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Can Vitamin A Help Acne?

(December 13, 2010)

Acne and acne blemishes can wreck havoc on your skin, sometimes leaving behind life long scarring. Although common among teenagers, acne is not age-specific and you may suffer from acne as an adult as well. Pregnant, menstruating, and menopausal women may also suffer from acne due to hormonal changes during this period.

Causes of acne. The sebaceous glands under the skin produce sebum, an oil or lubricant that helps to moisturize and maintain elasticity of the skin. When the hair follicles clog due to over production of sebum and dead skin cells, acne appears in the form of whiteheads or blackheads.

In some cases, bacterial infections of the skin may result in acne. In severe cases, acne may become inflamed or infected with pus and form cysts. Usually, acne may appear on the face one at a time or in clusters. You may also find acne on other oily regions like neck, back, shoulders and chest. While most acne may disappear over time, acne lesions can scar both physically and emotionally. Many teenagers battle self-esteem problems and peer pressure. While oral and topical medications claim to treat acne and scars, you may suffer from certain side-effects and the medication may take a long time to start showing results. Studies show that diet and lifestyle play a huge role in reducing acne flares. In such a scenario, can natural sources help combat acne?  Can vitamin A help acne reduction?

Vitamin A and acne. Vitamin A for acne research has resulted in vitamin A supplements and many vitamin A-based acne medications for oral and topical use. However, the reason vitamin A has gained popularity for its anti-acne properties lies in the essential functions of this vitamin. Vitamin A promotes and maintains healthy skin. It is also essential for regulating your hormones and maintaining a hormonal balance. Doctors recommend proper intake of vitamin A for teenagers, menstruating women, pregnant and lactating women, and women who are undergoing menopause. This is because as the body undergoes hormonal changes during these times, it may result in acne. Vitamin A is also necessary for cell regeneration and to strengthen the body’s immune system. Adequate intake of vitamin A can promote the growth of white blood cells that attack bacteria and viruses. We know that pores plugged with dead skin cells cause acne. Emerging studies show that adequate intake of vitamin A may help to avoid improper shedding of skin cells and reduce the risk of clogged pores.

Vitamin A acne treatment. Based on these findings, vitamin A has emerged as an ingredient in many acne treatment products. However, studies also reveal that taking vitamin A in large doses either through your diet or through vitamin A supplements will not guarantee quick or effective results. Therefore, consult your doctor or dermatologist before you take supplements or makes changes to your daily diet. Excess consumption of vitamin A is known to cause nausea, defects during childbirth, and long-term liver damage. The recommended quantity of vitamin A for a healthy individual based on a 2000-calorie diet is 900 milligrams. Here is a list of foods that can help you fulfill your nutrition requirement:

• Green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, kale and spinach;
• Yellow or orange foods such as carrots, potatoes, pumpkins;
• Tropical fruits like mangoes and papayas; and
• Liver from beef and chicken, dairy products such as milk and cheese, and eggs.

Many oral and topical acne medications claim retinol, a derivative of Vitamin A, as part of their ingredient list. Retinol or its oxidized form, retinoic acid, plays an important role in the growth of cells and hormones. If you contemplate using retinol-based medication, talk to your doctor or dermatologist first. Many of these acne medications may consist of strong ingredients and you should be aware of its side-effects.

Submitted by C N on December 13, 2010 at 05:08


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