Vitamin A – Your Skin’s Ingredient of Choice

Foods Rich in Vitamin A

If your skin could ask for one ingredient, Vitamin A would probably be its first choice. There are two ways to get your daily dose of Vitamin A and we recommend trying your best to do both.

  1. Topically and;
  2. Internally.


Vitamin A requires an enzyme in the skin to convert it to its active state known as ‘Retinoic Acid’, which is the ingredient that effects change. Without that enzymatic conversion, Vitamin A is mostly useless and can be quite irritating.

Unfortunately, having ‘Vitamin A’ printed on the bottle in big bold letters doesn’t help with that aspect. Penetration is key – and it’s penetration without causing inflammation mind you.

Penetration into the skin is where the real science, chemistry and most importantly change occurs. Ingredients like Vitamin A need to be encapsulated in a nano-particle or liposome consisting of Phosphatidylcholine. Because it mimics your skins own natural makeup, it can merge with the inter-cellular matrix of the skin upon contact where the enzymatic conversion can begin.

So next time you purchase your favourite Vitamin A product, you ideally want to see an ingredient such as ‘Lecithin’, ‘PC’ or ‘Phosphatidylcholine’ in the ingredients deck. If none of these ingredients appears, ask your therapist how the Vitamin A is going to penetrate. Make sure you get a clear and concise answer.

Benefits may include:

  • Promotes a healthy dermis and epidermis.
  • Promotes natural moisturising factors.
  • Pivotal role in cell metabolism and homeostasis.
  • Supports collagen and elastin formation.
  • Helps support skin immunity.
  • Can help to improve pigmentation.

Why not just use Retinoic Acid?

Some people can tolerate it, others can’t – the ‘can’t’ is generally much greater than the ‘can’. There are far better alternatives available. Retinoic Acid does not belong topically on the skin. In can cause serious irritation, can result in over-exfoliation, and be highly inflammatory.

It’s not something you should rush out and buy without evaluating the pros and cons. Thankfully, Retinoic Acid is only available by prescription.


You can acquire Vitamin A from foods like Sweet Potato, Carrots, Kale, Spinach, Mango, Watermelon, Papaya, Passion Fruit, Beef Liver, Lamb Liver, Cod Liver Oil, Salmon, Goat Cheese and Butter. There are many more and a quick Google search will certainly help you out.

Since vitamin A is fat-soluble, it is more efficiently absorbed into the bloodstream when eaten with fat. Most animal-sourced foods that are rich in vitamin A are also high in fat, but the same doesn’t apply to most plant sources of pro-vitamin A.

You can improve your absorption of pro-vitamin A from plant sources by adding a dash of cold pressed extra virgin olive oil to your salad.

Benefits may include:

  • Protects Your Eyes From Night Blindness and Age-Related Decline
  • May Lower Your Risk of Certain Cancers
  • Supports a Healthy Immune System
  • Reduces Your Risk of Acne
  • Supports Bone Health
  • Promotes Healthy Growth and Reproduction

Image courtesy of Medical News Today.