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A+ for Vitamin A: Does this Holy Grail Ingredient Play Well with Our Skin Microbiome?

Vitamin A and Skin

Vitamin A and its derivatives have become essential components of mainstream skincare products, popular for their anti-aging and anti-acne benefits. Yet, as we probe further into their effects on skin well-being, their interplay with the skin microbiome emerges as an avenue for exploration, extending beyond their established properties and into new realms of understanding and application.

What We Know:

  • Vitamin A deficiency has been associated with skin infection. However, the mechanism of how vitamin A provides skin immunity is not yet well understood (Harris et al., 2019).

  • Human skin cells naturally produce Resistin protein, while in mice, epidermal keratinocytes and sebocytes produce a similar molecule known as Resistin-like molecule α (RELMα). Research showed that when activated by the vitamin A analog isotretinoin, RELMα exhibited antimicrobial properties. This effectively prevented skin infections and may suggest a similar property of Resistin activated by vitamin A in humans (Harris et al., 2019).

  • When administered as a 0.025% cream for topical acne treatment, retinoic acid, a potent derivative of vitamin A, demonstrated notable results for individuals with mild acne vulgaris. Following one month of use, it exhibited efficacy in reducing bacterial diversity, reshaping microbiota composition and notably decreasing Cutibacterium acnes while elevating Staphylococcus epidermidis relative abundance (Wongtada et al., 2023).

Industry Impact & Potential:

  • Vitamin A and its derivatives have immunomodulatory properties that offer protection against fungal infections caused by Candida albicans, Aspergillus spp. and Microsporum spp. This suggests that investigating vitamin A derivatives such as retinoids in clinical settings could offer a promising therapeutic approach for treating fungal infections (Joshi et al., 2023).

  • Understanding the role of vitamin A and its derivatives on both the innate immune system and the skin microbiome is crucial for advancing translational skin biology research and devising effective therapeutic approaches (Roche & Harris, 2021)

  • Specifically, this can provide insight on disease progression and treatment responses, particularly regarding therapies targeting innate immune signalling and antimicrobial peptide production (Roche & Harris, 2021)

Our Solution:

At Sequential, we specialise in comprehensive Microbiome Product Testing, which is customisable to align with your unique product development and formulation goals. With our expert guidance and tailored services, we empower businesses to pioneer innovative strategies for topical solutions, such as creating microbiome-friendly products containing vitamin A and its derivatives, ensuring efficacy and compatibility for healthier skin.

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