Beta carotene is classified as a provitamin A carotenoid, a substance that converts within the body to retinol and other forms of Vitamin A. As you might know, Vitamin A is essential for maintaining overall health and boosting immunity and can also improve the integrity of your organs, including your skin. For this reason it is highly recommended that you get the required amount of Vitamin A on a daily basis.
Vitamin A can be acquired through a regular, balanced diet or through topical application, both of which are highly effective. Eating a diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables like carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, blueberries, squash, and apricots is the easiest and most direct way of ensuring that your body is getting the proper amount of Vitamin A.
When it comes to maintaining the health and integrity of the skin in particular, topical application of beta carotene can be equally effective. This is because topical application allows for direct penetration of Vitamin A into the skin, allowing it to instantly go to work where it is most needed.
Every day of our lives, our skin is exposed to a number of potential threats, the greatest of which is sunlight. Sunlight causes the lipids, or fats, that keep skin feeling soft, smooth and moisture-rich to oxidize, or dry up. As a result, the elasticity and tone of the skin is jeopardized, leading to sagging, wrinkling and other visible signs of aging.
In order to combat these effects of aging, it is necessary to provide the skin with a regular dose of Vitamin A. Not only does Vitamin A help to restore elasticity and improve overall skin tone, it can also promote skin cell turnover, helping to keep the skin soft and healthy looking. At the same time, it can also help wounds to heal much faster.
Once scientists began to understand the connection between the retinols in beta carotene and the appearance of healthy skin, it became a popular ingredient in topical skin care products. The use of retinols such as beta carotene in topical applications can be traced as far back as 1977 and it is still used in a wide range of products today.
Beyond its ability to promote smooth, silky, glowing skin, beta carotene was also found to have distinct healing properties when used in topical applications. As a result it was the first retinol used in the treatment of various skin disorders. Most recently, a 2004 study showed that the daily application of beta carotene lotion was proven to fade and reduce melasma, a skin condition that can cause discoloration.
Topical application of beta carotene allows for healing retinols to penetrate the skin and provide deep healing on a cellular level, something that both the medical and cosmetic industries realize is extremely important for promoting healthy skin. For this reason, the compound can be found in a wide range of topical products including suntan lotions, cleansers, moisturizers, aftershave lotions and bath products.
While beta carotene has proven health benefits for the skin, primarily as an antioxidant, it should not be considered a miracle cure for aging. Nor should it be used as a sun screen. While it can help to lessen the effects of sun exposure on the skin, it cannot prevent them, so regular sun protection should still be used.
Though most doctors still recommend a healthy diet as the best source of beta carotene, if you’re concerned about maintaining the health of your skin as you age, looking for topical products that contain this natural wonder may be one of the best things you can do for yourself.