Let’s face it, few of us love seeing wrinkles when we look in the mirror. A recent American survey even found 54% of women aged 35-44 regularly worry about the signs of ageing1, such as lines, wrinkles and sagging.
The good news is that vitamin A could help. Also known as retinol, this fat-soluble vitamin helps cells reproduce normally, so it could be your secret anti-ageing weapon.
Does vitamin A skincare work?
According to a review of research published in the journal Dermato-Endocrinology in 2012, vitamin A applied as a cream stimulates collagen production and elastic fibres in the skin2. Collagen is a protein that’s essentially responsible for giving your skin firmness.
The same review found that retinol has a positive effect on combating extrinsic ageing – ‘outside’ factors including pollution and chemicals – and intrinsic ageing (‘inside’ factors) such as genetics or our hormones.
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How vitamin A fights wrinkles
In 2016, researchers at the University of Michigan found that four weeks of retinoic acid and retinol treatments changed the structure of the skin by increasing both epidermal thickness and collagen.3 In other words, they helped ‘plump up’ the skin.
Facial image analysis also showed a significant reduction in wrinkles and fine lines after applying retinol for 12 weeks.
To get the full vitamin A benefits, apply creams at night. This is because sunlight can break down vitamin A, making it less effective.4 Retinol also works by scrubbing away dead skin cells, which increases your risk of sun damage if you wear it outside during the day.
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Do supplements have the same effect?
There is some evidence that vitamin A supplements can make positive changes to the appearance of ageing skin.
A 2012 review by German dermatologists revealed that healthy volunteers taking vitamin A supplements, in the form of beta-carotene, over three months had a reduction in UV-induced erythema5 – sun damaged skin – especially when combined with vitamin E.
Natural sources of vitamin A include carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and mangos, while you can find vitamin E in almonds, avocados and sunflower seeds.
Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please consult a doctor or healthcare professional before trying any remedies.
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1. Tatiana Bido. This is the generation MOST worried about aging. Available from: https://www.newbeauty.com/blog/dailybeauty/11319-millennials-reportedly-worry-more-about-aging-than-their-moms-or-grandmothers/
2. Ganceviciene, R, et al. Skin anti-aging strategies. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583892/
3. Kong, R, et al. A comparative study of the effects of retinol and retinoic acid on histological, molecular, and clinical properties of human skin. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26578346
4. Saurat, JH. Skin, sun, and Vitamin A: from ageing to cancer. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11770712
5. Schagen, SK, et al. Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583891/