Vitamin A in Cosmetics

Vitamin A is a nutritional supplement, also known as retinol. It is renowned as a youth-regenerating vitamin and is often used in health and beauty products because of its anti-aging properties. It increases cell turnover, stimulates collagen production and, when taken internally, supports bodily functions and the immune system.

Learn about other beauty-enhancing vitamins on our vitamin E and vitamin C pages!

See our vitamin a guide to answer your questions like what is vitamin A and who shouldn’t use vitamin A beauty products.

Brands With Vitamin A Products

  • Kiehl's
  • Alpha-H
  • Sarah Chapman
  • Antipodes
  • Dr Dennis Gross Skincare
  • ESPA
  • Isle of Paradise
  • Bio Oil

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742 products found
Perricone MD Face Finishing Moisturizer
Perricone MD Face Finishing Moisturizer
$69.00
Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo
Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo
$14.00
The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion
The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion
$10.50
ELEMIS Pro-Collagen Oxygenating Night Cream
ELEMIS Pro-Collagen Oxygenating Night Cream
$160.00
-34%
Redken All Soft Conditioner
Redken All Soft Conditioner
$15.00 $22.45
-7%
The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil
The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil
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ELEMIS Frangipani Monoi Body Cream
ELEMIS Frangipani Monoi Body Cream
$40.00
Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi Usage Dry Oil
Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi Usage Dry Oil
$27.00
Milani Cheek Kiss Cream Blush
Milani Cheek Kiss Cream Blush
$9.99
ELEMIS Pro-Collagen Renewal Serum
ELEMIS Pro-Collagen Renewal Serum
$96.60
PIXI Vitamin C Tonic
PIXI Vitamin C Tonic
$15.00
ELEMIS Soothing Apricot Toner
ELEMIS Soothing Apricot Toner
$36.00
-22%
Skin Doctors Vein Away Plus
Skin Doctors Vein Away Plus
$23.80 $30.40
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Intensive Lip Balm
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Intensive Lip Balm
$20.00
-23%
Murad Multi Vitamin Infusion Oil
Murad Multi Vitamin Infusion Oil
$58.40 $75.00
The Ordinary Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3%
The Ordinary Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3%
$9.00
The INKEY List Niacinamide
The INKEY List Niacinamide
$7.99
The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% In Squalane
The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% In Squalane
$10.95
Moroccanoil Hydrating Shampoo
Moroccanoil Hydrating Shampoo
$12.00
The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% In Squalane
The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% In Squalane
$7.50
Color Wow One Minute Transformation Styling Cream
Color Wow One Minute Transformation Styling Cream
$24.00
The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% In Squalane
The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% In Squalane
$14.75
-28%
Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Mousse
Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Mousse
$21.15 $29.00
-28%
L'Oréal Professionnel SteamPod Serum
L'Oréal Professionnel SteamPod Serum
$12.00 $16.60
-23%
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Intensive Lip Repair Balm
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Intensive Lip Repair Balm
$19.00 $24.50
-22%
bareMinerals Ageless Phyto-Retinol Face Cream
bareMinerals Ageless Phyto-Retinol Face Cream
$51.00 $65.00
-12%
GLAMGLOW Bright Eyes Cream
GLAMGLOW Bright Eyes Cream
$39.00 $44.20
-1%
Aveda Damage Remedy Daily Hair Repair
Aveda Damage Remedy Daily Hair Repair
$31.45 $31.50
Dermalogica Age Smart Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque
Dermalogica Age Smart Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque
$15.50
Isle of Paradise Over It Magic Self Tan Eraser
Isle of Paradise Over It Magic Self Tan Eraser
$30.00
The INKEY List Retinol Serum
The INKEY List Retinol Serum
$10.99
Color Wow Color Security Conditioner For Fine To Normal Hair
Color Wow Color Security Conditioner For Fine To Normal Hair
$24.00
Moroccanoil Hydrating Conditioner
Moroccanoil Hydrating Conditioner
$12.00
Paula's Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment
Paula's Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment
$60.00
Antipodes Halo Skin Brightening Facial Mud Mask
Antipodes Halo Skin Brightening Facial Mud Mask
$37.30
Nuxe Creme Prodigieuse Boost Night Recovery Oil Balm
Nuxe Creme Prodigieuse Boost Night Recovery Oil Balm
$51.00
Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Florale
Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Florale
$27.00
Aveda Nutriplenish Multi-Use Hair Oil
Aveda Nutriplenish Multi-Use Hair Oil
$41.31
Paula's Choice Peptide Booster
Paula's Choice Peptide Booster
$53.00
StriVectin S.T.A.R. Light Retinol Night Oil
StriVectin S.T.A.R. Light Retinol Night Oil
$99.00
-58%
Isle of Paradise Prep It Self Tan Priming Spray
Isle of Paradise Prep It Self Tan Priming Spray
$10.30 $24.00
-52%
Physicians Formula The Healthy Lip Velvet Liquid Lipstick
Physicians Formula The Healthy Lip Velvet Liquid Lipstick
$5.39 $11.10
-50%
Sisley Velvet Nourishing Cream
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$127.00 $250.00
-45%
Isle of Paradise Happy Tan Everyday Gradual Glow Lotion
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$12.25 $22.00
-45%
Hair Rituel by Sisley Revitalizing Smoothing Shampoo With Macadamia Oil
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-40%
