Monday, August 25, 2008

Moisturizers and Skin Cancer

I heard that some moisturizers are causing skin cancer. Is this true?

A report was released recently naming four moisturizers that promoted skin cancers in mice. The moisturizers tested in the study were Dermabase (Patrick Labs, Minneapolis, Minn), Dermovan (Galderma Labs, Fort Worth, Texas - a wholesale-only product discontinued in 2006), Eucerin Original Moisturizing Cream (Beiersdorf, Hamburg, Germany), and Vanicream (Pharmaceutical Specialties, Rochester, Minn).

It is important to note the mice used in the tests had radiation damaged skin, which may account for the moisturizers' unusual tumor-promoting effect. Lead researcher of Rutgers University, Allan H. Connelly said, " In a 'mouse model' of sun-related skin cancer, frequent application of each product resulted in more skin tumors and faster tumor growth. This was unexpected. We really did not expect to see the tumor-promoting activity of these creams."

"The multimillion-dollar question is, ‘what about humans?’" Conney asked. "The answer is, we don't know. Our study raises a red flag and points out the need for epidemiologists to take a look at people who use moisturizing creams." The Conney team asked Johnson & Johnson to make them a "custom blend" moisturizer without two ingredients previously linked to skin irritation (sodium lauryl sulfate) and tumor promotion (mineral oil). The custom blend, on which Rutgers University and Johnson & Johnson hold a patent, did not promote skin cancer.