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Retinol vs Vitamin A - Choosing the Right Skincare Ingredient

Glasses laying on an eye exam chart.


Read time: 3 minutes

Taking your vitamin supplements is one of the easiest and proactive ways we can support our health, but which ones do we need, and what are they all for? It can get confusing to try and remember all the different names and forms of vitamins, but it’s important nonetheless to make sure you get them.

One of these vitamins, vitamin A, comes in two main forms: retinoids and carotenoids. You may have heard of the most popular retinoid, known as retinol. However, retinol is just one of nine different retinoids, all derivatives of vitamin A. Retinoids are preformedmeaning they can be used by the body just as they are. Carotenoids, however, are pro-vitamin A, which means once ingested, your body turns it into vitamin A in the digestive system. Both are essential to human health.

With so many different variations of this one vitamin, it can be hard to keep track, or know which ones to buy. Let’s talk about the most popular retinoid and vitamin A supplements to determine which one best suits your needs. Then, you can make an informed decision on if you should take vitamin A and retinol. 

Topical Retinol: The Fountain of Youth

First of all, it’s good to know that retinol is just one of nine siblings in the retinoid family, so the two terms cannot be used interchangeably.

Retinol is known worldwide as the most popular anti-aging retinoid, and estheticians as well as beauty gurus everywhere sing its praises. In addition to being the proverbial fountain of youth for skin, retinol is prescribed by doctors for other conditions such as acne and psoriasis.

This retinoid often comes over-the-counter topically in small amounts, due to its chemical strength and irritating properties. A little can go a long way with retinol, and it’s an effective topical treatment to help with wrinkles, fine lines, and other forms of visible aging. It’s found in many creams, serums, and cleansers, and is relatively affordable compared to other, more expensive methods of countering signs of aging.

If you’re looking for something to slow the hands of time, topical retinol may be worth adding to your daily skin routine! However, vitamin A, both in retinoid and carotenoid form is crucial for many important biological processes beyond the skincare aisle as well.

Vitamin A

As mentioned, there are two kinds of vitamin A:pre-formed (aka retinoids), found in animal products like dairy, meat, and eggs. The second is pro-vitamin A, which is found as carotenoids in plant-based foods, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and grapefruits, and these need to be converted by your body into vitamin A.

Both are essential to human development and health. Vitamin A, in fact, supports a strong immune system, helps with bone growth and health, supports reproductive processes, and is vital for eye health and vision. Remember “eat your carrots”, anyone? There’s good reason for it; carrots are a rich source of a carotenoid called beta carotene. Yes, there are multiple forms of carotenoids too!

Vitamin A supplements contain retinoids and carotenoids, and while you can get some vitamin A in food, many people are vitamin deficient today, regardless of location or economic status. Vitamin A supplements are safe in the right amounts (up to 10,000 IUs per day), and a great way to ensure you aren’t deficient. If you are looking to support your body’s functioning, eye, bone, and immune health, a vitamin A supplement is a great place to start.

Vitamin A and Retinol - The EZ Melts Difference

For your daily dose of complete vitamin A, we suggest a supplement like EZ Melts. It’s important to have a daily routine of feeding your body the nutrients it needs. Supplements are the easiest and quickest way of ensuring you get the correct amount.

Many vitamin supplements are solid and have a ton of chemical additives, which can cause stomach upset, so quality matters. Make sure you are choosing a brand that cares about what they put into their supplements as much as you care about what goes into your body. Thanks for being a part of our community!

Check out our Zero-Sugar, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Non-GMO quick melting vitamin A tablets in a customer-approved delicious flavor!


Written by Annie-Eliza Stevens