Thursday, October 8, 2009

Anti-Ageing Cream Controversy

I'm about to get all serious on you may have seen a front page tabloid article recently stating that a US professor, Dr Sam Epstein (Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition) has claimed that Anti-Ageing products containing alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA's) could increase the risk of cancer. He also said that cosmetic products containing these acids are "probably the most dangerous cosmetic products on the market".

Nowadays, every man and his dog has a theory about what causes different types of cancer and over the years I have heard many scare stories about burnt toast and deodrants. This kind of headline is bound to scare women as many of us use anti-ageing products. A few of the face masks/serums I use contain AHA's so I for one would be interested to hear the debate on this topic.

It has since been stated that there's a huge amount of clinical evidence to back up the safety of using these acids. Dr Patrick Bowler has since commented that "AHA’s have been used in skincare since the late 80’s and there is a robust body of clinical studies to show their positive effects on the skin. All AHA products should be used in conjunction with an SPF and guidelines on frequency of use given by a professional. If used correctly they will remove only excess dead skin layers that build up as we age, leaving a natural protective layer intact. Studies show that AHAs actually thicken the living areas of the epidermis and increase dermal proteins and Glycosominoglycans so they have a normalising effect on ageing skin rather than changing it to an abnormal state.”

Another expert,Joe Lewis, PRIORI Founder and Chemist & Skincare Formulator commented:
“AHAs do not cause cancer, UV rays cause cancer. Proper use of AHAs with sunscreen does not increase the incidence of skin cancer. Any type of exfoliation treatment, laser or microdermabrasion, should always be followed with SPF. The fallacy in the statement that AHAs cause cancer is no different than the following - boats are made of metal, metal does not float, therefore boats do not float! Sunlight causes cancer, not AHAs!”

I take my health VERY seriously and if I thought AHA's could contribute towards the multiplication of cancerous cells in my body then I would definitely stop using those kind of products. My skincare is predominantly more geared towards natural/organic products nowadays as I like to stay away from too many chemicals. However, AHA's are brilliant for smoothing the skin and I use a face mask every week which contains AHA's.

There seems to be more evidence backing up the safety of AHA's than there is for it's negative effects. I think that as long as we all try our best to make sure our skin is protected from the sun with SPF, then we can prevent unnecessary skin damage. I think that the negative statements made about AHA's could have been used to sell papers, tabloids churn out sensational/shocking headlines every day and this is one that I'll be taking with a pinch of salt.

What do you think?

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