- Retinyl palmitate is a synthetic alternate for retinyl acetate in vitamin A supplements, and is available in oily or dry forms.
- Retinyl palmitate is used as an antioxidant and a source of vitamin A added to low fat milk and other dairy products to replace the vitamin content lost through the removal of milk fat. Palmitate is attached to the alcohol form of vitamin A, retinol, in order to make vitamin A stable in milk.
- Retinyl palmitate is also a constituent of some topically applied skin care products. After its absorption into the skin, retinyl palmitate is converted to retinol, and ultimately to retinoid acid.
- Retinyl palmitate is the the ester of retinol (vitamin A) combined with palmitic acid, a saturated fatty acid and a major component of palm oil. It is not considered to be the same ingredient as retinol, although it is converted to retinol, and then to the active component of retinoic acid once it is absorbed by the skin after being topically applied. It belongs to the family of chemical compounds known as retinoids and is one of the most important vitamins for the appearance of the skin because of its small molecular structures. These tiny molecules have the ability to penetrate the outer layers of the skin and work to repair the lower layers where collagen and elastin reside.
- Retinyl palmitate is considered a less irritating form of retinol, and a gentler ingredient on sensitive skin. However, the reason retinyl palmitate may cause less irritation is because of the lengthier process that must take place for it to be converted into retinoic acid (otherwise known as tretinoin), the active compound that creates the cell regeneration and exfoliation action within the skin. Retinyl palmitate converts into retinol (or vitamin A), which in turn is converted into retinoic acid by specialized enzymes in the skin. Retinoic acid facilitates communication between cells, encouraging aging cells to continue their renewal process, and regenerate collagen and elastin to prevent the appearance of aging skin, wrinkles, and fine lines. It is also effective at producing new, healthy skin cells to replace skin previously damaged by acne. However, retinol cannot communicate with a cell until it has been broken down into retinoic acid. Once this breakdown has occurred, communication begins and the cells’ turnover rate increases, thus speeding up the production of collagen.
- Retinyl palmitate is considered an exfoliator (albeit more gentle than pure retinol), and its effect of repeatedly shedding the upper dermal layer forces the skin to produce new cells. There is some concern that at the Hayflick Limit (the number of times skin can regenerate itself before reaching its limit), the aging process will actually accelerate because cells are unable to multiply indefinitely.
Retinyl palmitate is a controversial ingredient because of its potentially hazardous side effects. Although it has many proven benefits, the Cosmetics Database rates it as a moderate hazard ingredient. It warns of potential side effects including cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity, violations, restrictions and warnings, cellular level changes, and organ system toxicity. Retinyl palmitate has been shown to produces excess reactive oxygen species that can interfere with cellular signaling, cause mutations, lead to cell death, and it may be implicated in cardiovascular disease. It has caused reproductive effects at low doses in one or more animal studies, and there is limited evidence of cancer and skin toxicity, although it has been shown to be easily absorbed into the skin.
- Please speak to your doctor!
An alternate spelling, retinol palmitate, which violates the -yl organic chemical naming convention for esters, is also frequently seen.
Source: Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retinyl_palmitate
Truth in Aging, https://www.truthinaging.com/ingredients/retinyl-palmitate