Retin-A and Retinol are now household names and many of us have purchased beauty products with Retin-A or Retinol listed as an effective ingredient. However, let’s question how we make ethical purchases, especially when it comes to beauty products and animal testing.
If we don’t believe in testing beauty products on animals, as many of us do, how can we support beauty products that have been tested on incarcerated human beings without consent?
Recently the city of Philadelphia issued a formal apology to Black inmates for years of unethical, immoral medical experimentation. What were the experiments? Prison inmates, mostly illiterate Black men awaiting trial and saving money for bail, were used to test beauty products, specifically Retin-A. The now former inmates have lifelong scars and debilitating health issues from the experiments. When they filed a lawsuit, it was thrown out due to the statute of limitations.
Retin-A is a form of vitamin A that helps the skin renew itself and is used to treat acne and facial wrinkles. Similarly, Retinol is a type of retinoid, or a group of compounds derived from vitamin A.
Retin-A, the brand name for tretinoin, is a prescription-only retinoid used to treat acne, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. It is stronger and works faster than retinol. Retinol products are also effective at helping the skin feel softer, as well as look brighter and smoother. Source
Retinol affects the growth of cells. On WebMD, medical professionals warn against getting this product in your eyes or over-applying it due to risks of redness, peeling, and pain.
The city allowed University of Pennsylvania researcher Dr. Albert Kligman to conduct the dermatological, biochemical and pharmaceutical experiments that intentionally exposed about 300 inmates to viruses, fungus, asbestos and chemical agents including dioxin — a component of Agent Orange. Source
Kligman, who would go on to pioneer the acne and wrinkle treatment Retin-A, died in 2010.
Think twice before you use your beauty products! The cost of beauty is real. The dark history of Retin-A is now exposed:
“Without excuse, we formally and officially extend a sincere apology to those who were subjected to this inhumane and horrific abuse. We are also sorry it took far too long to hear these words,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney