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Moisturizers are linked to skin cancer in mice

August 14, 2008 |  4:00 pm

A new study has found a link between several popular moisturizers and non-melanoma skin cancer in mice. But it's too early to tell if this is another needless public health scare or if, indeed, the substances in at least some creams can do more harm than good.

Scientists from Rutgers University applied four skin creams to hairless mice that were at high risk for developing skin cancer anyway. Tumor formation increased 69% in the mice that had been moisturized once a day, five days a week for 17 weeks. The creams used in the study included Dermabase, Dermovan, Eucerin and Vanicream.

The authors of the study, which was published online today in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, say they can't conclude that moisturizers cause skin cancers in humans. But, according to a story by the Associated Press, lead author Allan Conney said the study raises important questions.

"I think it raises a red flag indicating that there's a need to determine whether or not these products could cause this problem in people."

The AP story on the study also quoted several leading dermatologists who cast doubt on the association.

"The components in moisturizers are tested. There's no evidence for this being a problem in humans, " said Dr. Steven Feldman, professor of dermatology at Wake Forest University.

Moisturizers are not sunscreens, and studies have shown that using sunscreen helps prevent skin cancer. At least we can be sure of that.

-- Shari Roan

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Comments (18)

Skin cancer is serious stuff! Somebody should grab www.moisturizercancer.com and turn it into a one-stop consumer assistance site. Answer all these questions: What products are safe and which should be avoided? Which ingredients are dangerous? In what concentrations? What alternative products are there (that are safe but accomplish the same thing)? Who can I complain to? How can I get a refund for a moisturizer I've bought? What should I tell or ask my doctor? What signs of problems should I be on the alert for? Is there a legitimately issued safety seal I can look for, to assure the product is healthful? There's a crying need for quality consumer education on this!

These are just the kinds of responses the general public should NOT have to a study like this. First of all since these mice were predisposed to skin cancer there is no way to determine if the enhanced effect with a lotion was causing cancer. It could be as simple as the lotion allowed all the skin cells to survive better and therefore let the more cancerous cells survive too. Unless you have a tail, no hair and squeak this study should not concern you.

These are just the kinds of responses the general public should NOT have to a study like this. First of all since these mice were predisposed to skin cancer there is no way to determine if the enhanced effect with a lotion was causing cancer. It could be as simple as the lotion allowed all the skin cells to survive better and therefore let the more cancerous cells survive too. Unless you have a tail, no hair and squeak this study should not concern you.

Mr Bill Edwards, If you're so concerned about the public, why don't you set it up? It sounds like a good idea.
Or, is it just another site you want someone to set up so people can sue moisturizer companies? Another step forward in removing personal responsibility and accountability?
We've been plugging our bodies with things we have no idea what the long term effects are for decades. Are you really, truly, honestly surprised when it comes out that Deet causes cancer? Or that dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) causes cancer? We were giving it to our soldiers in WWII to bathe in to keep away the bugs. Surprise surprise, a hefty neurotoxin causes cancer.
Teflon, thalidomide, the list goes on and on. We don't test these things. We just call them a miracle break through, people are stupid enough to believe it, and then when something bad happens to them, they just want to sue. Just like the hot coffee lady.
My point? If you think it's a good idea, go do it. If it's just another site to help the ambulance chasers make a few extra bucks (which I'm sure you've complained about in the past), why? What legitimate purpose does it serve.
The mice were prone to cancer before the test started. They did it to FOUR mice. And you want to push the panic button?
Go take some ketamine.

Dustin

Let's not jump to conclusions. We don't even have a mechanism of action yet. For all we know this could be unique to rodent skin pathology. Most species of rodent sweat only out the tail. A rodents skin heals from the outside in as well. This makes for a rather poor primate substitute.

Evenone take a deep breath and atleast wait for some monkeys to get cancer before you freak out (the smoking monkey at the zoo doesn't count, I don't care how much moisterizer bobo uses while "reading" national geographic).

check out Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep website:

http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/splash.php?URI=%2Findex.php

you can search their database for specific brands (listed alphabetically), or sort the list by safety rating within each product type. they provide nformation on specific ingredients for each product.

check out Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep website:

http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/splash.php?URI=%2Findex.php

you can search their database for specific brands (listed alphabetically), or sort the list by safety rating within each product type. they provide nformation on specific ingredients for each product.

"Moisturizers are not sunscreens, and studies have shown that using sunscreen helps prevent skin cancer. At least we can be sure of that."

Hilarious.

