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LionQueen

Why is it that oily skin so often APPEARS oilier ...

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So, here is a situation that I keep running into all over the board.

There'll be a discussion underway about oily skin and dryness, and some poor unsuspecting innocent person will say something like this:

"When you overwash your oily skin or dry it out with harsh products, it responds by producing more sebum and ends up looking even oilier."

Then, as if by magic, a certain user (the same one every time) pops up to mock that poor innocent person for having such ridiculously outdated beliefs about sebum production.

Well, this may be lots of fun if you like making fun of people and showing off your superior knowledge about sebum, but it is not very helpful.

The fact is, lots of people are obviously observing the same phenomenon. When you have oily skin and it gets dehydrated (dry due to lack of WATER), it LOOKS oilier.

Let us take it for granted that the dehydrated skin is not actually producing any more sebum than usual. So why is it that it LOOKS oilier?

And what can be done about it?

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So, here is a situation that I keep running into all over the board.

There'll be a discussion underway about oily skin and dryness, and some poor unsuspecting innocent person will say something like this:

"When you overwash your oily skin or dry it out with harsh products, it responds by producing more sebum and ends up looking even oilier."

Then, as if by magic, a certain user (the same one every time) pops up to mock that poor innocent person for having such ridiculously outdated beliefs about sebum production.

Well, this may be lots of fun if you like making fun of people and showing off your superior knowledge about sebum, but it is not very helpful.

The fact is, lots of people are obviously observing the same phenomenon. When you have oily skin and it gets dehydrated (dry due to lack of WATER), it LOOKS oilier.

Let us take it for granted that the dehydrated skin is not actually producing any more sebum than usual. So why is it that it LOOKS oilier?

And what can be done about it?

My skin is oily and dry...I've noticed that after I wash my face, it gets very dry and tight. Then I can actually see my pores producing oil. This takes about 5 mins for me too see it. Then I just moisterize it. Then it looks normal again. I guess since my face is dry, my body produces oil but when I moisterize it doesnt have to.

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The fact is, lots of people are obviously observing the same phenomenon. When you have oily skin and it gets dehydrated (dry due to lack of WATER), it LOOKS oilier.

Let us take it for granted that the dehydrated skin is not actually producing any more sebum than usual. So why is it that it LOOKS oilier?

Actually, it's the exact OPPOSITE of that, according to Kligman & Shelley. I posted this once before, but you must not have seen it. Here it is again for you...I know it's long, but it's worth a careful read, because it may well provide a clue as to why so many people continue to have inaccurate ideas about sebum production:

"While comparing lipoid deliveries in atropinized and non-atropinized sites of sweating subjects, we made an observation of clinical significance. Although visible oil droplets formed in the dry atropinized sites, the skin gave no evidence of being greasy or oily. In fact, it seemed quite dry. In the symmetrical sweating site, 'oiliness' was a prominent feature. The clinical impression of oiliness is not an entirely reliable index of surface lipids. It is the presence of sweat which imparts the clinical appearance of oiliness. In fact, a little sweat goes a long way in creating the appearance of oiliness, provided, of course, some oil is present. Skin will look oilier when there is much water and little oil than when there is much oil and little water. How oily a subject will appear at any one time will be importantly influenced by the chance of his having recently sweated or of having been in an environment of high humidity. Oiliness will often appear in a sudden wave-like fashion if on a cool, dry day, a subject with a moderate to high casual lipoid level is suddenly made to sweat. Likewise, emotional sweating will cause a sudden wave-like development of oiliness, if appreciable amounts of oil are present originally. It is easy to understand why oiliness is less prominent in winter time and, conversely, so marked in hot humid climates. The difference is largely due to the quantity of water. Possibly it is the emulsification of sweat with oil that is really responsible for the oily or greasy appearance. Indeed, except for frankly seborrheic patients, the correlation between the clinical impression of oiliness and the actual level of surface lipids (casual level) is far from perfect. Kvorning and Kirk found higher casual levels in patients with excessive and persistent oiliness, but in the normal range the degree of greasiness could not be correlated precisely with the lipoid levels. There was a better correlation in women (possibly because they sweat less?). Our experience confirms Kvorning and Kirk's observations. We graded 12 normal white male subjects in terms of clinical greasiness and immediately determined the casual levels by the ether cup method. The casual levels, in general, were not higher in those whom we estimated to be more greasy. In fact, the two highest levels in this group were in subjects judged to be non-greasy. However, the casual levels were definitely higher in 4 white subjects who characteristically had greasy skins, sufficient to cause cosmetic complaint..."

