the skin. This derivative includes several compounds known as retnoids, retinoic acid, and retnyl.
Retinoids, are good treatments for acne. This form led to the development of what is commonly known as Retin-A.
A mild form of retinoids is known as retinaldehyde. It may be used with other acne agents, such as betahydroxy and benzyl peroxide.
A mild peel with Vitamin A supports the goal of helping the removal of dead skin while breaking up congestion. A Vitamin A peel should be used after other agents have been tried, including prescribed home care.
The author does not suggest that Vitamin A and its derivatives are the only treatment for acne. The use of retnoids is a good first step.