Vitamin K and Retinol

When I combine Retinol 50C (which is retinol and Polysorbate 20 and some BHA and BHT) with Vitamin K, my product turns red in color.  I am using high levels of each ingredient.  I decided to perform a test by adding each ingredient together and sure enough it forms a red color instantly.  To eliminate any issue with ethoxylates, I tested Vitamin K with Polysorbate 20 and no color problem.  Can anyone tell me what is happening?  When I do test the two ingredients together, the red color is formed but no precipitation forms at least not at room temperature after a week.  Any insight into this reaction would be helpful.


  • BelassiBelassi Member, PCF student
    Since vitamin A is a yellow or orange substance, and the two vitamins are both fat-soluble, my best guess is that a reduction reaction takes place and free Vitamin A is produced.
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  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
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  • BobzchemistBobzchemist Member, PCF student
    "I am using high levels of each ingredient." I would not recommend this concept, and most especially not without extensive safety testing, including RIPT.
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  • I have noticed same color change color turns dark yellow.. with Vitamin K not A. Anyone can help?
  • I think Vitamin K is photosensitive because it involves directly in plant photosynthesis.  If you are making the formulation sample in a glass beaker or glass jar, did you wrap the beaker / jar with foil sheet to protect the sample from light?
  • The color change is instantaneous so light exposure is not a factor.  Interested in knowing more about the reduction reaction.  When you say 'free' Vitamin A is formed from the reaction with Vitamin K then what forms - the ester of Vitamin A?  Also what happens to the Vitamin K - is it oxidized?
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