Cleaner Living: Toxin #2- Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A)

Retinyl Palmitate is also known as retinol and Vitamin A

I’m not talking about the stuff in your Multi- vitamin.  Moderate intake of vitamin A-rich foods or dietary supplements is essential for health; it has also been reported to reduce skin cancer in organ transplant recipients.

But Vitamin A and its derivative, retinyl palmitate, is often found in sunscreens and other skin lotions.  Manufacturers promote this chemical to even out skin discoloration, reduce roughness and wrinkling.

The industry claims that toxicological tests have determined products with retinyl palmitate to be safe, however government and independent scientists have been investigating this chemical as a possible photocarcinogen.  This means that it may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions on sun-exposed skin.

The EWG Skin Deep database has listed retinyl palmitate as an ingredients in nearly 3,000 products, and retinol in another 500.  Most of these products are used abundantly on sun-exposed skin; lotions, sunscreen, makeup, lip balm, and lipsticks.  The bio-accumulative effect of using several products with this ingredient in it is troubling and enough to warrant concern and for measures to be taken to reduce overall exposure to it.  We should be especially cognizant of this ingredient being used in products we use on our children’s delicate skin.

Bottom line: You should wear sunscreen, but find one without Vitamin A, retinyl palmitate, and/or retinol.  Although the industry as a whole has yet to hear the fervor of consumers and change their formulations, many companies are proactively eliminating it from their compounds.  You can search for your sunscreen at EWG’s Sunscreen Guide and your other cosmetics and personal care items on the Skin Deep Database.

Up Next: Toxin #3- Oxybenzone (look for this one in your sunscreen also)

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