I guess since my face is dry, my body produces oil but when I moisterize it doesnt have to.

Nope. Doesn't work that way. At least, I don't know of any evidence to support it.

Bryan

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I have noticed that it doesn't matter whether I apply moisturizer or not, my face still looks 'oily'. So, I have decided to ditch the moisturizer.

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I have noticed that it doesn't matter whether I apply moisturizer or not, my face still looks 'oily'. So, I have decided to ditch the moisturizer.

I notice the same thing. I'm oily wheather I apply moisturizer or not. Some moisturizers actually make me look more oily thanks to the good old greasy SPF ingredients. I highly doubt applying moisturizer actually does anything to make your skin less oily (sebaceous glands just don't work like that). Unfortuantley they usually don't do much in the way of repairing the skin's water barrier, but some do contain glycerin, sodium PCA, sodium hyalurnoate, or hydrolyzed glycosaminoglycans, which all help bind water top the outer layers of the stratum corneum. For some reason or another If I don't moisturize, eventually I get really flakey (thanks to my Retin-A) I only moisturize to prevent getting flakey.

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Actually, it's the exact OPPOSITE of that, according to Kligman & Shelley. I posted this once before, but you must not have seen it. Here it is again for you...I know it's long, but it's worth a careful read, because it may well provide a clue as to why so many people continue to have inaccurate ideas about sebum production:

"While comparing lipoid deliveries in atropinized and non-atropinized sites of sweating subjects, we made an observation of clinical significance. Although visible oil droplets formed in the dry atropinized sites, the skin gave no evidence of being greasy or oily. In fact, it seemed quite dry. In the symmetrical sweating site, 'oiliness' was a prominent feature. The clinical impression of oiliness is not an entirely reliable index of surface lipids. It is the presence of sweat which imparts the clinical appearance of oiliness. In fact, a little sweat goes a long way in creating the appearance of oiliness, provided, of course, some oil is present. Skin will look oilier when there is much water and little oil than when there is much oil and little water. How oily a subject will appear at any one time will be importantly influenced by the chance of his having recently sweated or of having been in an environment of high humidity. Oiliness will often appear in a sudden wave-like fashion if on a cool, dry day, a subject with a moderate to high casual lipoid level is suddenly made to sweat. Likewise, emotional sweating will cause a sudden wave-like development of oiliness, if appreciable amounts of oil are present originally. It is easy to understand why oiliness is less prominent in winter time and, conversely, so marked in hot humid climates. The difference is largely due to the quantity of water. Possibly it is the emulsification of sweat with oil that is really responsible for the oily or greasy appearance. Indeed, except for frankly seborrheic patients, the correlation between the clinical impression of oiliness and the actual level of surface lipids (casual level) is far from perfect. Kvorning and Kirk found higher casual levels in patients with excessive and persistent oiliness, but in the normal range the degree of greasiness could not be correlated precisely with the lipoid levels. There was a better correlation in women (possibly because they sweat less?). Our experience confirms Kvorning and Kirk's observations. We graded 12 normal white male subjects in terms of clinical greasiness and immediately determined the casual levels by the ether cup method. The casual levels, in general, were not higher in those whom we estimated to be more greasy. In fact, the two highest levels in this group were in subjects judged to be non-greasy. However, the casual levels were definitely higher in 4 white subjects who characteristically had greasy skins, sufficient to cause cosmetic complaint..."

Bryan

That makes so much sense.....Although I always have a "dewy" sheen to my skin, I don't get severly greasy looking, until I start to sweat a little. In the summer (when the humidity is high) just the feeling of being warm can cause an oil slick on my face that takes two or three blotting papers to remove...

This doesn't happen too much in the winter, unless my face is hanging over my steam bath all day at work....

Bryan...Is this just the perception of oiliness, or are my sebaceous glands actually producing more oil due to higher temperature/humidity? I know Kligman addressed this somewhere....

When the air is cool and dry I can't remove nearly as much oil using my blotting papers (which are similar to sebutape) as I can when the air is warm and humid....So then the oil is always present, but it's the sweat that causes the greasy film?

