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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 50

Vitamin A and dermatology

Intern, Government Medical College, Patiala, Punjab, India

Date of Web Publication24-Dec-2013

Correspondence Address:
Aakshit Goyal
Government Medical College, Patiala, Punjab
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2278-019X.123458

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How to cite this article:
Goyal A. Vitamin A and dermatology. J Med Nutr Nutraceut 2014;3:50

How to cite this URL:
Goyal A. Vitamin A and dermatology. J Med Nutr Nutraceut [serial online] 2014 [cited 2023 Dec 7];3:50. Available from: http://www.jmnn.org/text.asp?2014/3/1/50/123458

Dear Madam,

In the exhaustive review on 'Vitamin A deficiency: An eye sore,' in the Journal of Medical Nutrition and Nutraceuticals, [1] it is also important to highlight the dermatological manifestations that occur with this deficiency and throw some light on its potential benefits as a drug in dermatology.

The dermatological findings associated with Vitamin A deficiency were first described by Lowenthal in 1993, where he linked the occurrence of polygonal papules on the extensor surfaces of the extremities bilaterally and correlated them with night blindness and xerophthalmia. Nicholas later coined these findings as phrynoderma. [2],[3]

The dermatological effects of vitamin A can be explained by a simple understanding of its physiological effects. It plays an important role in maintaining the integrity of specialized epithelial surfaces. Its deficiency leads to atrophy of the mucosa. The normal epithelium undergoes metaplastic changes and is replaced by a keratinized stratified squamous epithelium. There is also a loss of goblet cells. These changes are more predominant in tissues where the epithelial cell turnover is high, like in the skin, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, and urogenital tract.

It is because of these effects that Vitamin A finds its clinical utility in multiple dermatological conditions.


Acne - The potential use of both topical and oral isotretinoin as a drug for the treatment of acne has been recognized. [4],[5]

Non-infectious diseases

Lichen planus-retinoids have anti-inflammatory and immunostimulating effects. [6]

Autoimmune diseases

Psoriasis - Vitamin A has an anti-proliferative effect in hyperproliferative conditions such as in psoriasis. [7]

Inherited diseases

Familial pityriasis rubra pilaris - Vitamin A exerts a therapeutic effect by modulating keratinocyte differentiation, keratinocyte hyperproliferation, and tissue infiltration by inflammatory cells. [8]

  Conclusion Top

It is important to highlight the importance of Vitamin A in dermatological conditions, as it is a simple and economical nutraceutical.

  References Top

1.Chander A, Chopra R, Batra N. Vitamin A deficiency: An eye sore. J Med Nutr Nutraceut 2013;2:41-5.  Back to cited text no. 1
  Medknow Journal  
2.Overview-Vitamin A deficiency. Available from: http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/126004-overview#a010. [Last accessed on 2013 Aug 8].  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Maronn M, Allen DM, Esterly NB. Phrynoderma: Amanifestation of vitamin A deficiency? The rest of the story. Pediatr Dermatol 2005;22:60-3.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Del Rosso JQ. Clinical relevance of skin barrier changes associated with the use of oral isotretinoin: The importance of barrier repair therapy in patient management. J Drugs Dermatol 2013;12:626-31.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Zaenglein AL, Shamban A, Webster G, Del Rosso J, Dover JS, Swinyer L, et al. A phase 4, open-label study evaluating the use of triple-combination therapy with minocycline HCl extended-release tablets, a topical antibiotic/retinoid preparation and benzoyl peroxide in patients with moderate to severe acne vulgaris. J Drugs Dermatol 2013;12:619-25.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Dalirsani Z, Taghavi Zenouz A, Mehdipour M, Alavi F, Javadzadeh Y. Comparison of the effect of combination of triamcinolone acetonide and vitamin a mouthwash with triamcinolone mouthwash alone on oral lichen planus. J Dent Res Dent Clin Dent Prospects 2010;4:21-4.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Marrakchi S, Kim I, Delaporte E, Briand G, Degand P, Maibach HI, et al. Vitamin A and E blood levels in erythrodermic and pustular psoriasis associated with chronic alcoholism. Acta Derm Venereol 1994;74:298-301.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Dicken CH. Treatment of classic pityriasis rubra pilaris. J Am Acad Dermatol 1994;31:997-9.  Back to cited text no. 8


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