Loading... Please wait...

Blog

Ingredient Spotlight: Retinol & Retinyl Palmitate - What Are They & Should You Avoid Them?

Posted by

There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about the use of Retinol and Retinyl Palmitate in skin care and cosmetic products. Most of that talk centres around the safety of those ingredients, with arguments both for and against put forward by government bodies, researchers and health industry organisations.

Retinol & Retinyl Palmitate Use in Skin Care & Cosmetics

Once upon a time, Retinol and Retinyl Palmitate were found mainly in skin care products designed for night-time use, like night creams and serums. These days, they can be found in a much wider range of products, including cleansers, day creams, sunscreens, body washes, shampoos, lipsticks, eyeshadows, mascaras - just about everything!

So, let’s take a closer look at these ingredients and discuss why there’s so much controversy surrounding them.

First of all: what are Retinol and Retinyl Palmitate?

Retinol is the technical or chemical name for Vitamin A. Natural Vitamin A is important for our health and is usually obtained through our diet. It supports our immune system, boosts vision and contributes to the health of our skin. From a general health point of view, most of us get enough Vitamin A from what we eat and drink each day.

Retinyl Palmitate is a chemical compound combining Retinol (Vitamin A) and Palmitic Acid (a saturated fatty acid, derived from palm oil).

It should also be noted that there are other types of esters, also Vitamin A derivatives, often described as Retinol, including Retinyl Acetate, Retinyl Linoleate and Retinyl Proprionate.

Why are Retinol and Retinyl Palmitate used in skin care?

Retinol and Retinyl Palmitate are powerful antioxidants and have long been touted for their anti-ageing properties.

When Retinol is applied topically to the skin, it is converted to an active compound known as Retinoic Acid (also known as Tretinoin). Retinoic Acid has a small molecular structure that allows it to penetrate the outer layers of our skin to reach the deeper layers where collagen and elastin reside. It works to boost collagen and elastin production and increase cellular rejuvenation, promoting smoother, younger looking skin.

Retinyl Palmitate is considered to be a milder form of Vitamin A and, when applied topically to skin, it must first be converted to Retinol and then to Retinoic Acid before it can have the same anti-ageing effects as Retinol.

Are there any dangers associated with using products containing Retinol and Retinyl Palmitate?

You can find lots of information online about Retinol ingredients. It can be a little confusing because, unfortunately, there are conflicting views when it comes to their safety. If you're concerned, I urge you to do your own research and make up your own mind whether these ingredients are right for you and your circumstances. Some of the concerns surrounding the use of Retinoid ingredients in skin care products include:

  • Dry skin & irritation

There seems to be a general consensus that people with sensitive skin should take care using products containing Retinol or Retinyl Palmitate. Retinol is a potent exfoliating agent and regular use can cause a thinning of the skin, dryness, redness and irritation, particularly in people with sensitive skin.

  • Sun damage

There have been some studies indicating that Retinoid ingredients, although revered for their anti-ageing properties, can act as “photosensitisers” when exposed to sunlight, leading to free radical formation, skin damage and ageing (ironic, right?). Some studies have indicated that Retinyl Palmitate, when applied to the skin in the presence of sulight, may speed the development of skin tumours and lesions. This begs the question: why is Retinyl Palmitate used in some sunscreens, foundations and lipsticks??? 

  • Pregnant women

High doses of Vitamin A during pregnancy can be harmful to the development of the foetus and experts recommend that pregnant women avoid using topical Retinoid products.

So, what's my take on all of this?

While ageing is a natural process which we all go through (if we’re lucky enough to live that long), many of us would like to maintain a youthful appearance for as long as possible. That doesn't necessarily mean we're vain. We just want to look and feel our best and there's nothing wrong with that! A skin care routine based on natural and organic skincare products can play an important role but there are other things you can do to benefit your skin's health and appearance, like:

  • Diet – eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Limit processed foods.
  • Water – drink adequate amounts of water throughout the day to keep your body and your skin well hydrated.
  • Exercise – exercising increases blood flow, delivering more oxygen and nutrients to your skin cells, helping to keep them vital.