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The fact is, lots of people are obviously observing the same phenomenon. When you have oily skin and it gets dehydrated (dry due to lack of WATER), it LOOKS oilier.

Let us take it for granted that the dehydrated skin is not actually producing any more sebum than usual. So why is it that it LOOKS oilier?

Actually, it's the exact OPPOSITE of that, according to Kligman & Shelley. I posted this once before, but you must not have seen it. Here it is again for you...I know it's long, but it's worth a careful read, because it may well provide a clue as to why so many people continue to have inaccurate ideas about sebum production:

Thanks, Bryan, I am going to take some time with this and think it over. I will respond later.

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The fact is, lots of people are obviously observing the same phenomenon. When you have oily skin and it gets dehydrated (dry due to lack of WATER), it LOOKS oilier.

Let us take it for granted that the dehydrated skin is not actually producing any more sebum than usual. So why is it that it LOOKS oilier?

Actually, it's the exact OPPOSITE of that, according to Kligman & Shelley.

"While comparing lipoid deliveries in atropinized and non-atropinized sites of sweating subjects, we made an observation of clinical significance."

So ... they were using atropine to inhibit the sweat glands in certain spots on people's skin. This would result in these spots being "dry" (in the sense that there was no water on the _surface_ of the skin), correct? Normal sweat function would continue in the non-atropinized sites, so these would appear "wet" due to the presence of water on the surface.

"Although visible oil droplets formed in the dry atropinized sites, the skin gave no evidence of being greasy or oily. In fact, it seemed quite dry. In the symmetrical sweating site, 'oiliness' was a prominent feature. The clinical impression of oiliness is not an entirely reliable index of surface lipids. It is the presence of sweat which imparts the clinical appearance of oiliness. In fact, a little sweat goes a long way in creating the appearance of oiliness, provided, of course, some oil is present. Skin will look oilier when there is much water and little oil than when there is much oil and little water."

He's concluding that sweat -- water on the _surface_ of the skin -- increases the appearance of oiliness.

"How oily a subject will appear at any one time will be importantly influenced by the chance of his having recently sweated or of having been in an environment of high humidity. Oiliness will often appear in a sudden wave-like fashion if on a cool, dry day, a subject with a moderate to high casual lipoid level is suddenly made to sweat. Likewise, emotional sweating will cause a sudden wave-like development of oiliness, if appreciable amounts of oil are present originally. It is easy to understand why oiliness is less prominent in winter time and, conversely, so marked in hot humid climates. The difference is largely due to the quantity of water."

So if there's less water in the air, there is less water on the _surface_ of the skin, hence a dryer appearance. And in humid climates, there is more water in the air, so more water on your skin surface, so you look oilier.

"Possibly it is the emulsification of sweat with oil that is really responsible for the oily or greasy appearance. Indeed, except for frankly seborrheic patients, the correlation between the clinical impression of oiliness and the actual level of surface lipids (casual level) is far from perfect. Kvorning and Kirk found higher casual levels in patients with excessive and persistent oiliness, but in the normal range the degree of greasiness could not be correlated precisely with the lipoid levels. There was a better correlation in women (possibly because they sweat less?). Our experience confirms Kvorning and Kirk's observations. We graded 12 normal white male subjects in terms of clinical greasiness and immediately determined the casual levels by the ether cup method. The casual levels, in general, were not higher in those whom we estimated to be more greasy. In fact, the two highest levels in this group were in subjects judged to be non-greasy. However, the casual levels were definitely higher in 4 white subjects who characteristically had greasy skins, sufficient to cause cosmetic complaint..."

OK. Sweat makes us look greasy. I am convinced.

The thing is, I wasn't asking about skin that is "dry" because it has no water on the surface and is therefore dry to the touch. I was asking about skin that is dry because it is actually _dehydrated_. Do you see the difference?

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In case anyone actually reads this far (which seems unlikely) ... I'm just pasting in a quote from LabGirl81 that was on a different thread. It's the only answer to my question I've seen offered anywhere yet.

