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The ABCs of Vitamins’ Effects on the Skin—Vitamin A

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A little-known fact: Most vitamins are named alphabetically by the order in which they were discovered.

Other little-known facts: The ways in which vitamins can affect your skin. At Aspire Plastic Surgery and Medical Spa, we recognize the importance of vitamins in your skin-care products and in your diet. So we’re going to spend a little time talking about those with the greatest impact on your skin’s appearance.

For starters, let’s look at vitamin A!

Also known as retinol, vitamin A is a lipid-soluble vitamin, meaning it dissolves in fat and is stored in body tissue. It was used early in the 20th century as an oral treatment for acne, actinic damage and psoriasis, but because it is lipid-soluble, doses that worked on the skin caused liver damage. Further research brought us Retin-A, the breakthrough in topical skin care that started the cosmaceutical boom.

It’s the most studied and most active of the topical vitamins, known to control epidermis turnover and the activity of fibroblasts—those cells that produce collagen. It decreases the signs of sun damage, including fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration, sallowness and coarseness. It’s been used to treat stretch marks, improve rosacea, and prepare skin for procedures such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels and laser resurfacing.

Despite popular belief, retinoids will not make skin more sensitive to the sun. The sun will, however, make retinoids less effective, so it’s used most often at night. Before using a Retin-A product, you should wash with a cleanser or beauty bar rather than soap to keep the pH of the skin in balance.

Next time: Vitamin C

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