Father of topical antioxidants dies

Father of topical antioxidants dies

Dr. Sheldon Pinnell, leading scientist behind SkinCeuticals and chief emeritus of the Division of Dermatology at Duke University, dies at 76.

Dr. Sheldon Pinnell, an internationally eminent scientist, dermatologist, leading scientist behind L'Oreal-owned SkinCeuticals, and J. Lamar Callaway Professor Emeritus of Dermatology and Chief Emeritus of the Division of Dermatology at Duke University, passed away peacefully in Durham, North Carolina on Thursday, July 4, 2013, just as the fireworks began to sparkle in celebration of Independence Day. He was 76.

Dr. Pinnell's investigative research has changed the way the world uses topical antioxidants today. As the founding father of topical antioxidants, he was the first to patent a stable form of vitamin C proven through peer-reviewed research to effectively penetrate skin, delivering eight times the skin's natural antioxidant protection.

Before helping to shape the cosmeceutical industry, Dr. Sheldon Pinnell led major advances in the understanding of skin biology and the pathogenesis of skin diseases. Early in his career, he made seminal contributions to the understanding of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and the role of vitamin C in collagen biosynthesis. Dr. Pinnell has been globally recognized for his contributions to science and skin care, most recently receiving an honorary membership to the Society for Investigative Dermatology. 

Over his lifetime, he also received numerous medical and scientific awards including The Best Doctors in America, The International Who's Who in Medicine, Who's Who in Science and Engineering, and Who's Who in America. Dr. Pinnell has published more than 200 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals on dermatology topics such as photoaging, collagen synthesis, UV protection, topical vitamin C, and other antioxidants. Dr. Pinnell also authored approximately 20 book chapters and holds ten patents.

"It is our greatest privilege to have been able to help Dr. Pinnell bring his discovery of topical antioxidants to life. Prior to the introduction of topical vitamin C in the early 1990s, skin care professionals were largely limited to sunscreens to protect against the deleterious effects of the sun. It was Dr. Pinnell who gave the medical community the confidence to transform the approach to at-home skin care. We are fortunate to have known Dr. Pinnell as a scientist, a family man, and a dear friend. His life lessons and infectious spirit will remain with us forever," said SkinCeuticals cofounders Alden Pinnell and Russell Moon.

Dr. Pinnell was accomplished in so many ways, but most particularly he would like to be remembered as a loving husband, father, grandfather, and ardent Duke Blue Devil fan. Dr. Pinnell is survived by his wife, Dr. Doren Madey Pinnell; three sons, Kevin, Alden, and Tyson; and five grandchildren.

A small, private ceremony was held on Monday, July 8, in Duke University gardens. Later this year, a celebration of his life will be held at the Duke University Chapel, in conjunction with the dedication of the Pinnell Center for Investigative Dermatology.

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