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RETINOL (VITAMIN A)


image source: PubChem
Health Concerns of the Ingredient:
Overall Hazard
 
 
 
 
 
Allergies & immunotoxicity
 
 
Other HIGH concerns: Biochemical or cellular level changes; Other LOW concerns: Data gaps, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)

About RETINOL (VITAMIN A): Retinol (Vitamin A) is a naturally occuring substnace essential for healthy metabolism. Excess exposure to Vitamin A could be associated with toxicity such as effects on reproduction and development. ... read more

This ingredient may be derived from animals. From PETA's Caring Consumer: Can come from fish liver oil (e.g., shark liver oil), egg yolk, butter, lemongrass, wheat germ oil, carotene in carrots, and synthetics. It is an aliphatic alcohol. In cosmetics, creams, perfumes, hai ... read more

Function(s): Skin-Conditioning Agent - Miscellaneous; SKIN CONDITIONING

Synonym(s): RETINOL, 3,7-DIMETHYL-9- (2,6,6-TRIMETHYL-1-CYCLOHEXEN-1-YL) -2,4,6,8-NONATETRAEN-1-OL; DRY FORMED VITAMIN A; VITAMIN A; 2,4,6,8-NONATETRAEN-1-OL, 3,7-DIMETHYL-9- (2,6,6-TRIMETHYL-1-CYCLOHEXEN-1-YL) -, (ALL-E) -; 3,7-DIMETHYL-9- (2,6,6-TRIMETHYL-1-CYCLOHEXEN-1-YL) -2,4,6,8-NONATETRAEN-1-OL; ACON; AFAXIN; AGIOLAN; ALL-TRANS-RETINOL; ALL-TRANS-VITAMIN A ALCOHOL; ALPHALIN

Developmental/reproductive toxicity

Concern Reference
Known human reproductive toxicantFDA
Limited evidence of reproductive toxicity (only for Cosmetics use over entire body could theoretically result in Vitamin A exposures that exceed FDA and)Yourick JJ, Jung CT, Bronaugh RL
Limited evidence of developmental toxicityYourick JJ, Jung CT, Bronaugh RL

Use restrictions

Concern Reference
Restricted in cosmetics (recommendations or requirements) - use, concentration, or manufacturing restrictions - Use is restricted in Canadian cosmeticsCanada - Prohibited and Restricted Cosmetics Ingredients

Biochemical or cellular level changes

Concern Reference
Produces excess reactive oxygen species that can interfere with cellular signaling, cause mutations, lead to cell death and may be implicated in cardiovascular disease.Cherng SH, Xia Q, Blankenship LR, Freeman JP, Wamer WG, Howard PC, et al
Produces excess reactive oxygen species that can interfere with cellular signaling, cause mutations, lead to cell death and may be implicated in cardiovascular disease.Xia Q, Yin JJ, Cherng SH, Wamer WG, Boudreau M, Howard PC, et al

Cancer

Concern Reference
One or more animal studies show tumor formation at very low doses (only for skin, lips)NTP
One or more animal studies show tumor formation at very low dosesNational Toxicology Program (NTP)
One or more animal studies show tumor formation at very low dosesHalliday GM, Robertson BO, Barnetson RS
Cancer - limited evidenceNTP
One or more in vitro tests on mammalian cells show positive mutation resultsMei N, Xia Q, Chen L, Moore MM, Fu PP, Chen T
One or more in vitro tests non-mammalian cells show positive mutation resultsYan J, Xia Q, Cherng SH, Wamer WG, Howard PC, Yu H, et al

Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)

Concern Reference
Limited evidence of skin toxicityDuell EA, Kang S, Voorhees JJ
Limited evidence of skin toxicityKang S, Duell EA, Fisher GJ, Datta SC, Wang ZQ, Reddy AP, et al

Multiple, additive exposure sources

Concern Reference
Designated as safe for general or specific, limited use in foodFDA Food Additive Status
Designated as safe for general or specific, limited use in foodFDA Everything Added to Food

Data gaps

Concern Reference
Risk assessment method deficiencies and data gaps - Maximum reported "as used" concentration is basis of safety assessment by industry safety panel (Cosmetic Ingredient Review, CIR) - implicit safe concentration limit in productCosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments
33,902 studies in PubMed science library may include information on the toxicity of this chemical see search results ->NLM PubMed

Enhanced skin absorption

Concern Reference
Absorbs into the skinBoehnlein J, Sakr A, Lichtin JL, Bronaugh RL

