A healthy body means healthy skin. Our skin is a window into what is going on internally, and the first signs of health or illness can be visible on our complexions. Eating a balanced diet is important for your heart, waistline and entire body, and healthy food also benefits the skin. There are few nutrients that have as direct an impact on skin health as Vitamin A. In addition to the glow that you will get from feeling good and being healthy, Vitamin A can give your complexion a special glow.
The Linus Pauling Institute has researched the relationship between a diet rich in Vitamin A and skin health. The term “retinoids” denotes Vitamin A itself or compounds derived from the vitamin. Retinoids have a significant effect on the epidermis and the dermis, the underlayer of the skin. In these areas are receptors that react to Vitamin A. Applying Vitamin A topically has been shown to reverse or at least slow down the aging process and can provide significant protection against UV rays. Ultraviolet radiation is associated with skin cancers and the appearance of wrinkles prematurely. Vitamin A can reverse the effects of sun exposure and make the skin smoother, softer and can prevent irregular pigmentation. Vitamin A has also been found to promote wound healing.
Ultraviolet radiation affects the skin by targeting collagen. It can alter the composition of collagen cells and cause wrinkles to form. Our skin ages when it loses that elastic quality provided by collagen. The surface of the skin becomes weak and is no longer firm, but collapses in the form of wrinkles. Vitamin A helps support these cells and firms them up so they will not create wrinkles. Vitamin A is effective against damage already done by ultraviolet rays, but it can also be applied topically as a preventative measure against UV rays before they cause problems. It is a good idea to apply a cream rich in vitamin A ahead of time if you are planning a day at the beach.
Research has demonstrated the positive effect of Vitamin A on skin. In one study, the amount of collagen in the skin increased 80% with the application of Vitamin A. In addition, those with wrinkles showed a 20% decrease in wrinkle length after taking Vitamin A treatments for a short period of time. When rats were given cod liver oil, which is rich in Vitamin A, they showed dramatically faster and more effective wound healing than the control group. In many of these studies, Vitamin A was applied externally in the form of oil and creams, but eating a diet rich in this valuable vitamin can also promote skin health.
In addition to preserving skin from the ravages of time, Vitamin A can also be an effective treatment for acne. This condition is the bane of the average teenager’s existence, but can also occur in adults, especially during periods of stress or hormonal fluctuation. Acne is caused by an overactive sebaceous gland in the skin. When too much sebum fluid is released, the result is a pimple. Vitamin A can help prevent the excessive secretion of sebum and can keep pimples from forming. In addition, Vitamin A works as an exfoliator and helps remove dead cells from the surface of your skin. Pores get clogged because of excessive sebum fluid, but this problem is made worse if there are dead cells in the way. Vitamin A removes these cells from the surface and prevents blockage.
Vitamin A can also help bring oxygen-rich blood to the skin. You may notice how your face looks flushed after an intense workout. Exercise can get your lungs working faster and your heart pumping. A day at the gym can remove impurities from the body through perspiration and bring oxygen and nutrients to your skin. Vitamin A facilitates this oxygen transfer and maximizes the benefits of a strong circulation. It helps hydrate your skin to keep it supple. You may have been told that drinking 8 glasses of water a day is essential for skin health, but Vitamin A is the essential ingredient that brings this water to your skin’s cells. In addition, Vitamin A can reprogram cells that are not functioning properly. This means that the vitamin can help stop malignant growth in its tracks and prevent the development of skin tumors.
Given the benefits Vitamin A provides for your skin, there are many beauty products on the market that feature Vitamin A as the main ingredient. You can choose from numerous brands of moisturizers, exfoliators, and toners that contain this valuable vitamin. You can also find retinol, which is Vitamin A in its pure form, from a pharmacy or through a prescription from your dermatologist. When using retinol or another Vitamin A preparation, keep in mind that the active ingredient is sensitive to direct sunlight. You don’t have to keep your bottle under wraps, because most retinol bottles are opaque or can even be metal to avoid direct light, but try to avoid taking it into the sun.
You will probably be directed by your health practitioner to use the retinol every other day rather than daily, at least at the beginning of the treatment. Many people have a sensitivity to retinol, and it is important to make sure your skin is accustomed to it before applying large doses every day. If you have a reaction to the retinol, contact your health practitioner for other options. People with certain skin conditions and pregnant women should avoid using retinol. Many of the initial reactions go away as the skin gets used to the substance. It is best to apply retinol at night because exposure to the sun can make it work less effectively. In addition, your skin repairs itself in the night time when you are asleep, so it is a good idea to apply creams before your retire.
You may love eating carrots to get Vitamin A, and this nutrient is not only great for your eyes, but for the rest of your body as well, including the skin. Applying Vitamin A or retinol topically can reverse the effects of sun damage, slow down aging and combat acne. It is also effective at healing wounds and hydrating the skin.