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27 Oct

Vitamin A and youthful facial skin

When we think of youthful facial skin we think of magic creams, serums and elixirs. We research online and head to the pharmacy to load up on the latest anti ageing creams, antioxidants and multivitamins. The role of nutrition in maintaining skin health is largely forgotten. Fresh produce, fruits and vegetables are a natural source of skin friendly nutrients. These can be combined with topical Vitamin A creams for maximum anti ageing effect. In this article I’ll discuss the benefits of Vitamin A and its role in skin rejuvenation. 

What are free radicals and how do they age the skin?

Free Radicals are unstable molecules produced in the body in response to stresses such as exposure to sunlight, air pollution and environmental toxins. Once produced, these free radicals attack healthy cells damaging cellular DNA and the cell membrane. The ongoing free radicals induce cell damage and fast tracks ageing of the cells, which eventually shows as fine lines, wrinkles and dull skin tone.

How Vitamin A can help "Age-proof" your skin

  1. Antioxidant properties

Vitamin A is a powerful Antioxidant and it can help counteract the damaging effects of free radicals on the skin and slow down skin ageing.

  1. Cell growth and differentiation

Vitamin A is essential for healthy looking skin as it helps increase the production of skin-support substances like collagen and glycosaminoglycans. These two compounds form a strong matrix around skin cells keeping the skin tight and toned and making it more efficient at keeping toxins and other harmful substances out of the body.

Vitamin A cream has a proven track record

Topical use of Vitamin A cream is an effective way to address fine wrinkles, lines, oily skin and pigmentation. Vitamin A acts on both the epidermis and dermis of the skin. It increases the collagen deposition and helps minimise fine lines and wrinkles. Medical grade Vitamin A products have a higher concentration of the active ingredient and an effective way in which this Vitamin A is delivered to the dermal layer of the skin for maximum benefit.

What are natural sources of vitamin A?

In the human diet, there are two forms of Vitamin A. Retinol which is the biologically active form of vitamin A and carotenoids which the body converts into active Vitamin A or retinol.

For your body to utilise Vitamin A efficiently, your diet should be rich in Vitamin K as well.

Vitamin A foods

The best vitamin A dietary sources (retinol) are liver and cod liver oil. You can also get vitamin A in egg yolk, fish, kidney, cream, butter and cheese.

Tip: Try to get these vitamin A rich foods from pastured chicken, wild fish and grass fed animals.

Why?

I’m sure you’re aware about the difference between grain-fed animals and grass fed ones. The meat and liver from grass-fed animals and wild fish contain much more carotenoids compared to farmed animals. The reason is that unlike grains, grass, forage and algae are carotenoid-rich. Hence, the animals feeding on them absorb a considerable amount of these antioxidants in there tissues.

Can you get adequate Vitamin A from a vegetarian diet

For vegetarians the following are rich sources of Vitamin A:

  • Dark green veggies – kale, spinach, turnip greens, bok choy, lettuce and broccoli
  • Yellow/orange fruits and veggies – apricots, rockmelon, pumpkin, carrots, squash, capsicums and sweet potato with the skin 

Beware of the risk of dietary overdose of Vitamin A

It’s important to note that taking isolated, synthetic vitamin A as a supplement could put you at risk of an overdose, which could have serious repercussions on your liver and brain and can even damage your skin. It is best that you discuss this with your GP Doctor or Primary Care Physician.

Has this article been helpful? I would love to hear your thoughts, please let me know in the comment section below.

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Dr Naveen Somia MBBS, PhD, FRACS

Dr. Naveen Somia is a Sydney Plastic Surgeon who listens to his patients, understands their problems and works alongside them to help achieve their aesthetic goals by applying his skills and years of experience in Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery. A published author on Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery, Naveen’s blog is aimed at helping you make the right choices and stay safe in your quest to look your personal best.