Retinol: The buzz word in skincare, but is it in your diet? - Muhdo

Skincare is important, but ultimately your skin health and beauty will be affected by your genes.

Vitamin A is more than just a single nutrient. It’s a broad group of related nutrients each providing us with an array of health benefits.

Retinoids are made up of retinol, retinal, retinoic acid and retinyl esters, which can be found in animal sources.

Carotenoids are made up from a larger family, which includes two subcategories: carotenes and xanthophylls. These then branch off further still into a variety of other elements such as beta-carotene and astaxanthin, which are found in plants.

Why are your genes responsible?

Genetic variations of a gene called BCO1 (Beta-Carotene Oxygenase 1) will affect your ability to convert beta-carotene from plants into retinol. The benefits of retinol for your skin are: –

  • Anti-inflammatory – retinol can get rid of acne and is great for sensitive skin.
  • Anti-aging – retinol encourages the production of collagen and rejuvenation of skin cells.
  • Skin brightening – retinol can help brighten your skin and give you a more youthful glow

Retinoids contain the active form of vitamin A already and thus conversion is not needed. So, if you are following a plant-based diet whilst having a poor gene variant of BCO1, then you’ll be more than likely to develop skin and eye issues, as well as a whole host of other health concerns. In this instance it is wise to supplement with an active form of vitamin A such as retinol. 

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