Vitamin A (Retinol) Can Help You Solve Various Skin Problems.

by | May 25, 2021

In the field of skincare, most active ingredients have their areas. For example, hyaluronic acid can moisturize, arbutin can whiten skin, Pro-XylaneTM can anti-aging for skin, and salicylic acid can eliminate acne. There are also active ingredients with two functions, such as vitamin C and resveratrol, which can both whiten and resist aging, but those with more than three functions are rare.

There is a very versatile active ingredient. It can shrink pores, remove wrinkles, remove acne, and whiten skin, which is vitamin A.

As early as more than 1,000 years ago, people knew that animal liver can treat night blindness, but it is impossible to explain why animal liver can treat night blindness.

It was not until 1909 that vitamin A was found in the liver of animals, and doctors confirmed that it was a mysterious substance for night blindness. Because of the importance of vitamin A to the eyes, it is also called retinol.

Oilyskinbeauty Raw fish

There are two forms of vitamin A, vitamin A1, and vitamin A2. Vitamin A1 is mainly found in the liver of mammals and saltwater fish, and vitamin A2 is mainly found in the liver of freshwater fish. The Eskimos living in the Arctic have a tradition of eating fresh seal liver to supplement vitamins.

Because the activity of vitamin A2 is relatively low, so we usually say vitamin A refers to vitamin A1.

In addition, carotene in food can also be converted into vitamin A in our body.

The main function of vitamin A in skin care products is to improve the photo-aging phenomena such as fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation.

There are many members of the vitamin A family, the most common member is retinol, and other members include derivatives such as retinol acetate and retinyl palmitate. To really work on the skin, these ingredients must first be converted into retinoic acid by enzymes in the skin, and retinoic acid works to solve our skin problems.

The conversion path is as follows: retinyl esters are converted to retinol, and retinol is converted to retinal. Retinal is then converted to retinoic acid to play a role.

Oilyskinbeauty Transformation pathways of the members of the vitamin A family in the skin

The Skin Care Effects Of Vitamin A


Vitamin A can interact with some protein receptors inside cells, accelerate skin metabolism, promote the division and growth of new skin cells, and shed old skin cells, thereby shrinking pores and making skin white, tender, and smooth.

In addition, vitamin A can also promote the regeneration of collagen, reduce the decomposition of collagen, so that collagen fills the areas where wrinkles and slack have appeared.

Young skin is plump and firm, rich in collagen and elastin. The aging skin has sunken skin and excessive loss of collagen and elastin.


One of the main causes of photoaging is that ultraviolet rays can over-activate the activity of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP). The original job of MMP is to retire the old collagen in the skin and bring the new collagen to work. However, once a large number of ultraviolet rays are irradiated to the skin, MMP will be overactive and decompose the originally healthy collagen.

Another function of vitamin A is that if the activity of matrix metalloproteinases is over-excited by ultraviolet rays, vitamin A can suppress the activity of MMP, reduce the damage of ultraviolet rays to collagen fibers, prevent photoaging, and prevent the appearance of wrinkles and sagging.

The left face of a female driver is often exposed to the sun, and her left face is seriously aging with more wrinkles. The sun on the right face is less, the photoaging is not serious, and the wrinkles are less.

Get rid of acne

While vitamin A promotes the proliferation of keratinocytes, vitamin A can also accelerate the shedding of keratinized keratinocytes. Its effect is somewhat similar to that of alpha hydroxy acid, which makes the excess keratinocytes that block the pores fall off and unclogs the pores. Therefore, tretinoin is often prescribed to treat acne.

Vitamin A can not only prevent and treat acne, but it also has anti-inflammatory properties.

A woman holds a photograph of the state of her skin where her face used to be full of acne. Now her face is acne-free and her skin is in excellent condition.

Skin lightening

As mentioned earlier, vitamin A can promote the shedding of old keratinocytes. Since melanin is present in keratinocytes, after the keratinocytes containing melanin are shed, new keratinocytes without melanin can replace the old keratinocytes to achieve skin whitening.