A possible reason someone may feel more oily afer over cleansing could be that as you are washing, you are also removing cells from the top layer of the stratum corneum. The dead surface cells mask the appearance of the sebum. When they are removed the sebum is more visable. I noticed that my skin always seemed oiler after exfoliation. When I started using topical retinoids, I noticed that my skin seemed even oiler. I attributed this to the thinning of my epidermis, not my sebacous glands trying to compensate for the dryness, by producing more sebum. There are less dead skin cells to mask the shine of the sebum

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Actually, I gave a somewhat similar answer to ballaballa some time ago. My theory was that when you stop washing your skin, maybe the surface starts to accumulate skin cells that are in sort of an "in between" stage of exfoliation. That is, they've loosened, but haven't fallen off yet. I would imagine that gives the surface of the skin some extra texture, maybe a bit of a "rough" feel that masks the slick feel of oil and sebum. On the other hand, when you wash and scrub your skin every day, you help exfoliate everything that's going to come off anytime soon, leaving behind a smoother skin with a "slicker" feel to it, which accentuates the sebum on the surface. That's just my own theory, based on how my own forehead felt to me during those periods of excessive washing and no washing at all! :)

The main difference between LabGirl's theory and MY theory is that hers is concerned with the APPEARANCE of the skin, whereas mine is concerned with the FEEL of the skin.

Bryan

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The main difference between LabGirl's theory and MY theory is that hers is concerned with the APPEARANCE of the skin, whereas mine is concerned with the FEEL of the skin.

Bryan

I wouldn't know since I don't really like to touch my face if it's oily (it makes my hands all greasy....yuck).

I think my skin is so oily, even if I don't appear oily, I can still pick up oil by touching my face with my fingers. I can pretty much always completely soak a blotting sheet as long as I wait about 30 minutes after cleansing.....

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I think my skin is so oily, even if I don't appear oily, I can still pick up oil by touching my face with my fingers. I can pretty much always completely soak a blotting sheet as long as I wait about 30 minutes after cleansing.....

Just curious, LabGirl ... what are your thoughts on topical vitamin A for oil reduction? I've been using it for about 6 weeks, and my oil production is WAY down (from having to blot every 30-60 minutes to blotting maybe once or twice a day). But I'm just one person, and I don't take my own results as gospel.

I get it from www.thevitamincure.com and was very skeptical at first, but have been pleasantly amazed by the results. Their claim is that the vitamin A (I think it's retinyl parmitate, can check that) in an oil-based solution is able to penetrate the skin in a way that water-based topical retinoids such as Retin A cannot. Does that sound believable to you?

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In case anyone actually reads this far (which seems unlikely) ... I'm just pasting in a quote from LabGirl81 that was on a different thread. It's the only answer to my question I've seen offered anywhere yet.

Q

A possible reason someone may feel more oily afer over cleansing could be that as you are washing, you are also removing cells from the top layer of the stratum corneum. The dead surface cells mask the appearance of the sebum. When they are removed the sebum is more visable. I noticed that my skin always seemed oiler after exfoliation. When I started using topical retinoids, I noticed that my skin seemed even oiler. I attributed this to the thinning of my epidermis, not my sebacous glands trying to compensate for the dryness, by producing more sebum. There are less dead skin cells to mask the shine of the sebum

I completely agree with this...after I exfoliate my oil pours out much quicker than if I didnt. I'm using Differin right now and my skin is oilier than it has ever been.

I think my skin is so oily, even if I don't appear oily, I can still pick up oil by touching my face with my fingers. I can pretty much always completely soak a blotting sheet as long as I wait about 30 minutes after cleansing.....

Just curious, LabGirl ... what are your thoughts on topical vitamin A for oil reduction? I've been using it for about 6 weeks, and my oil production is WAY down (from having to blot every 30-60 minutes to blotting maybe once or twice a day). But I'm just one person, and I don't take my own results as gospel.

I get it from www.thevitamincure.com and was very skeptical at first, but have been pleasantly amazed by the results. Their claim is that the vitamin A (I think it's retinyl parmitate, can check that) in an oil-based solution is able to penetrate the skin in a way that water-based topical retinoids such as Retin A cannot. Does that sound believable to you?

Q

Queen of the hills~ do you think I could use the Vitamin A topical while I'm using Differin? It says to apply at night but thats when I use the differin...I wonder if it would be a bad idea to incorporate this into my regimen? I might just send them an email and ask the same questions but I'd like to hear your thoughts...Thanks!!

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I think my skin is so oily, even if I don't appear oily, I can still pick up oil by touching my face with my fingers. I can pretty much always completely soak a blotting sheet as long as I wait about 30 minutes after cleansing.....