Data Sources

Boehnlein J, Sakr A, Lichtin JL, Bronaugh RL. 1994. Characterization of esterase and alcohol dehydrogenase activity in skin. Metabolism of retinyl palmitate to retinol (vitamin A) during percutaneous absorption. Pharm Res 11(8): 1155-9.
CIR (Cosmetic Ingredient Review). 2006. CIR Compendium, containing abstracts, discussions, and conclusions of CIR cosmetic ingredient safety assessments. Washington DC.
Cherng SH, Xia Q, Blankenship LR, Freeman JP, Wamer WG, Howard PC, et al. 2005. Photodecomposition of retinyl palmitate in ethanol by UVA light-formation of photodecomposition products, reactive oxygen species, and lipid peroxides. Chem Res Toxicol 18(2): 129-38
Duell EA, Kang S, Voorhees JJ. 1997. Unoccluded retinol penetrates human skin in vivo more effectively than unoccluded retinyl palmitate or retinoic acid. J Invest Dermatol 109(3): 301-5.
FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) 2006. Food Additive Status List. Downloaded from http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/%7Edms/opa-appa.html, Oct 16, 2006.
FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration). 2008. EAFUS [Everything Added to Food]: A Food Additive Database. FDA Office of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
FDA. 1995. FDA Talk Paper: Vitamin A and Birth Defects. US Food and Drug Administration
Halliday GM, Robertson BO, Barnetson RS. 2000. Topical retinoic acid enhances, and a dark tan protects, from subedemal solar-simulated photocarcinogenesis. J Invest Dermatol 114(5): 923-7.
Health Canada. 2007. List of Prohibited and Restricted Cosmetic Ingredients. Canada's Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist. March 2007.
Kang S, Duell EA, Fisher GJ, Datta SC, Wang ZQ, Reddy AP, et al. 1995. Application of retinol to human skin in vivo induces epidermal hyperplasia and cellular retinoid binding proteins characteristic of retinoic acid but without measurable retinoic acid levels or irritation. J Invest Dermatol 105(4): 549-56.
Mei N, Xia Q, Chen L, Moore MM, Fu PP, Chen T. 2005. Photomutagenicity of retinyl palmitate by ultraviolet a irradiation in mouse lymphoma cells. Toxicol Sci 88(1): 142-9.
NLM (National Library of Medicine). 2012. PubMed online scientific bibliography data. http://www.pubmed.gov.
NTP. 2000. All-Trans-Retinyl Palmitate [CASRN 79-81-2]. http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/htdocs/Chem_Background/ExSumPdf/RetinylPalmitate.pdf
NTP. 2010. NTP Draft Technical Report on the Photococarcinogenesis Study of Retinoic Acid and Retinyl Palmitate [CAS Nos. 302-79-4 (All-Trans-Retinoic Acid) and 79-81-2 (All-Trans-Retinyl Palmitate)] in SKH-1 Mice (Simulated Solar Light And Topical Application Study). NIH Publication No. 11-5910
National Toxicology Program (NTP). 2012. Photocarcinogenesis Studies of Retinoic Acid and Retinyl Palmitate [CAS Nos. 302-79-4 (All-trans-retinoic acid) and 79-81-2 (All-trans-retinyl palmitate)] in SKH-1 Mice (simulated solar light and topical application study). Report TR-568.
National Toxicology Program (NTP). 2012. Photocarcinogenesis Studies of Retinoic Acid and Retinyl Palmitate [CAS Nos. 302-79-4 (All-trans-retinoic acid) and 79-81-2 (All-trans-retinyl palmitate)] in SKH-1 Mice (simulated solar light and topical application study). Report TR-568.
Xia Q, Yin JJ, Cherng SH, Wamer WG, Boudreau M, Howard PC, et al. 2006. UVA photoirradiation of retinyl palmitate--formation of singlet oxygen and superoxide, and their role in induction of lipid peroxidation. Toxicol Lett 163(1): 30-43
Yan J, Xia Q, Cherng SH, Wamer WG, Howard PC, Yu H, et al. 2005. Photo-induced DNA damage and photocytotoxicity of retinyl palmitate and its photodecomposition products. Toxicol Ind Health 21(7-8): 167-75
Yourick JJ, Jung CT, Bronaugh RL. 2008. In vitro and in vivo percutaneous absorption of retinol from cosmetic formulations: significance of the skin reservoir and prediction of systemic absorption. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 231(1): 117-21
Yourick JJ, Jung CT, Bronaugh RL. 2008. In vitro and in vivo percutaneous absorption of retinol from cosmetic formulations: significance of the skin reservoir and prediction of systemic absorption. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 231(1): 117-21.

About the ratings

EWG provides information on personal care product ingredients from the published scientific literature, to supplement incomplete data available from companies and the government. The ratings below indicate the relative level of concern posed by exposure to the ingredients in this product - not the product itself - compared to other product formulations. The ratings reflect potential health hazards but do not account for the level of exposure or individual susceptibility, factors which determine actual health risks, if any. Learn more | Legal Disclaimer