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Dr Sam Epstein, chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition and a leading US professor has said that ANTI-AGEING creams regularly used by millions of Britons could increase the risk of skin cancer.
According to the professor, these revolutionary creams that promise to smooth away the fine lines of ageing also strip the skin of its protective top layer thereby exposing the skin to dangerous toxins and making it more prone to sun damage. His actual words are "popular ingredients in anti-ageing creams called alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) were probably the most dangerous cosmetic products on the market". He is now calling on the UK regulatory authorities to introduce new regulations to protect consumers and urged British shoppers to also be aware of the risks.
"So many women, and even some men, slather these products all over their skin in the naive belief that they have nothing to fear but ageing,"
Dr Epstein said. "The British cosmetics industry must comply with EU rules on what ingredients to use and what warnings to place on labels". "At present, there is no requirement for a warning to be placed on creams containing AHAs
In America, however, the ingredient was considered dangerous enough to prompt the US Food and Drug Administration to warn consumers that AHAs "could destroy the upper layers of skin, causing severe burns, swelling and pain". Dr Epstein, who is Professor emeritus of environmental and occupational health at the University of Illinois, made his comments about the US cosmetics industry. But Prof Epstein told the Daily Express they were just as relevant to British anti-wrinkle creams. "Anything that strips the surface of the skin not only risks sunlight penetrating the exposed layer but also allows other toxic products in", he said. "All of the toxic effects are massively increased by AHAs".
Dr Epstein also expressed concern about other ingredients commonly used in UK anti-ageing products, such as limonene. "Apart from being an irritant, it is a well-documented carcinogen", he said.
The FACTS are Britons spend £673million a year on skincare products, with 42 per cent of all moisturisers claiming to combat ageing.
In a bid to keep up with demand, skincare companies have developed more intensive treatments in the fight to maintain beauty. AHA's are very popular in the UK because they can diminish facial lines, remove skin sallowness and uneven pigmentation, smooth skin texture and remove acne. This effect is dose-dependent. Although they can have biological effects on the skin, it is apparent that British cosmetic firms are careful never to make their products too medicinal as they would then be subject to far stricter regulations as medicines rather than cosmetics.
If you want to read more, the experts at Consulting Room really know what they're talking about and have put together some sun protection or specialist skin cream FAQs just for you.
If you have more questions, you can use the sun protection questions or specialist skin cream questions feature to talk to our panel of trained medical experts.
If you're keen to get started with any of these treatments right away then you're in luck - those clever folks also have a list of trusted, accredited sun protection clinics or specialist skin cream clinics in your area.
Many thanks to the author of this blog Dr Patrick Treacy.
Dr Patrick Treacy is a general practitioner with special interests in dermatology and aesthetic medicine who founded the Ailesbury Clinic and practices in Dublin and Cork in Ireland.
He is an advanced Botox®, Dysport® and Dermal filler trainer and regularly holds courses for doctors and nurses from around the world. He is also a renowned international guest speaker and lectures overseas on many cosmetic medicine issues ranging from fibroblast transplants to the growing application of radiosurgery to cosmetic medicine.
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