If you've read about Retinol, you've read about Vitamin A.

Vitamin A naturally occurs in our bodies, providing key therapeutic and antioxidant properties. For skin care applications, the two most widely used forms of vitamin A are:

  • Carotenoids; and
  • Retinoids.


Carotenoids1 are antioxidant phytonutrients that create the bright orange, yellow and red colors in many plants while providing energy through light absorption for healthy cell growth. We see them most commonly added to skin care products in the forms of astaxanthin, zeaxanthin, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, lycopene and thermus thermophillus ferment extract. 

When topically applied, carotenoids reduce lipid peroxidation by neutralizing free radicals and promoting healthy cell growth without the same health concerns raised by certain retinoids. Of all the carotenoids we've reviewed, we've found that astaxanthin (derived from red microalgae) is the most powerful2 and is an active ingredient in our:


Retinoids are vitamin A compounds widely used as an anti-aging ingredient in sunscreens, cosmetics, and skin care products3As a group, they are a scientifically proven, anti-aging, skin care ingredient (link to Pdf) that assists in collagen production and skin barrier protection. Typically, we find retinoids listed in products as retinol, tretinoin, retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, and retinyl linoleate. 

On the negative side, however, are recent studies demonstrating that retinyl palmitate can create free radicals when exposed to direct and ambient sunlight4. Other emerging research has also raised concerns about using too much retinol and possible resulting UV sunlight skin damage, which brings to mind the old adage: there can be too much of a good thing.

We recommend monitoring your retinoid intake by reading the ingredients of every product you apply to your skin to maintain a healthy vitamin A balance.

You won't have to factor our products in your overall retinoid exposure because we do not use them in any of our products.

 We use a wide variety of antioxidants in our products, including Antioxidant Balancing MistMoisturizersEye CreamTreatments and Cleansers.



Related Products

Article References

1- The Role of Carotenoids in Human Skin (2011). Molecules, Volume 16, Page 10491.


2- Protective Effects of Astaxanthin on Skin Deterioration (2017). Journal of Clinical Biochemestry and Nutrition, vol. 61, no. 1, Page 33.

3- Retinoids in the Treatment of Skin Aging: An Overview of Clinical Efficacy and Safety (2006). Clinical Interventions in Aging, Volume 1(4), Page 327.


4 - All-Trans-Retinyl Palmitate (2000). A National Toxicology Program at the National Institute of Health study.    

    Photococarcinogenesis Study of Retinoic Acid and Retinyl Palmitate (2012). A National Toxicology Program at the National Institute of Health study.

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