Moisturizer and Skin Cancer

HealthGal Health Guide
  • We are told by dermatologists and experts, that avoiding the sun and keeping skin well-hydrated are two keys to fighting anti-aging.  And here's a tip - when you do moisturize, it is best to apply the cream, lotion or oil to slightly moist skin.  Unfortunately, new research shows that the very moisturizers we are applying daily just might be putting us at a heightened risk for skin cancer.  A study in Investigative Dermatology reveals that when hairless mice were exposed to UV radiation (which mimics the sun's rays) after having moisturizers applied - tumor growth increased by as much as 69%.  The study was actually testing caffeine being added to moisturizers, to see if it prevented skin cancers.  In order to perform the test, researchers first had to independently test the creams they were adding the caffeine to.  Well, to their surprise the "virgin creams" (without the caffeine) cause this increase of non-melanoma (not life threatening) skin cancers in the mice.

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    Experts do admit that rodent skin is actually more sensitive than human skin - but one can't ignore the findings.  The 2 creams tested were:

    • Eucerin original Moisturizing Cream
    • Vanicream

    Why did this increased risk occur?  Researchers are looking at specific ingredients in the creams including mineral oil (which has been tumerogenic in animals) and sodium lauryl sulfate (an irritant). 


    What should we take away from this study?  I myself tend to use very non-irritating moisturizers specifically intended for sensitive skin, which means they have few ingredients and most are "quite pure."  As a family we use Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion which is free of lanolins, parabens and fragrances. 

Published On: August 18, 2008