Clarins Renew Plus Body Serum
Clarins Renew Plus Body Serum
$41.00 $68.00
-37%
Decléor Neroli Bigarade Hydrating Night Balm
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Cantu Avocado Curling Cream
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Becca Skin Love Weightless Blur Foundation
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-33%
Decléor Aromessence Magnolia Youthful Night Balm
Decléor Aromessence Magnolia Youthful Night Balm
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-31%
Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Water
Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Water
$22.25 $32.00
-30%
Elemental Herbology Cell Active Rejuvenation Age Support Facial Moisturizer
Elemental Herbology Cell Active Rejuvenation Age Support Facial Moisturizer
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-30%
Natasha Denona Blush Duo Palette
Natasha Denona Blush Duo Palette
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St Tropez Purity Vitamins Mist
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-29%
Shu Uemura Art of Hair Anti-Oil Astringent Cleanser
Shu Uemura Art of Hair Anti-Oil Astringent Cleanser
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-27%
Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops
Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops
$23.50 $32.00
-27%
PÜR 4 In 1 Pressed Mineral Makeup
PÜR 4 In 1 Pressed Mineral Makeup
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-25%
Elemental Herbology Cell Plumping Facial Hydrator SPF 8
Elemental Herbology Cell Plumping Facial Hydrator SPF 8
$64.50 $86.00
-25%
Elemental Herbology Facial Glow Radiance Peel
Elemental Herbology Facial Glow Radiance Peel
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-25%
ESPA Energizing Body Oil
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-24%
Wella Professionals Oil Reflections Shampoo
Wella Professionals Oil Reflections Shampoo
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-23%
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Philip Kingsley Moisture Extreme Enriching Conditioner
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-22%
Isle of Paradise Blend It Multi Purpose Self Tan Blender
Isle of Paradise Blend It Multi Purpose Self Tan Blender
$17.25 $22.00
-21%
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Shu Uemura Art of Hair Anti-Dandruff Soothing Cleanser
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-21%
KMS Moist Repair Shampoo
KMS Moist Repair Shampoo
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-20%
Murad Enivronmental Shield Essential C Cleanser
Murad Enivronmental Shield Essential C Cleanser
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Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Moisturizing Eye Cream
Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Moisturizing Eye Cream
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Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Premiere Overnight Regeneration Cream
Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Premiere Overnight Regeneration Cream
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-17%
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Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie
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-16%
Elizabeth Arden Prevage Clinical Eyelash & Brow Enhancing Serum
Elizabeth Arden Prevage Clinical Eyelash & Brow Enhancing Serum
$84.00 $100.00
-16%
Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Premiere Activation Cream SPF 30
Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Premiere Activation Cream SPF 30
$83.20 $98.00
-16%
Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Refining Moisture Cream
Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Refining Moisture Cream
$46.40 $55.00
-15%
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Stila Putty Bronzer & Blush Duo
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-15%
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The Ordinary 100% Organic Virgin Sea Buckthorn Fruit Oil
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-14%
Darphin Essential Oil Elixirs 8 Flower Nectar
Darphin Essential Oil Elixirs 8 Flower Nectar
$130.05 $150.00
-13%
Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Shimmering Dry Oil
Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Shimmering Dry Oil
$30.55 $35.00
-10%
Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Serum
Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Serum
$81.59 $90.00
-10%
Kiehl's Oil Eliminator Refreshing Shine Control Spray Toner
Kiehl's Oil Eliminator Refreshing Shine Control Spray Toner
$18.00 $20.00
-10%
Kiehl's Smoothing Oil Infused Shampoo
Kiehl's Smoothing Oil Infused Shampoo
$20.00 $22.00
-10%
Kiehl's Smooth Glider Precision Shave Lotion
Kiehl's Smooth Glider Precision Shave Lotion
$18.00 $20.00
-10%
Kiehl's Pineapple Papaya Facial Scrub
Kiehl's Pineapple Papaya Facial Scrub
$28.00 $31.00
-10%
Elizabeth Arden Retinol Ceramide Capsules Line Erasing Night Serum
Elizabeth Arden Retinol Ceramide Capsules Line Erasing Night Serum
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-10%
Augustinus Bader The Essence
Augustinus Bader The Essence
$77.00 $85.00
-9%
Kiehl's Butterstick Lip Treatment
Kiehl's Butterstick Lip Treatment
$22.00 $24.00
-9%
bareMinerals Ageless Phyto-Retinol Eye Cream
bareMinerals Ageless Phyto-Retinol Eye Cream
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Vitamin A

Frequently Asked Questions about Vitamin A products

What is vitamin A?