We can't be SURE of anything that is presented to us as truth these days. Science is constantly contradicting itself. There is now evidence coming out that the whole cholesterol hype is just that, hype. We are all guinea pigs. Do your own research on everything. Vitamins, VACCINATIONS, medications, incurable disease, etc. Question authority. Doctors and scientists are just men and women like us, not gods.

http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=sunscreens+dangerous%3F&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

Interesting study, but I think I'll stick with my traditional cheese baited mouse trap.

This is all hot air. Those UV-bathed mice were destined to get cancer whether or not these moisturizers were slathered on their skin. I want to see the comparison in tumor count between the variable group and the control group. Seems to me that Johnson & Johnson has a hand in this, and may be fear mongering everyone into buying their newly patented "safe" moisturizer. Also, it is interesting to note how some of J&J's largest competitors --Dermabase, Dermavan, Eucerin, Vanicream -- are involved in the study.

It seems like this is another "fear" study. Moisturizing skin is the MOST important thing you can do to maintain skin health. The study doesn't prove which ingredient(s) are carcinogens, and also doesn't even prove that these products cause cancer. The mice were already irradiated and were expected to develop cancer in the first place. How is this useful info for Joe. Q. Public?

These studies are less and less valuable to the general public as they often are touted for having these shocking results, which are summarily contradicted by other studies shortly thereafter.

quote "But it's too early to tell if this is another needless public health scare..."...
So what happens? Its posted to the public and written as such that it may POTENTIALLY create another needless health scare, and simultaneously undermine consumer confidence-sensationalism at its best (worst?). The tests involved mice which where prone to developing cancer, and now this suddenly implicates a potential health hazard for us? Give me a break, please.
---------------------------
quote from original AP article "Even among the group of control mice who were not treated with skin moisturizers, 80 percent to 90 percent of the mice developed tumors."


Check out http://www.cosmeticdatabase.com. It's a cosmetic safety database produced by the Environmental Working Group. You can search by product or ingredient.

These experiments were performed on "mice that were at high risk for developing skin cancer anyway". Why didn't they use healthy mice? The article also doesn't say what the 69% increase was in reference to, or even if there was a control group to compare to. How did they isolate the effect of the moisturizers in this high risk group?
This article and the limited data provided in no way show that these moisturizers are a danger. The article admits as much in the second sentence, contradicting the headline.

Talk about worthless, sensationalist news.

Cancer is a derangement of cell death as much as it is a derangement of cell proliferation. If these moisturizers permit cells which "should" die to live, they are causing cancer as surely as if they caused cells to proliferate which "shouldn't".

Man-made moisturizer may cause skin cancer? Hilarious.

Stupid "studies"? The stupidity --of Western medical "doctors" --bottomless font of amusement, matched only by their arrogance.

They said Nothing --or 'nothing wrong with aerosol sprays' that, oops, burned giant hole in the ozone --which, oh gosh, then needed to "protect" skin from cancer --'requires' "sun screen" --which, oops, is petroleum-based --which, oh gosh, causes skin cancer --so everyone should Listen to doctors --"moisturize" with MORE Man-made screw-ups. --Which all just happen to make gobs of money--over $1 MILLION bucks a DAY off fearful ignorant women--for those makers...and so it goes.

Western "doctors": trained to diagnose --to prescribe Man-made toxins to treat SYMPTOMS of disease --NOT to actually CURE --in medical schools ALL funded by drug-makers...hmm...what's wrong with this picture.

--Maybe: ingredients no one can even pronounce, cooked up in chemistry labs --crap crammed into containers, not a good thing?

Duh, maybe humans should like: stick to Nature??? It's like, ya know, maybe why all those plants and stuff are like on the planet???

So...what could MOISTURIZE --without petroleum-laden toxins --without engorging corporations' bottom line --without inducing cancer --or fear...Hmm....

Nature does not make mistakes: for EVERY dis-ease of the human body Nature created the Cure, in many forms, in many places.

The politics, policies, politicians--and the money--of disease... How to Get Cancer... cancer-politics-remedies.blogspot.com

If you think whole medical system in the West ISN'T screwed up, now: ask your doctor what was in the PDR up until late 1940s. Hint: every floor of every US hospital had a PDR --with SPICE, HERB Remedy for disease.

Anything manmade will in the end be proved to be harmful to our health in one way or another. God has given us everything we need; we need only find it. Mixing chemicals and putting them on our body, putting anything in food that wasn't there when you picked it from the field is never going to be good for us. However, it will take mankind millions of years to figure this out.

Nice blog,i agree and i think it raises a red flag indicating that there's a need to determine whether or not these products could cause this problem in people. Keep up the good work.

by: sphin



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