Vitamin A

Last Updated: September 28 2022

Vitamin A refers to a group of compounds that serve important roles in modulating skin health, vision, gene transcription, and immune system functioning. Deficiencies, which are common in developing countries, can lead to impaired vision, dry skin and poor immunity.

Vitamin A is most often used for


Vitamin A is not a single compound but a group of chemical compounds that are structurally similar. These compounds include retinol, retinaldehyde, retinoic acid, and provitamin A caretenoids which include beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, gamma-carotene and cryptoxanthin. Retinol and beta-carotene are some of the most common forms of vitamin A found in food and supplements, with the former being found in animals and the latter in plants.

Vitamin A is involved in the modulation of skin health, vision, the immune system, and gene transcription. Different forms of vitamin A will serve different functions. For example, it is retinoic acid that is involved in gene transcription and the maintenance of skin health; it is retinaldehyde that binds certain proteins to the cones and rods of the eye, allowing the eye to function in low-light environments.

What else is Vitamin A known as?
Note that Vitamin A is also known as:
  • retinol
  • retinal
  • retinoic acid
  • tretinoin
  • beta-carotene
Dosage information

For topical application, the form of all-trans retinoic acid (Tretinoin) should be used in a facial cream/lotion containing it in the range of 0.01-0.10%, with the lowest concentration having low side-effects but less efficacy and 0.025-0.05% being the sweet spot. Topical application is once nightly.

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