Retinol and Pimples
Adults and teenagers both can experience acne breakouts in the form of pimples and blackheads. This condition affects between 40 and 50 million Americans, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. While the cause of many acne cases remains a mystery, certain substances may help reduce the number and severity of acne pimples. Vitamin A, often called retinol, provides the ingredient for a type of substance commonly used in treating acne breakouts.
Pimples form when pores clog with oil, becoming inflamed and infected. During adolescence, teenage skin dramatically increases its production of sebum, commonly called oil. Depending on how deep in the skin clogs form, you may experience comedos, papules and pustules. Deep nodules often lead to permanent lesions and scars. When regular cleansing doesn't help, your doctor may recommend products that contain vitamin A derivatives.
As part of a healthy diet, vitamin A may help keep skin and mucous membranes healthy, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Although rare, vitamin A deficiencies may lead to skin problems. Vitamin A naturally comes from two different sources, animals and plants. A synthetic form of vitamin A provides retinoids, elements used in acne medications.
Medications that treat acne come in topical solutions, such as gels and creams, as well as in pills and capsules for oral consumption. Topical medications may contain other ingredients to enhance the skin, such as bleaching substances to reduce pigmentation in melasma, a condition that causes dark patches of skin.
Depending on the severity of your acne, your doctor may prescribe topical creams or oral medications that contain derivatives of vitamin A. While your doctor may recommend topical treatments for mild acne, he may save oral medications, such as isotretinoin, for the most stubborn cases, due to the potential serious side effects from this medication.
Topical acne treatments that contain retinoids may cause irritation. Excessive use can lead to blistering, redness and swelling in the treated areas. The University of Maryland Medical Clinic warns individuals using oral medications containing synthetic vitamin A to avoid taking additional vitamin A supplements. The vitamin A derivative in oral acne medications may cause birth defects when taken by pregnant women. Vitamin A toxicity may also lead to liver damage and eye damage.
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