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Toxicol Ind Health. 2006 May;22(4):181-91.

Levels of retinyl palmitate and retinol in the stratum corneum, epidermis, and dermis of female SKH-1 mice topically treated with retinyl palmitate.

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National Center for Toxicological Research, US Food and Drug Administration, Jefferson, AR 72079, USA.


Retinyl esters are the storage form of vitamin A in skin, and retinyl palmitate (RP) accounts for the majority of the retinyl esters endogenously formed in skin. RP is also obtained exogenously through the topical application of cosmetic and skin care products that contain RP. There is limited information on the penetration and distribution of RP and vitamin A within the stratified layers of the skin. The purpose of these studies was to determine the time course for accumulation and disappearance of RP and retinol in the stratified layers of skin from female SKH-1 mice that received single or repeated topical applications of creams containing 0.5 or 2% of RP. We developed an HPLC method with detection limits of 5.94 and 1.62 ng, to simultaneously quantify the amount of RP and retinol, respectively, in skin samples. Our results showed that RP rapidly diffuses into the stratum corneum and epidermal skin layers within 24 h following the application of RP-containing creams. Of the three skin layers, the highest level of RP and retinol per weight unit (ng/mg) at all time points was found in the epidermis. Levels of RP and retinol were lowest in the dermal layer and intermediate in the stratum corneum. The levels of RP and retinol in the separated skin layers and in the intact skin decreased with time, but levels of RP remained higher than control values for a period of up to 18 days. Our results indicate that the application of RP to mouse skin alters the normal physiological levels of RP and retinol in the skin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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