As for Retinol & Retinyl Palmitate, my personal opinion is: wait until the sun goes down. These ingredients do have amazing proven anti-ageing benefits, but until more research into their safety is carried out and more conclusive data becomes available - especially as regards exposure to sunlight - it might be best to restrict yourself to night-time products and let them work their magic for you while you sleep.

Disclaimer:
The writer is not a medical professional. Any information or advice in this article is of a general nature only and is the opinion of the writer, based on the writer's research into the topic at hand. Nothing in this article is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. For medical advice regarding your own personal circumstances, it is recommended that you contact your GP or other healthcare professional.

Sources: truthinaging .com; ewg .com; webmd .com; safecosmetics .org

View Comments


Get Your Ultimate Skin With Clemence Organics

Ultimate [uhl-tuh-mit] 1.  Adjectivea. last; furthest or farthest; ending a process or series (e.g. the ultimate point in a journey; the ultimate style in hats)b. maximum; decisive; conclusive (e.g. the ultimate authority; the ultimate weapon)c. highest; not subsidiary (e.g. ultimate goal in life) 2.  NounThe best achievable or imaginable of its kind(e.g. the ultimate in luxury)1In the English language, “ultimate” is a powerful word. When [...]

Read More »


4 Reasons To Grab a JOCO Reusable Cup Today

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world today. Apparently, worldwide, humans consume almost 10 million tons of coffee per year.1 And, whilst a lot of that coffee is consumed in the home, a large percentage is enjoyed in restaurants and cafes and a significant further amount is savoured in the form of takeaway coffee. [...]

Read More »


How to replace those Winter woes with skin that glows

With Summer leaving us behind and winter taking up residence, breezy winds, dry air and chilly temperatures can wreak havoc on our skin. Winter’s here to stay for a while so now is the time to take extra care of your skin and embark on some naturally safe skincare routines (see what we did there?). Conquer those chapped lips, [...]

Read More »


5 Stunning Winter Makeup Looks That You Simply Cannot Miss

Winter brings chillier (and much darker) mornings, hence prioritising that snooze time over perfecting your daily makeup look.With that being said . . . Winter is the possibly the best season to play in the face department – whether that be working with warm hues or opting for a simple natural glow.Taking inspiration from the catwalks of Paris, New York [...]

Read More »


5 Natural Skin Care Tips for Autumn

So the beautiful (but often intensely hot) Summer has come and gone and Autumn has arrived, which means a change in your natural skin care routine should now take place in order for your skin to thrive in the cooler temperatures and less humid conditions.With that thought in mind, here are 5 natural skin care tips to ensure your [...]

Read More »


BB Creams - Please Explain?!!!

It's OK Pauline, you're not the only who's not sure about BB creams. One of the most common questions I get asked in my job is: "What's a BB cream?" While most of us have heard of the term 'BB cream', a lot of people just aren't sure what a BB cream is and what [...]

Read More »


Valentine’s Day & the Beauty Industry: The Chemicals You're Gifting To Your Loved One

Yes, it’s here again: Valentine’s Day! That LOVE-ly day of the year when we celebrate all things romantic. Of course, there are many ways to show your love and appreciation for that special person – going out for a delicious dinner at a nice restaurant, watching a movie together at the local cinema or just making the effort [...]

Read More »


Transparency is easy when you have nothing to hide

One of my pet hates in this industry is when brands don’t provide their products’ full list of ingredients on their website. They may only list the key ingredients, or beneficial ingredients, or however they want to term it. Or they don’t list the ingredients at all.You’ve got to ask yourself – why?Why don’t they provide you with [...]

Read More »


Are You Putting Your Best Foot Forward?

Picture the scene . . .You’re in a social situation with some friends at a party or just sitting at a café sipping a latte and you notice a lovely woman nearby. Your eyes are drawn to her: she’s attractive, she’s wearing a lovely Summer dress, her makeup is flawless, her hair is styled in the latest fashion. She [...]

Read More »


View Cart Go To Checkout