Vitamin A is a powerfully antioxidising fat-soluble vitamin. It comprises a group of compounds including retinol, retinal and retinoic acid.

Who shouldn’t use vitamin A beauty products?

Vitamin A-based products are unsuitable for children and pregnant women, as they often contain a high concentration of retinoids that can be particularly harmful.

People with a vitamin A allergy should avoid retinol beauty products as they contain high levels of vitamin A that can trigger allergic reactions.

How often should I be using vitamin A beauty products?

To start with, incorporate a mild vitamin A formula (like retinaldehyde or the mildest retinyl palmitate) into your routine. Use it once a week and then slowly increase your usage, allowing your skin to adapt for best results.

It's important to regularly observe the way that your skin reacts to specific formulas and product combinations, as every skin type will react differently, depending on the strength of the retinol in the product. Sensitive skin types should take caution as retinoids can easily irritate and redden the skin.

Whatever your skin type, you should only use a very small amount of topical vitamin A; applying too much can result in seriously dry and irritated skin. When in doubt, always refer to the manufacturer's instructions.

What are the skin and health care benefits of vitamin A beauty products?

Vitamin A is a key nutrient that keeps your skin healthy while supplying an array of anti-aging benefits, including reducing the visibility of dark spots, hyperpigmentation and fine lines. It's widely used in skin care products for its nourishing and protective properties, which stimulate skin cell regrowth and boost tissue repair to help to combat breakouts.

If ingested – within foods or dietary supplements vitamin A also helps to maintain good, healthy vision and support your body's natural defenses against illness and infection.

Who should use vitamin A beauty products?

It is recommended that you incorporate vitamin A into your skin care regimen as soon as possible to combat UV damage and signs of aging, and maintain optimal skin health. The vitamin is especially beneficial for people who suffer with acne or blemishes as its antioxidising properties promote skin healing and tissue regeneration.

Vitamin A can also be taken as a dietary supplement to treat and prevent vitamin A deficiency.

Are there any drawbacks/side effects of vitamin A beauty products?

Vitamin A increases sun sensitivity as it encourages skin cell turnover, leaving you with skin that is delicate and easily sensitized. It is often recommended that retinol skin care products are used at night to avoid the risk of sun damage. For the same reasons, you shouldn't use retinoid prior to waxing or laser procedures – your skin will simply be too vulnerable.

In general, retinoids can be very irritating and drying to the skin if used too often or incorrectly – especially when you first start incorporating them into your skin care routine.

Can I use a beauty product containing vitamin A/retinol in combination with AHAs or BHAs?

Yes, it is fine to use a vitamin A/retinol product in conjunction with AHAs or BHAs, which exfoliate dead skin cells. For the best anti-aging results, we recommend using an exfoliator and a retinol product (e.g. a night cream or serum) to maximize the results. You must make sure to keep an eye on the way your skin reacts product combination.

What are the different vitamin A derivatives?

The derivatives of vitamin A are known as carotenoids (found in plant-based products) and retinoids (found in animal-based products). They both provide the body with a variety of health benefits from boosting tissue repair to promoting skin cell regeneration.

To be even more precise…

Retinoids –These are known as prescriptive retinol products, and are often identified as the brands Retin-A and Differin. When applied to the skin, retinoids combat hyperpigmentation, scarring and fine lines.

Retinol –This is the alcohol form of vitamin A, which is a great alternative to retinoic acid for long-term use. It is used by many cosmeceutical skin care companies as it easily adapts to the skin after a few uses.

Retinyl Palmitate –This is the ester of vitamin A that combines retinol with palmitic acid, which then converts to retinoic acid. Its strength is significantly lower than other derivatives because the conversion takes a while, which means it loses potency. It is a good alternative to use in conjunction with other retinol-based products to build efficacy and enhance results.

Retinaldehyde –The most potent form of vitamin A, retinaldehyde requires minimal conversion and causes little to no skin irritation. Retinaldehyde is an expensive ingredient that is often used in high-end skin care formulations, so in most cases it unfortunately comes with a hefty price tag.

How do you use prescription vitamin A products?

A prescription vitamin A product (or retinoid) should be used in your evening skin care routine as follows:

  1. Use your cleanser, toner and exfoliator with AHA or BHA as normal
  2. Apply your retinol prescription product
  3. Use any brightening products after applying the retinoid
  4. Apply a serum or night cream for maximum effect
Luke Chapman

Written by Luke Chapman, Content Writer

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