1. It literally slows down the ageing of your skin by altering the speed at which the skin cells mature.
When number 1 is so good do we even need to continue?
2. Acne prevention. Vitamin A can actually stop acne lesions from forming! It normalises the way the skin functions by helping skin cells turnover evenly which is important for a whole lot of reasons but for acne prone people, over grown skin cells can create blockages in the hair follicles, which can cause acne.
3. It evens out pigmentation and patchy colouring by decreasing over-active pigment cells and increases the rate that dead pigment skin cells are removed from the surface.
4. It increases collagen production which improves wrinkles
5. …and the appearance of pores.
6. It increases hyaluronic acid production, which improves skin elasticity.
7. It helps the top layer of the skin stay nice and moist by allowing a freer flow of water and produces a more protective waterproofing material on the surface helping to keep moisture in.
8. Vitamin A reduces redness in two ways:
a. by normalising damaged blood vessels, diminishing their appearance
b. by decreasing inflammation (which also helps with inflammatory skin disorders such as psoriasis)
9. It reverses photoageing (the very specific type of skin ageing caused by UV exposure).
10. It can even stop skin cancers from forming...
...well sort of, it helps some precancerous cells turn back into healthy skin cells before they progress into something more sinister.
Now for the D minuses (the down sides that drag down that A+ average.)
1. Not all vitamin As are created equal. Vitamin A in skincare comes in many forms and not all are as potent as each other. Retinoic acid is probably the most common and is a super strong product, but this makes it prone to causing irritation, making it unusable by certain skin types. Substituting it with other vitamin A products such as retinol or retinaldehyde via very clever delivery systems reduces many irritation issues, but the downside is that these products are generally not as powerful.
2. It makes you very sun sensitive, which is kind of ironic given its ability to reverse sun damage. This means if you are using a vitamin A, even as a night time product, SPF and other sun protection measures are a must.
3. Retinoids (medications derived from vitamin A) taken by mouth may cause birth deformities. Although topical skincare products have not been directly linked, most skincare manufacturers recommend that products containing vitamin A should not be used in pregnancy or breastfeeding.
What all this means?
Well, clearly the As outweigh the Ds but our advice is… get professional advice before choosing your first A so that you can be sure your skin will get that A+ result.