In addition to promoting the shedding of melanin, vitamin A also can inhibit the formation of melanin. It can simultaneously solve the problem of pigmentation from two aspects.

Four different skin tones of a woman, from fair skin to dark skin.

Family History Of Vitamin A

Retinoic acid

Retinoic acid is a prescription drug. Because retinoic acid is too irritating, retinoic acid cannot be directly added to cosmetics. It can only be purchased in pharmacies.

What needs to be explained here is that all products containing vitamin A, no matter what the form, must be converted into retinoic acid in the skin to have an effect. Therefore, retinoic acid is the real component in the vitamin A family.

Because the irritation of retinoic acid is too strong, it cannot be directly added to cosmetics. People have gone to great lengths to modify it to reduce its irritation and make it suitable for cosmetics. Different scientists have modified retinoic acid in different ways, creating a large family of vitamin A.


The retinal located on the second layer is also called vitamin A aldehyde. Its origin is to change the small tail of retinoic acid into an aldehyde structure. As a result, retinal is less irritating than retinoic acid, but its efficacy is also reduced.

But the price of retinal is very expensive and the cost performance is not high, so it is not used much in skin care products. If there is a product that contains retinal and is cheap, you need to pay attention to whether it is genuine.


The retinol on the third layer is also called vitamin A alcohol. As the name suggests, it turns the small tail of retinoic acid into a hydroxyl structure. Retinol is less irritating and less effective than retinal, but it balances irritation, efficacy, and price issues, and is deeply loved by skin care manufacturers.

Oilyskinbeauty Lying down and using retinol for skin care

Retinyl ester

The irritation and efficacy of retinol are much lower than that of retinoic acid, but many people still do not adapt to the irritation of high concentrations of retinol.

So there are retinyl esters (such as retinyl palmitate), and the small tail of retinoic acid becomes the mildest ester group. Although the irritation is much lower compared to the previous ones, the efficacy is also very poor, and even after using a large amount, the skin condition does not improve significantly.

Oilyskinbeauty Comparison of efficacy and irritation of members of the vitamin A family

Now more and more new members are gradually joining the big family of vitamin A, no matter how it changes, retinoic acid is the ingredient that really works.

Through the above analysis, we concluded that the effects of retinoic acid, retinal, retinol, and retinyl esters decrease in order.

It is recommended to choose skin care products containing retinol, your skin can not only accept its irritation but also achieve good results.

Precautions For Using Retinol

Minimize irritation

Retinol is much less irritating than retinoic acid, but many girls have a certain probability of becoming sensitive skin after using it.

To avoid becoming sensitive skin, when you use retinol-containing skin care products for the first time, please use a step-by-step method to gradually increase the concentration and find the right concentration and dosage for yourself.

Oilyskinbeauty Recommended concentration sequence for using retinol

Concentration from low to high: start with a low concentration, once you adapt, you can increase the concentration appropriately (note, use a high concentration, please consult a dermatologist). The concentration of retinol generally starts to work from 0.1%, and it is usually around 0.3% for daily use. This concentration ensures the effect without being too irritating.

The frequency of use ranges from low to high: you can use it once a week in the beginning, and then you can use it twice a week after four weeks. Gradually increase the frequency of use.

Poor stability

Retinol is easily stimulated by ultraviolet rays and undergoes oxidation and alienation reactions, producing free radicals that are irritating and can damage the skin. Packing retinol skin care products is usually done by choosing impermeable sealing materials

It is recommended to use it at night. If you need to use it during the day, be sure to apply sunscreen.

Due to the irritation of retinol, during use, please use some mild moisturizing products to reduce the irritation of retinol to the skin.

Oilyskinbeauty Packaging of retinol

Age of use

Retinol has a good anti-aging effect. From the need to prevent aging, use skin care products containing retinol, rather than looking for anti-aging methods after the skin has been seriously aging.

It is reasonable to start contact and use retinol products between the ages of 25 and 30.


With the development of technology, skin care products are constantly updated and iterated. As a classic ingredient, vitamin A has been paid more and more attention in the past ten years, and it has been improved to be more skin-friendly and milder. It is worthy of being used as a common ingredient for anti-aging.