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Certain Moisturizers Found to Promote Skin Cancer in Mice

Posted: August 20, 2008

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"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. And the companies that market these products should take a look at animal models and see if their products promote tumors."

Testing moisturizers for safety

Dermatologist Keyvan Nouri, MD, director of dermatologic surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and author of the best-selling book Skin Cancer, agrees that companies that make moisturizers should test their products. "This study could definitely be a warning to alert these companies to consider testing moisturizing creams with some sort of assay," Nouri said. "These creams need to be tested first before they come to market."

Moisturizers are classified as cosmetics by the FDA, which does not require that they undergo the same safety and efficacy tests required for drugs.

The moisturizers did not cause cancer in the mice. That came from their early-life radiation exposure. But the creams did make skin cancers grow faster and more readily.