FDA Research Says Vitamin A Additive in Sunscreens May Speed Skin Tumors

By Kristie Turck •  Published 05/28/10 •  2 min read

Last updated on August 20th, 2022 at 11:53 am

Recent research came to the surface from an FDA study that indicates that a semi-common additive in sunscreens, Vitamin A or retinyl palmitate, may actually speed the growth of skin tumors and lesions when exposed to sunlight.

The Environmental Working Group released their Sunscreen Guide for this year, and I know I have questioned their recommendations in the past.  I believe I was right in my skepticism in years past.  But this time they have done a stellar job checking out basically every sunscreen known on the market, and I agree with just about all of their top choices. Included in their new guide is a detailed run down of the new research findings from the FDA study, so if you are so inclined to read the whole shebang, please check it out.

Why Is It Used?  Retinyl palmitate is added to sunscreens because of its anti aging effects as an antioxidant.  About 41% of all sunscreens contain it (according to EWG). It’s also used in cosmetics and other skin care items but based on the information released by the FDA they are “concerned” about the safety of its use in topical applications.

This means a slight need for a revision to SafeMama’s Sunscreen Cheat Sheet for this year because I strive to select the safest of the safest while also trying to provide choices. But I feel this is enough to warrant a revision to the list.  I will post an update once I have thoroughly reviewed the items we have listed.

My question to our readers is would you rather us remove any sunscreens containing Vitamin A or retinyl palmitate – or would you rather we apply a notation to the products listing making readers aware of its presence? My knee jerk reaction was to remove any offenders completely but sometimes that generates a lot of questions so I am open to my lovely readers feedback on this one.  So far it seems that Mexitan is the only brand containing retinyl palmitate.  What say you?

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