Moisturizers May Cause Skin Cancer

Armen Hareyan's picture
Moisturizer Risk for Skin Cancer
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The most commonly used moisturizers are found to increase skin cancer risk in mice, trials show.

Researchers from Rutgers University in Piscataway examined mice, which were exposed to ultraviolet rays to create a situation as if the mice are exposed to sun rays. Once UV treatment was completed, four most commonly used moisturizers - Dermabase, Dermavan, Eucerin, Vanicream - were separately applied to mice skin during a 17 week period of time.

When the skin moisturizer treatment was completely done, researchers found that the moisturized mice were more likely to develop skin tumor, and their tumors were much larger than those in non-moisturized mice.

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Researchers suspected several moisturizer ingredients in leading to tumor growth and tested them one by one. However, none of these ingredients were found to increase skin cancer risk. Now they suggest the moisturizer producing companies to conduct trials of their own and to modify their products so that they don't harm the human skin when the creams are applied for skin care purposes.

Allan H. Conney is the lead researcher of this study from the Rutgers University's Susan Lehman Cullman Laboratory for Cancer Research. In an story, prepared by HealthDay and published in Businessweek Conney thinks that companies can modify their products to remove this effect. "I am sure there are creams on the market that do not have tumorigenic activities and some of them may have anti-tumorigenic activity," he said.

According to American Cancer Society statistics, melanoma - the most common form of skin cancer - affects about 59940 people each year and kills about 8400. During the last years skin cancer cases were increasing, which is probably because of wide use of moisturizers.

However, this study is not that large to confirm the risk, also it is conducted on mice only and a human version of the trial is needed. Some health professionals suggest that it is UV to blame in tumor growth, not the moisturizers, and it would be better to protect skin from damaging sun rays, rather than to stop using moisturizers, which are the key elements of personal hygiene.

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