In the back-and-forth game of whether or not vitamin A derivatives (specifically, retinyl palmitate) are actually safe when used in SPF, the American Academy of Dermatologists (AAD) has now weighed in. "There is not published evidence to suggest that topical retinoids increase the risk of photocarcinogenesis," dermatologists Henry Lim, Steven Wang, and Stephen Duszain wrote in the Journal of the AAD.
The doctors claim that thanks to its antioxidant properties, retinyl palmitate used in SPF actually helps fight against the formation of free radicals when used on skin exposed to the sun. It's a much different opinion than the Environmental Working Group, who earlier this year claimed that vitamin A derivatives added to sunscreens could actually speed the development of tumors when used on skin exposed to the sun, based on studies from the National Toxicology Program and National Center for Toxicological Research. A month later, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer urged the FDA to make a definitive ruling on the issue. While the FDA has yet to chime in, we're hoping the issue is soon resolved for good.