Vitamin A… for Acne



Vitamin A

Vitamin A is used in systemic treatments in drugs such as Accutane; it is also used in topical treatments using vitamin A derivatives such as Retin A or vitamin A acid. Why was the discovery of the efficacy of vitamin A dervitives such a breakthrough? Because it is a perfect example of the far-reaching powers of nutritional supplements, when they are properly applied.

My three-tiered approach to health can be used to illustrate this because vitamin A and (many other important supplements) have dietary components, a nutrtional supplement component, and a topical component – and they all work synergisttically when correctly intergrated into a program.

Vitamin A, which is found in many foods, controls the development of epithelial cells, which are a component of skin that lines all the mucosal membranes in the body. Vitamin A is important in the process of keratinization, in which the epidermis migrates and matures into the stratum corneum. And yet is the derivatives of vitamin A that are important in treating acne, and not the natural form of vitamin A.

Why is natural vitamin A not considered therapeutic? The answer lies in the fact that natural vitamin A is responsible for maintaining the normal maturation of the skin. However, to treat abnormal processes such as acne, large doses must be given, which then results in vitamin A toxicity. Vitamin A acid – also known as Retin-A, tretinoin, or retinoic acid – is a derivative form of Retin-A that is active in skin. Water -soluble derivatives of vitamin A, such as Accutane, may therefore be given systemically in very high doses without the toxicity resulting from large doses of natural vitamin A. However, Accutane has significant side effects (please refer to their website for additional information side effects) making it imperative that anyone undergoing a course of Accutane be under a physician’s care.

As an active researcher, I welcome your comments and suggestions.

16 thoughts on “Vitamin A… for Acne

  1. I heard that Accutane was actually taken off the shelf, is this true?

    Also, what do you suggest is the best form of Vitamin A for supplement form and how many IU’s are needed per day to see results after time?


  2. Does topical retinyl palmitate improve the skin? Thanks, doctor! Appreciate all the great info and your fantastic work!

  3. Thanks for this info on Vitamin A! I am always looking for new information on health and well-being, and have found many of your little blogs very insightful, and am actually learning a few new things, which is always a plus!

  4. Dear Dr. Perricone,
    My daughter is 22 & experiencing acne once again after years of struggling with this disease. She experienced remission after undergoing Accutane treatments (3 different times) and then while on Yazmine she also experienced good skin. But after getting off the Yazmine, her skin erupted again. Where to turn. She has been taking nutritional products to detox her liver which seemed to give some relief, but not altogether. What would you recommend at this Point? I might add that she is very prudent in taking good care of her skin topically & has used Murad, Pro-Active & now the Exposed Skin care system of products. She eats a good diet, rich in fruits & veggies, no soft drinks or caffeine & drinks lots of water.
    What else can we do?
    Please help!!

  5. Pingback: Losing the Acne Battle? Try the Dr Perricone Diet for Clear Skin

  6. After reading your book, The Clear Skin Prescription, I am trying to decide whether to continue using Retin-A or not… I am 41 and have these productive pores on my nose… and just occasional blemishes. I have used Retin-A for about 16 months and it seams to help, up to one point. My big pores are still there. I am not sure if I should continue with Retin-A and maybe add your ALA and DMAE products, or stop the Retin-A and just follow your program… Please advise… Thank you!

    • We recommend you try incorporating our Intensive Pore Minimizer into your current skincare routine as it helps reduce the appearance of large pores.

  7. I am a big fan of your work. I am trying to follow your diet/life style and my biggest problem is clogged pores. I just ordered the Intensive Pore Minimizer and was wondering if I should also add Retin A to the routine.

    Also, once in a while I steam my face and carefully extract the contents of the pores. I have been doing this for many years and I like what my face feels like the days following. Is this OK to do?

    Thank you for your advice!

    • Hi Maggie. If clogged pores are a primary concern, add a glycolic based treatment into your every day routine. Glycolic acid is wonderful at unclogging congested pores. We suggest adding the Cleansing Treatment Bar as your cleanser for use twice daily. You can add Retin A to your existing regimen. During your manual extractions, make sure you are gentle as pressure and bacterial transmission can scar skin and cause infection.

  8. Pingback: 3 Reasons You Need Vitamin A | Pure Matters Supplements & Vitamins. Healthy living tips, diet & nutrition info, supplement, mineral & vitamin info, and everyday wellness.

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