When it comes to achieving healthy, glowing skin, Vitamin A’s a skincare superhero. This powerhouse nutrient, also known as retinol, can deliver serious benefits to your skin. From reducing the appearance of wrinkles to combatting acne and dull skin, it’s a must-have ingredient in any skincare routine.

Let’s take a closer look at this amazing ingredient, including what type of retinol you need in your routine.

What is Vitamin A?

Vitamin A’s a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a vital role in health and wellness, especially when it comes to healthy, radiant skin. There are two main types of vitamin A that are used in skincare: preformed vitamin A (retinoids) and provitamin A (carotenoids) found in plant-based sources. The body converts these forms into retinol, which is then used for its powerful skin-enhancing properties.

What does Vitamin A do for the skin?

It’s probably quicker to list what Vitamin A doesn’t do for your skin at this point, but here’s everything that Vitamin A can do to support your skin:

Cellular renewal and anti-ageing

Vitamin A reigns supreme in promoting cell turnover and renewal. By encouraging the shedding of old skin cells, it paves the way for fresh, youthful skin to emerge. Collagen production, essential for maintaining skin's elasticity, is also boosted by vitamin A. This dual action results in reduced fine lines, wrinkles, and a more youthful complexion.

Acne management

For those struggling with acne, vitamin A can be a game-changer. Retinoids derived from vitamin A help unclog pores, regulate sebum production, and reduce inflammation - all vital factors in preventing and managing breakouts.

Hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone

Uneven skin tone and dark spots are often caused by excess melanin production. Vitamin A interrupts this process, lightening hyperpigmentation and fostering a more balanced skin tone. It also helps to repair sun-damaged skin and reduce the appearance of things like sun spots.

Enhancing skin hydration

Vitamin A supports the skin's natural barrier, reducing moisture loss and keeping the skin hydrated. Well-moisturised skin is more supple and less prone to irritation, plus it can look more plumped up so fine lines and wrinkles are less visible..

Understanding the differences: Retinol, Retinal and Retinoic Acid

You might have heard Vitamin A called retinol, retinal and retinoic acid. While often used interchangeably, these terms refer to different types of vitamin A used in skincare products. Here’s what you need to know about each of them:

Retinol - Retinol’s a gentle yet effective form of vitamin A. It converts into retinaldehyde and then into retinoic acid within the skin. It's available over-the-counter in various strengths and is suitable for those new to vitamin A. COSRX The Retinol 0.1 Cream’s a powerful retinol cream with panthenol and Vitamin E to work on signs of ageing and dry, dull skin.

Retinal (Retinaldehyde) - a step closer to retinoic acid, retinaldehyde is more potent than retinol and is often easier for the skin to get used to for faster results with less irritation. Try the Beauty of Joseon Revive Eye Serum Ginseng + Retinal for a boost of protective antioxidants and retinal to support with signs of ageing around the eyes.

The Some by Mi Retinol Intense Reactivating Serum delivers retinol, retinal and bakuchiol with panthenol, beta-glucan, ceramides and trucica for the benefits of retinoic acid without the prescription.

Retinoic Acid - this is the active form of vitamin A and is available on prescription (most of you will be familiar with TikTok viral Tretinoin “Tret”). It provides the most rapid and potent results but can also cause more intense skin reactions. 


Whether you're incorporating retinol, retinal, or retinoic acid into your regimen, make sure you do your research so that you’re using the products that are best for your skin.


Melissa Redshaw