April 21, 2011
A recent study commissioned by the National Institute of Health has proven that Vitamin A, in the form of Retinyl Palmitate, promotes skin cancer tumors and lesions when exposed to sunlight. About forty percent of all sunscreens and many other cosmetics, contain this ingredient, formerly believed to be highly beneficial to the skin.
The EWG, Environmental Working Group, has published the NIH report along with their recommendations on their website, www.ewg.org. They are also going to publish recommendations for 2011 sunscreens in the near future, on line. I suggest that you follow their guide when buying this summer’s sunscreens.
At the end of January, when the results were made public, manufacturers were alerted but, only two companies immediately reformulated products without Retinyl Palmitate: Mexitan and Dr. T’s Supergoop. The most popular brands that contain Retinyl Palmitate include Coppertone, Banana Boat, Panama Jack, Hawaiian Tropic and Neutrogena.
You should also check ingredient listings for facial and hand moisturizers, blush, and foundation makeup. By returning these products for ones that do not contain Retinyl Palmitate, you will let manufacturers know that the public is aware of the problem and wants safer products.
It is ironic that Vitamin A is a powerful anti-oxidant used specifically to undo the damage caused by sunlight! Retin A is a Vitamin A derivative, and a big red flag should have gone up more than a decade ago when Retin A was introduced along with the warning to avoid even the smallest direct exposure to sunlight throughout the course of treatment, as severe sun damage could occur. I personally warned people away from its use because of this and have consulted with many women who received severe sunburns while using the product.
Once again, it is imperative to read and understand your product labels.