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RetiLife: Givaudan’s 100% Natural-Origin Retinol

Published February 28, 2023
Published February 28, 2023

Like countless aspects of beauty, retinol has acquired a fluctuation of attention in recent years. Despite being a core ingredient in the skincare sector for as long as most can remember, it has witnessed a new surge in popularity on TikTok. Commonly derived from animal sources including fish and bear liver, retinol is a form of vitamin A that works to unclog pores, increase collagen production, and reduce wrinkles. The ingredient has often caused controversy over time, with some praising its antiaging benefits while others have been more concerned about its potential risks to health and animals. This is due to the production of synthetic elements such as BHT/BHA and polysorbate when sourcing the ingredient, which have been known to be toxic to the skin and contribute to cancer in severe cases due to increased photosensitivity.

As a result, many have worked towards finding non-animal-derived alternatives to the ingredient, such as bakuchiol sourced from leaves and seeds of the psoralea corylifolia plant. In what is said to be a breakthrough for the industry, Givaudan has introduced RetiLife, "a new active ingredient that claims to be the first 100% naturally sourced retinol, and, as such, a sustainable solution to chemically synthesized retinol."

RetiLife is created through a fermentation process in which pure retinol is produced in a natural carrier from plant sugars combined with natural antioxidants. The product comes from 100% natural origin, using sunflower oil as a carrier. According to Givaudan, RetiLife's molecule is identical to its chemical counterpart, creating the same benefits, and making it the first sustainable alternative to synthetic retinol.

"Throughout the years, Active Beauty has broken cosmetic boundaries by launching active ingredients that outperform competitors. With the launch of RetiLife, a unique hero cosmetic biotech innovation, we focus on creating consumer-preferred products that leverage our capabilities in line with our purpose," says Maurizio Volpi, President of Givaudan Fragrance & Beauty.

RetiLife is the latest edition to Givaudan's Active Beauty portfolio, which also contains ingredients such as Siliphos, a component extracted  from milk thistle fruits by green fractionation and powered by phytosome technology, an advanced form of chemical extraction that allows for the possession of the best parts of an element. Before the creation of RetiLife, Siliphos was considered  "the best natural alternative to retinoids," with its benefits only comparable to those of synthetic retinol―which RetiLife is said to mirror almost entirely.

"Retinol is widely used in skincare applications for its well-known, efficient, anti-wrinkle properties. After years of research and development, we are thrilled to offer the most innovative and sustainable retinol on the cosmetic market and therefore open the door to new cosmetic applications. RetiLife is a game changer in the beauty industry that responds to consumer demand for cleaner beauty products," comments Romain Reynaud, R&D Director of Givaudan Active Beauty.

According to Spate, retinol receives an average of 938.9K searches per month (a 3% year-over-year increase) and is often searched for on Google alongside the word “natural.” Natural retinol has seen a 13.3% increase in searches year over year, solidifying the consumer desire for a “cleaner” version of the usually synthetic ingredient. A Givaudan global CMI study also found that 77% of consumers would be very interested in a natural version of retinol that would help lessen side effects such as redness, dryness, and irritation caused by standard chemical retinol. The creation of RetiLife is a clear solution to consumer demands for effective alternatives to retinol.

As businesses such as Givaudan continue to work to find these cautious counter offerings, a positive message emerges, reassuring consumers and the industry as a whole that with the right attitude and research, safe and effective ingredients can be sourced. Ultimately, RetiLife provides proof that the benefits of synthetic retinol can be harnessed without users having to fear the potential risks and side effects.


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