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# Scientists play down possible skin cancer risk of moisturisers

Millions of women who use popular brands of moisturiser should not be alarmed by US research suggesting the product may increase the risk of skin cancer, British dermatologists said yesterday.

Scientists from Rutgers University Rutgers University, main campus at New Brunswick, N.J.; land-grant and state supported; coeducational except for Douglass College; chartered 1766 as Queen's College, opened 1771. Campuses and Facilities

Rutgers maintains three campuses.
, New Jersey, exposed hairless mice to ultraviolet An invisible band of radiation at the upper end of the visible light spectrum. With wavelengths from 10 to 400 nm, ultraviolet starts at the end of visible light and ends at the beginning of X-rays. The primary source of ultraviolet light is the sun.  radiation to mimic the effect of sunlight. They applied various common brands of moisturiser to the skin of the sunburnt sun·burn
n.
Inflammation or blistering of the skin caused by overexposure to direct sunlight.

tr. & intr.v. sun·burned or sun·burnt , sun·burn·ing, sun·burns
To affect or be affected with sunburn.
mice and found this increased the production of tumours by 69%, compared with unmoisturised mice.

Writing in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology dermatology (dûrmətŏl`əjē), branch of medicine concerned with diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders of the skin. , the team said: "Mouse skin is different from human skin, but the research could help to explain the incidence of some types of skin cancer."

Jonathan Rees, professor of dermatology at Edinburgh University, said it would be "crazy" to stop using moisturisers on the basis of this study. Mice had a thin skin and lived in the dark, unlike humans whose bodies were designed for exposure to the sun.

"Extrapolation (mathematics, algorithm) extrapolation - A mathematical procedure which estimates values of a function for certain desired inputs given values for known inputs.

If the desired input is outside the range of the known values this is called extrapolation, if it is inside then
between the species for this aspect of biology is simply not warranted. Many agents that cause skin cancer in mice do not do so in man - indeed some of these agents are used as therapies. It seems extraordinarily unlikely that the results have any clinical relevance."

Nina Goad, of the British Association of Dermatologists, also warned against reading too much into the results. She said: "If the theory that applying moisturisers increased the risk of non-melanoma skin cancers Skin Cancer, Non-Melanoma Definition

Non-melanoma skin cancer is a malignant growth of the external surface or epithelial layer of the skin.
Description
were correct you would expect to see more of these cancers in women, and on their faces.

"This is not the case, so while the research is interesting, I don't think any conclusions should be drawn from it at this stage, and it should not put people off using skin creams if they wish to do so."

The Rutgers scientists conducted their experiments in an attempt to discover whether adding caffeine caffeine (kăfēn`), odorless, slightly bitter alkaloid found in coffee, tea, kola nuts (see cola), ilex plants (the source of the Latin American drink maté), and, in small amounts, in cocoa (see cacao).  to a moisturiser acted as a preventative for cancer. They had not expected to find that the moisturiser base might itself encourage the growth of tumours.

In an experiment lasting 17 weeks, the scientists tested four brands of moisturiser: Dermabase, Dermovan, Eucerin and Vanicream.

The skin cancers developed by the mice were of a type that is common among humans, but is treatable and rarely fatal. The team concluded: "Further studies are needed."
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