Just curious, LabGirl ... what are your thoughts on topical vitamin A for oil reduction? I've been using it for about 6 weeks, and my oil production is WAY down (from having to blot every 30-60 minutes to blotting maybe once or twice a day). But I'm just one person, and I don't take my own results as gospel.

I get it from www.thevitamincure.com and was very skeptical at first, but have been pleasantly amazed by the results. Their claim is that the vitamin A (I think it's retinyl parmitate, can check that) in an oil-based solution is able to penetrate the skin in a way that water-based topical retinoids such as Retin A cannot. Does that sound believable to you?

Q

As far as I know the only form of Vitamin-A that can reduce sebum production is isotretinoin. I know when we use retinyl palmitate in the lab we have to wear gloves and not let it come into direct contact with our skin because it is mutagenic and can be tetragenic. It is oil soulble and can easily penetrate the skin. Once it does it's converted by an enzyme to trans-retinoic acid or tretinoin (yes tretinoin is a natural metabolic by product of Vitamin A). The conversion is not very effective because the skin does not contain high levels of the enzyme so it's never as effective as topically applied tretinoin. Trans-retinoic acid (tretinoin) has not been proven to reduce sebum production. Although it's much more active isomer cis-retinoic acid (isotretinoin) does reduce sebum production.

Both tretinoin (Retin-A) only has very, very slight solubility in water (it's an isoprenoid fatty acid). It's actually cosidered to be oil soluble along with the other Vitamin-A derivatives, and can also easily penetrate the skin without much difficulty....

I wouldn't take what a vitamin company says as gospel. They just want to sell vitamins. What they are claiming is just that....a claim....(I'm not trying to the play the devils advocate here....I'm just looking out for consumers)

I completely agree with this...after I exfoliate my oil pours out much quicker than if I didnt. I'm using Differin right now and my skin is oilier than it has ever been.

That happened to me too....

That's actually a good thing....It's a sign that the your pores are starting to clear out. It's better that the oil is coming out of the pores, rather than being trapped inside with the bacteria....

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That's actually a good thing....It's a sign that the your pores are starting to clear out. It's better that the oil is coming out of the pores, rather than being trapped inside with the bacteria....

I never thought of it this way, but now that you have stated it, it makes so much sense.

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Queen of the hills~ do you think I could use the Vitamin A topical while I'm using Differin? It says to apply at night but thats when I use the differin...I wonder if it would be a bad idea to incorporate this into my regimen? I might just send them an email and ask the same questions but I'd like to hear your thoughts...Thanks!!

Well, first of all, you should read what LabGirl just had to say about this stuff, and consider yourself warned.

My personal experience with the topical A has been quite positive. I'm using it in combination with another topical retinoid, Green Cream, which is an OTC retinol cream, and my results are really great. However, I should say that I am a total human guinea pig and product whore. I have a tendency to throw a bunch of stuff at myself at once and pray. Not a very scientific method. I do know that some people have had horrible breakouts with the topical A ... if you want to hear a wide range of stories, there are a couple of threads on this topic, one very long. If you search under "topical A" or "topical Vitamin A" or "thevitamincure.com" you should be able to find them.

If you DO decide to use it, I don't see why you couldn't at least try using it with the differin. It isn't particularly irritating. I would suggest starting with a very small amount, though, and doing a patch test first to make sure you aren't allergic or sensitive to any of the ingredients.

As far as I know the only form of Vitamin-A that can reduce sebum production is isotretinoin. I know when we use retinyl palmitate in the lab we have to wear gloves and not let it come into direct contact with our skin because it is mutagenic and can be tetragenic. It is oil soulble and can easily penetrate the skin. Once it does it's converted by an enzyme to trans-retinoic acid or tretinoin (yes tretinoin is a natural metabolic by product of Vitamin A). The conversion is not very effective because the skin does not contain high levels of the enzyme so it's never as effective as topically applied tretinoin. Trans-retinoic acid (tretinoin) has not been proven to reduce sebum production. Although it's much more active isomer cis-retinoic acid (isotretinoin) does reduce sebum production.

Both tretinoin (Retin-A) only has very, very slight solubility in water (it's an isoprenoid fatty acid). It's actually cosidered to be oil soluble along with the other Vitamin-A derivatives, and can also easily penetrate the skin without much difficulty....

