Wrinkles or Cancer, is that the choice?
"Moisturisers used by millions every day may be increasing the risk of common skin cancers, scientists have warned.
Most such creams have never been tested for their cancer-causing effect on the skin. Now scientists have found that they increase the carcinogenic effect of sunlight in mice.
The skin cancers involved are common in humans. Although mostly non-fatal and easily removed, deaths do occur, especially from squamous cell cancers. These are distinct from melanoma, the less common form of skin cancer, which causes over 1,000 deaths a year in the UK but was not the subject of the research.
Experiments on mice had shown that when caffeine was given orally or applied direct to the skin, it appeared to inhibit cancer. Scientists at Rutgers University, New Jersey, planned to test caffeine as a cancer preventive in humans by adding it to a common moisturiser, Dermabase. Before starting the study they decided to test Dermabase's carcinogenic activity.
To their surprise, they found that it increased the production of tumours in mice that had previously been exposed to ultraviolet light. They then tested three other common moisturisers, all of which increased the production of tumours by an average of 69 per cent.
The significance of the findings for humans has still to be established, the team reports in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology."
When I was over running in Balmoral I attended an interesting lecture with a lady who really made me sit up an take notice and be aware of some of the products we might use on a daily basis. I was surprised to find that Flora or indeed any kind of 'spread' was so much more bad for you than just plain old butter. I learned the ingredients of soaps and shampoos and deodorants, which to try and avoid, which were safe to use. But it's hard to be pure in our habits, hard to avoid heavily advertised products. Scientific studies such as this one serve to remind us that what we choose to use might have consequences. Certainly studies like this make my shoulders slump.
So moisturisers bad, coffee good? Will another report come out in a few weeks time suggesting coffee is bad again? That not using moisturisers containing SPF is bad for you?
Sigh. Doesn't everything seem to be so muddled today?