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Data: Fair

Retinol (Vitamin A)

IMAGE SOURCE: PubChem

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Other Concerns

Use restrictions (high), Non-reproductive organ system toxicity (low), and Biochemical or cellular level changes (high)

SYNONYMS

3,7-DIMETHYL-9-(2,6,6-TRIMETHYL-1-CYCLOHEXEN-1-YL)-2,4,6,8-NONATETRAEN-1-OL, DRY FORMED VITAMIN A, RETINOL, RETINOL (VITAMIN A), and VITAMIN A

Retinol is a potent form of synthetic vitamin A. Data from an FDA study indicate that retinoid ingredients may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions on sun-exposed skin. FDA, Norwegian and German health agencies have raised a concern that daily skin application of vitamin A creams may contribute to excessive vitamin A intake for pregnant women and other populations.

Common concerns

See how this product scores for common concerns.

  • MODERATE
    Cancer
  • LOW
    Allergies & Immunotoxicity
  • HIGH
    Developmental and Reproductive Toxicity
  • HIGH
    Use Restrictions

Ingredient concerns

  • CONCERNS
  • DATA SOURCES

Products with this Ingredient

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facial moisturizer/treatment107 products
serums & essences93 products
around-eye cream32 products
mask30 products
moisturizer28 products
anti-aging26 products
facial cleanser19 products
foundation10 products
daily use with SPF9 products
body firming lotion9 products
body wash/cleanser9 products
body oil8 products
exfoliant/scrub7 products
skin fading/lightener6 products
makeup primer5 products
makeup remover5 products
beard oil4 products
hair treatment/serum4 products
conditioner3 products
beard care3 products
hand cream2 products
2 products
hair styling aide2 products
cuticle treatment2 products
body spray1 products
hair-loss treatment1 products
concealer1 products
hair spray1 products
eyelash glue1 products
facial powder1 products
toners/astringents1 products
bronzer/highlighter1 products
damaged skin treatment1 products
beard cleanser1 products
blush1 products
diaper cream1 products

Use restrictions

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Violation of government restrictions - Banned or found unsafe for use in cosmeticsOpen scientific literature
Restricted in cosmetics (recommendations or requirements) - use, concentration, or manufacturing restrictions - Use is restricted in Canadian cosmeticsCanada - Prohibited and Restricted Cosmetics Ingredients

Developmental/reproductive toxicity

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Known human reproductive toxicantOpen scientific literature
Limited evidence of reproductive toxicityOpen scientific literature
Limited evidence of developmental toxicityOpen scientific literature

Enhanced skin absorption

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Absorbs into the skinOpen scientific literature

Biochemical or cellular level changes

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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.Open scientific literature

Cancer

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CONCERN REFERENCE
One or more animal studies show tumor formation at very low dosesOpen scientific literature
Cancer - limited evidenceOpen scientific literature
One or more in vitro tests on mammalian cells show positive mutation resultsOpen scientific literature
One or more in vitro tests non-mammalian cells show positive mutation resultsOpen scientific literature

Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Limited evidence of skin toxicityOpen scientific literature

Data gaps

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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
38937 studies in PubMed science library may include information on the toxicity of this chemicalNLM PubMed

Multiple, additive exposure sources

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

Informational

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Industry or government recommendations for safe use: restrictions on concentration, impurities, product types, or manufacturing methods - anyCosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments
  • Open scientific/peer reviewed literature
  • Health Canada. 2007. List of Prohibited and Restricted Cosmetic Ingredients. Canada's Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist. March 2007.
  • CIR (Cosmetic Ingredient Review). 2006. CIR Compendium, containing abstracts, discussions, and conclusions of CIR cosmetic ingredient safety assessments. Washington DC.
  • NLM (National Library of Medicine). 2012. PubMed online scientific bibliography data. http://www.pubmed.gov.
  • 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 (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.

Understanding scores

Cosmetics and personal care products are not required to be tested for safety before being allowed on the market. The Skin Deep® scoring system was designed to help the public understand whether a product is safe to use or whether it contains ingredients of concern.

Every product and ingredient in Skin Deep gets a two-part score – one for hazard and one for data availability. The safest products score well by both measures, with a low hazard rating and a fair or better data availability rating.

HOW WE DETERMINE SCORES

Hazard score

The Skin Deep ingredient hazard score, from 1 to 10, reflects known and suspected hazards linked to the ingredients. The EWG VERIFIED™ mark means a product meets EWG’s strictest criteria for transparency and health.

Score legend

Data availability

The Skin Deep data availability rating reflects the number of scientific studies about the product or ingredient in the published scientific literature.

NONE LIMITED FAIR GOOD ROBUST
Low Availability
Moderate Availability
High Availability

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