I wouldn't take what a vitamin company says as gospel. They just want to sell vitamins. What they are claiming is just that....a claim....(I'm not trying to the play the devils advocate here....I'm just looking out for consumers)

Thanks very much. I will be much more careful in what I say about this product.

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Thanks for the reply,

I sent an e-mail to the company and heres what he said:

Adapalene (6-[3-(1-adamantyl)-4-methoxyphenyl]-2-naphthoic acid)

Tough question, as Galderma claims Adapalene to be a retinoid, meaning it is supposed to be chemically similar to Vitamin A. However it does not appear to be a retinoid at all, and even though they claim it helps with keratinization, the molecule's water solubility could offer no relief for stopping oil.

Actually I don't think Adapalene does anything for acne, but you might try to use both topicals together in an small, unseen area on your body before putting on your face.

Dr. S.

I dont know what I'll do, I have to think about it

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Thanks for the reply,

I sent an e-mail to the company and heres what he said:

Adapalene (6-[3-(1-adamantyl)-4-methoxyphenyl]-2-naphthoic acid)

Tough question, as Galderma claims Adapalene to be a retinoid, meaning it is supposed to be chemically similar to Vitamin A. However it does not appear to be a retinoid at all, and even though they claim it helps with keratinization, the molecule's water solubility could offer no relief for stopping oil.

Actually I don't think Adapalene does anything for acne, but you might try to use both topicals together in an small, unseen area on your body before putting on your face.

Dr. S.

I dont know what I'll do, I have to think about it

Galderma never claimed that aldapalene reduced sebum production. As far as it being a retinoid....structurally it's a naphthoic acid derivative, and not a true retinoid (tretonin and it's isomer isotretonin are isoprenoid fatty acids) but it's activity is retinoid-like. Although retin-a, retin-a micro, and renova, which contain the true retinoid tretonin, they don't help with stopping sebum production either (the only one that has this effect is isotretonin, and only when taken internally). Like the true retinoids, adapalene is a modulator of cellular differentiation and keratinization....and yes it does have an effect on acne.

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As far as I know the only form of Vitamin-A that can reduce sebum production is isotretinoin. I know when we use retinyl palmitate in the lab we have to wear gloves and not let it come into direct contact with our skin because it is mutagenic and can be tetragenic. It is oil soulble and can easily penetrate the skin. Once it does it's converted by an enzyme to trans-retinoic acid or tretinoin (yes tretinoin is a natural metabolic by product of Vitamin A). The conversion is not very effective because the skin does not contain high levels of the enzyme so it's never as effective as topically applied tretinoin. Trans-retinoic acid (tretinoin) has not been proven to reduce sebum production. Although it's much more active isomer cis-retinoic acid (isotretinoin) does reduce sebum production.

Both tretinoin (Retin-A) only has very, very slight solubility in water (it's an isoprenoid fatty acid). It's actually cosidered to be oil soluble along with the other Vitamin-A derivatives, and can also easily penetrate the skin without much difficulty....

If anyone's interested ... I e-mailed the above info from LabGirl to [email protected] and asked for their response. It was pretty unsatisfying to anyone with half a brain. Here it is.

All forms of Vitamin A, including tretinoin, are potentially mutagenic and tetragenic in high doses. But the amount of Vitamin A that can cross the skin/barrier is certainly much less than that entering the bloodstream due to deliberate ingestion, and no case of abnormally high bloodstream levels, normal with Accutane, has been reported from use of our product.

The gist of our patent is the oil-based vehicle. Retin-A may be slightly soluble in sebum; however, the vehicle it employs is not, and thus negating its effectiveness. Plus we have experiment with retinoic acid, and found it less effective at reducing sebum topically than retinyl palmitate, so we find no reason to make use of it.

Finally, the proof is in the pudding. Does it work? We see it does. And if you are concerned about health issues, please get a bloodtest. Which is probably a good idea to do once a year no matter how good you may feel.

If I weren't already using this product, I don't think I'd start! But I have to say -- there is a HUGE difference in my face since I started with it; I simply don't know what else to attribute my results to; and I certainly do not miss having my own personal oil slick.

