Why is retinol good for the skin

Retinol In Cosmetics - A Health Risk?

If you research "Retinol" on the web, you will find e.g. B. The search results of the major search engines give priority to articles that advertise retinol as a component of anti-aging creams or recommend it as a "miracle cure for wrinkles".

A too high intake however, retinol can also have harmful effects on health, especially for certain populations. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment already pointed this out at the beginning of 2014 and came to the conclusion: The intake through cosmetic products should be limited (BfR 2014).

What is retinol

Retinol, also known as vitamin A.1 Chemically speaking, it belongs to the retinoid group and is one of the fat-soluble vitamins. It occurs as a natural component in numerous foods, especially in liver and cod liver oil, milk, dairy products and egg yolks.

Retinol (vitamin A1) as a vital vitamin

Retinol is an essential vitamin for maintaining good health. It is i.a. important for the visual process as well as for the growth and function of skin and mucous membranes.

The German Nutrition Society (DGE) recommends a daily intake of approx. 1 mg retinol or retinol equivalents. This intake is usually achieved through a balanced diet. The intake of β-carotene, which is found in vegetables and fruits, contributes to the supply as it is converted to vitamin A in the body.

Retinol as a component of cosmetics

In cosmetics, especially in so-called anti-aging creams, retinol and the related retinol ester are used to reduce skin wrinkles. These substances are absorbed by the body through the skin; they thus contribute to the total intake of retinol.

Health effects of excessive retinol intake

While the adequate supply of vitamin A1 As part of a healthy diet, excessive intake can lead to acute or chronic symptoms of "hypervitaminosis". If it is acutely exceeded, nausea, headache and vomiting can occur; if the intake is chronically excessive, dry skin and cracked lips, hair loss, bone and muscle pain and liver diseases are possible.

Recommendations of the DGE and the BfR on maximum levels and the concentration of retinol in cosmetics

The DGE recommends as Tolerable upper intake level (Tolerable daily intake, UL) maximum 3 mg retinol equivalents. The UL refers to the maximum daily amount from all sources that a person can ingest in the long term without any adverse health effects being expected. Normally, this maximum value is not exceeded even with a diet rich in vitamin A and regular use of cosmetics.

However, the value recommended by the DGE does not apply to Postmenopausal women - and thus for the most important target group of anti-aging products - as well as for users with a increased risk of osteoporosis and fractures. The Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) has recommended a daily maximum of 1.5 mg for this group of people. The reason for this are studies that suggest a possible connection between a high vitamin A intake and a reduction in bone density.

Since women often ingest up to 1.8 mg retinol equivalents through their food and, if they use cosmetics containing retinol more intensively, about 0.7 mg can be added, a health risk for these people cannot be ruled out (see BfR 2014).

It cannot be ruled out that retinol in the pregnancy leads to deformities in the child. However, it has not yet been clearly identified as the cause of malformations in humans. However, for safety reasons, pregnant women should take care not to exceed the UL of 3 mg per day.

Due to the z. T. proven and z. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment recommends limiting the concentration of retinol and retinol-like substances in cosmetics for face and hand care and advocates a ban in lip and body care products.