Occasionally throughout the years, controversies have arisen over things that were once thought to be good for you but possibly weren’t. (Perhaps you recall that squall over Red Dye #5.) Or over healthy ingredients that were thought to be extra good for you, but ultimately weren’t much different than comparable ingredients already in use. (Remember the Oat Bran craze that faded faster than a one hit wonders career?) Of course, those were just a couple of highly publicized examples. Many other such controversies don’t get nearly the ink, and so mostly fly under the radar. Retinyl Palmitate is one of those controversies we wanted to discuss with you today.
One of these lesser known debates about Retinyl Palmitate was addressed in a post from annmariegianni.com. It tries to determine whether or not Retinyl Palmitate, a common component of sunscreen, might actually contribute to skin cancer based on a seven-year-old study put out by the National Toxicology Program and cited by the non-profit Environmental Working Group.*
According to the source article, (which can be read in its entirety by clicking here) the report indicated that tests run on laboratory mice showed that the chemical, when combined with UV ray exposure, potentially could assist in causing skin cancer in those mice. The piece goes on to state that this led EWG to call for producers to drop Retinyl Palmitate from their skin care products.*
Now if memory serves, there’s an old adage that goes something like for every study you show me saying one thing, I’ll show you one that says the opposite. And that fits here, as annmariegianni.com also reported that the American Academy of Dermatology thought differently from EWG. Their own scientific research apparently determined that the aforementioned findings weren’t definitive enough to make such a conclusion; that it was possible the controlled laboratory environment skewed the data with regard to the view on how it might affect humans. Also, that the skin of the mice themselves was not nearly as thick as ours, which made theirs poor for the purposes of comparison.
So, who’s right and who’s wrong? Who knows? Annmariegianni.com offers their own opinion at the end of the article. (Which again, you can access through the link above.) As with all cosmetic ingredients, there is always the risk of photosensitivity which can damage the skin and accelerate sun damage and skin cancer concerns. Many professionals recommend the use at night for this reason. If however you decide that you’d like a more definitive, professional opinion, the best and easiest thing to do is to ask your Dermatologist or medical professional.
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