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As far as I know the only form of Vitamin-A that can reduce sebum production is isotretinoin. I know when we use retinyl palmitate in the lab we have to wear gloves and not let it come into direct contact with our skin because it is mutagenic and can be tetragenic. It is oil soulble and can easily penetrate the skin. Once it does it's converted by an enzyme to trans-retinoic acid or tretinoin (yes tretinoin is a natural metabolic by product of Vitamin A). The conversion is not very effective because the skin does not contain high levels of the enzyme so it's never as effective as topically applied tretinoin. Trans-retinoic acid (tretinoin) has not been proven to reduce sebum production. Although it's much more active isomer cis-retinoic acid (isotretinoin) does reduce sebum production.

Both tretinoin (Retin-A) only has very, very slight solubility in water (it's an isoprenoid fatty acid). It's actually cosidered to be oil soluble along with the other Vitamin-A derivatives, and can also easily penetrate the skin without much difficulty....

If anyone's interested ... I e-mailed the above info from LabGirl to [email protected] and asked for their response. It was pretty unsatisfying to anyone with half a brain. Here it is.

All forms of Vitamin A, including tretinoin, are potentially mutagenic and tetragenic in high doses. But the amount of Vitamin A that can cross the skin/barrier is certainly much less than that entering the bloodstream due to deliberate ingestion, and no case of abnormally high bloodstream levels, normal with Accutane, has been reported from use of our product.

The gist of our patent is the oil-based vehicle. Retin-A may be slightly soluble in sebum; however, the vehicle it employs is not, and thus negating its effectiveness. Plus we have experiment with retinoic acid, and found it less effective at reducing sebum topically than retinyl palmitate, so we find no reason to make use of it.

Finally, the proof is in the pudding. Does it work? We see it does. And if you are concerned about health issues, please get a bloodtest. Which is probably a good idea to do once a year no matter how good you may feel.

If I weren't already using this product, I don't think I'd start! But I have to say -- there is a HUGE difference in my face since I started with it; I simply don't know what else to attribute my results to; and I certainly do not miss having my own personal oil slick.

Q

The part about it being mutagenic and tetragenic (whichis only a problem if you are pregnant) in high doses is true. I have always been under the impression that while working with retinyl palmitate (I never have actually worked with retinoic acid....so I'm not sure of the correct lab safety procedure for handeling it) was that you never touch it with bare skin at 100% concentration, because it can easily pass through the skin, and repeated exposure can cause it to accumulate (it's fat soluble, so it stays in your system for at least a month or so). I work with it every day, so that's why this is a problem for me....It may not be for the general consumer. I don't know what concentration they use it at in their formula, so I'm not saying it will have mutagenic effects (although I wouldn't use it, or any retinoid if I was pregnant).

The conversion of retinyl palmitate to retinioic acid in the skin is not that effective, especially if the retinyl palmitate is at a low concentration in the formula (not that much of the enzyme responsible for the conversion is actually present and active in the skin). It does happen to a certain extent, but it's miniscule. Most of the conversion happens when it is metabolized after it enters the bloodstream. The conversion of retinol or retinol palmitate to 13-cis-retinoic acid (isotretonin) also happens to a certain extent in the body, but it too is miniscule. Although this may account for the accutane like effects of consuming large (and dangerous) amounts of vitamin-a (usually in the form of retinyl palmitate). Retinyl palmitate and retinol are not actually retinoids, meaning they do not actually activate retinoid receptors in the body...they must first be converted into retinoic acid before they can have any effect whatsoever on skin cell proliferation....this is why retin-a is more effective than OTC products that contain retinol or retinyl palmitate....

Oh and it doesn't matter if retin-a or retinyl palmitate are soluble in sebum. Sebum does not make up the lipid barrier of the skin. If you remember some of my earlier posts on this, it's the epidermal lipids (which are very different from sebum) that make up this barrier.

I'd actually like to see the study they conducted.....If what they claim is true (I'm not completely discounting it....I just fint it a little hard to believe), than retinyl palmitate actually reduces the activity of sebaceous glands. If they say flat out that this product "reduces sebum production" (and not "helps reduce sebum production" than they are claiming that that this product actually intends to change the structure and function of the human body....and by Section(g)(1)(c ) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act this product is a considered a drug and they need to apply for a NDA (New Drug Application) [section 505(a) of the Act]......or they will get slapped with a hude fine by the good old FDA...

If it works for you.....great....keep using it.....I doubt the product wil actually harm you.....

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