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The Importance of Knowing What’s In Your Moisturizer

Do you know which common ingredient is found in moisturizers that has shown to increase tumor growth by 200%?

A study has found that topical applications of moisturizers such as Dermabase, Dermovan, Eucerin Original Moisturizing Cream, or Vanicream could increase skin cancer risk.  According to the study, as reported by Green Med Info, “The results indicate that several commercially available moisturizing creams increase the rate of formation and number of tumors when applied topically to UVB-pretreated high-risk mice. Further studies are needed to determine the effects of topical applications of moisturizing creams … in humans.”

This also applies to tanning oils and lotions, which many of you could be using right now with summer just around the corner, and baby oil/lotion that many parents unwittingly slather on their babies.

Many skin lotions, creams, and oils contain mineral oil, as do many tanning products. Mineral oil sounds like it could be safe, but it’s not. Mineral oil is actually a derivative of petroleum, the same stuff you put in your car’s engine.

Shocked-Face.jpgBecause it’s very viscous (slippery), many products use mineral oil as the main ingredient, as it allows the lotion to glide easily across your skin. This, despite the fact that it’s a known carcinogen!

It’s also comedogenic, which means it blocks your pores and your skin’s natural respiration process. Blocked pores can lead to blackheads and pimples, and because mineral oil can create an impenetrable film on your skin, it may also block the absorption of any beneficial ingredients that might exist in the product.

Did you know that moisturizing creams with Mineral Oil Can be Tumorigenic?

The featured study, published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, found that commonly used moisturizing creams containing mineral oil are tumorigenic when applied topically to UVB-pretreated high-risk mice. What this means is that these creams and lotions can increase the rate of which skin tumors form. The study tested four common skin lotions:

  • Dermabase
  • Dermovan
  • Eucerin Original Moisturizing Cream
  • Vanicream

What these creams have in common is that they all contain mineral oil. Mice that were at high risk of developing skin cancer received a topical application of 100 mg of one of the creams once a day, five days a week, for 17 weeks.  The researchers concluded that the rate of tumor formation significantly increased, as did the tumor size per mouse. In fact, the number of histologically characterized tumors increased by a whopping 69 percent!

According to the authors, “The results indicate that several commercially available moisturizing creams increase the rate of formation and number of tumors when applied topically to UVB-pretreated, high-risk mice. Further studies are needed to determine the effects of topical applications of moisturizing creams on sunlight-induced skin cancer in humans.”

Watch Out for Tanning Oils Containing Mineral Oil!

In light of the potential tumorigenic effects of mineral oil on UVB-exposed skin, this is NOT an ingredient you want in your suntan lotion or tanning oil. Unfortunately, just because you don’t see it on the label, doesn’t mean it’s not in there. Mineral oil has countless different names:

Alternate names include:

  • Adepsine oil
  • Lignite oil
  • Petrolatum
  • Albolene
  • Liquid paraffin/paraffin oil
  • White oil
  • Drakeol
  • Mineral seal oil
  • Baby oil

Many women who breastfeed will apply cream to their breasts without too much consideration for what’s in it. Studies have actually found that mineral oil-paraffin can bioaccumulate in both fat tissue and human breast milk.

According to a 2008 Study,  Mothers: Beware What You Put on Your and Your Baby’s Skin, “Mineral paraffin might be the largest contaminant of our body, widely amounting to 1gram per person and reaching 10 grams in extreme cases.”  It’s believed that your baby may receive about one percent of the mineral paraffin accumulated in your body and breast milk.

A previous study sums up the problem of using mineral oil-containing skin creams when you’re breastfeeding:

“Besides exposure of babies via human milk, the intake by direct licking off salves (in the worst case consisting of Vaseline) from the breast of their nursing mothers may be much higher. In a worst case situation, daily intake from breast care products by babies is estimated to reach 40mg/kg bw.  Many compositions do not comply with the specifications and a temporary group ADI of 0-4mg/kg bw established by the SCF. This possible exposure of babies either calls for a toxicological re-evaluation of the mineral paraffin or for measures ensuring that exposure of babies is reduced.”  The concern is a valid one, especially because mineral oil has been linked to no less than 23 different diseases and health problems, according to’s excellent research database, including autoimmune diseases and a number of various cancers.  With that in mind, please avoid using creams and lotions that contain mineral oil (especially Vaseline) on your breasts while you’re still breastfeeding. It would also be wise to avoid putting baby oil on your baby’s skin, as most baby oil brands contain straight up mineral oil!

You Can Absorb MORE Toxins from Skin Care Products than Food

Remember, your skin is your largest organ — and also the thinnest. Less than 1/10th of an inch separates your body from potential toxins. Worse yet, your skin is highly permeable.  Most items you rub on your skin will end up in your bloodstream and will be distributed throughout your body. This is why I’m so fond of saying “don’t put anything on your body that you wouldn’t eat if you had to.” Would petrochemical be something you would eat?

Putting chemicals on your skin may actually be worse than eating them. When you eat something, the enzymes in your saliva and stomach help to break it down and flush it out of your body.
However, when you put these chemicals on your skin, they are absorbed straight into your bloodstream without filtering of any kind, going directly to your delicate organs. And once these chemicals find their way into your body, they tend to accumulate over time because you typically lack the necessary enzymes to break them down. When you add up daily exposure over the course of a lifetime, it really adds up!

Safer Alternatives

Most of the personal care products in supermarkets and even high-end department stores contain toxic ingredients that can harm your health.  Mineral oil is just one ingredient among thousands of harmful chemicals lurking in these products.  You and your family deserve better; there are other options.  Look for products that are fragrance-free. One artificial fragrance can contain hundreds (if not thousands) of chemicals, and fragrances are a major cause of allergic reactions.

Safety here.



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