Although ultraviolet radiation from sun exposure is currently considered the leader in producing skin cancer risks, other factors which may play a role include smoking, HPV infections which may increase the risk of squamous cell carcinoma, some genetic syndromes (birthmarks, moles) and chronic non-healing wounds which can develop into squamous cell carcinoma.
Other skin cancer risks include ionizing radiation, environmental carcinogens, artificial UV radiation (e.g. tanning beds), aging, and light skin color. It's believed tanning beds are the cause of the development of hundreds of thousands of basal and squamous cell carcinomas.
Use of many immunosuppressive medications increase the risk of skin cancer. Studies have indicated that cyclosporin A, a calcineurin inhibitor for example increases the risk approximately 200 times, and azathioprine about 60 times.
Another skin cancer risk which many people may be unaware of is the impact of utilizing certain moisturizing creams and/or oils (including Vaseline), especially if they contain a mineral oil base which may or may not be considered toxic.
Human skin is the largest and thinnest organ in the entire body. Less than 1/10th of an inch separates your body from potential toxins of any kind applied directly to the skin.
Applying products with chemicals of any kind directly onto the skin may actually be worse than eating the product. At least when you eat something, the enzymes in the saliva and stomach help to break down the chemicals and flush them out of your body.
Mineral oil has been linked to no less than 23 different diseases and health problems, according to GreenMedInfo.com's database, including autoimmune diseases and a number of different cancers, including skin cancer.
Topical Applications Of Skin And Body Moisturizers Could Increase Skin Cancer Risks
A study by GreenMedInfo.com has found that topical applications of skin and body moisturizers could increase skin cancer risks. Topical application of skin and body moisturizers such as Eucerin Original Moisturizing Cream, Vanicream, Dermabase, Dermovan or similar might potentially increase skin cancer risks.
This study was based upon testing of irradiated mice treated with the listed moisturizers. The mice were treated with Eucerin Original Moisturizing Cream, Vanicream, Dermabase and Dermovan for 17 weeks.
Laboratory mice treated with the moisturizers exhibited a significant increase in their rate of tumor formation. The tumor size and total number of hisologically characterized tumors per mouse increased by 69 percent during the laboratory trials.
UBV-Pretreated High Risk Mice - Further Studies Need On Humans
What does this mean? According to GreenMedInfo.com "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."
The increase of skin cancer risks with moisturizing creams also applied to tanning oils and lotions, which will soon be popular as Spring turns to Summer.
Baby oil and lotions also offer potential for increasing the risk of skin cancer risks. How many people use baby oil or lotion as their primary tanning aid? How many babies are slathered by unknowing parents with baby oils and/or lotions?
Skin Cancer Risks - Mineral Oil
Alternative health and skin experts have long worried about the inclusion of mineral oil also known as liquid petrolatum as a key component in many skin lotions, creams, tanning products and baby oils. Although mineral oil has been around for a very long time and assumed perfectly safe, it's really not.
Mineral oil is derived from petroleum products. Moisturizing creams, lotions and related products offer utilize mineral oil in the formulation because it works well as a spreading agent. However, mineral oil is a known carcinogenic agent.
The World Health Organization Classifies Some Mineral Oils As Carcinogens
The World Health Organization classifies untreated or mildly treated mineral oils as Group 1 carcinogens to humans; highly refined oils are classified as Group 3, meaning they are not suspected to be carcinogenic but available information is not sufficient to classify them as harmless.
There has also been a great deal of study performed on the effect of mineral oil in impeding the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A (and precursors), D, E, K and essential fatty acids. There is no doubt that interference with absorption can occur, particularly of carotene if amounts in food exceed approximately 6000 ppm (Steigmann et al., 1952).
Mineral Oils May Block Skin Pores
Mineral oil is also thick which has a tendency when mixed with other ingredients to form a thick oil or cream base. When the moisturizing creams and/or oils are so thick they may block the pores of the skin and may become comedogenic. This means the creams and the oils block the skin's natural respiration process. Mineral oil, by it's very thick nature, may actually also block all the beneficial ingredients infused into the product.
Note: A study reported in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology (2005) found that the type of highly refined and purified mineral oil found in cosmetic and skincare products is noncomedogenic (does not clog pores), but whether this is true or not is still debated in some circles.
Therefore if you're using a special sun screen to protect against skin cancer but the product has a heavy mineral oil composition, the mineral oil may block the very protective ingredients designed to minimize skin cancer risks. In some cases mineral oil can create an impenetrable film on your skin.
Moisturizing Creams with Mineral Oil Can be Tumorigenic
The GreenMedInfo.com study, published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, found that commonly used moisturizing creams including Eucerin Original Moisturizing Cream, Vanicream, Dermabase and Dermova as well as other similar products containing mineral oil are tumorigenic when applied topically to UVB-pretreated high-risk mice.
This means that these creams and lotions may potentially increase the rate at which skin tumors form.
Watch Out for Tanning Oils Containing Mineral Oil!
In light of the potential tumorigenic effects effect of mineral oil on UVB-exposed skin, it raises questions whether this is an ingredient you want in your suntan lotion or tanning oil? The reality? Many traditional tanning products will contain mineral oil or an alternate named derivative.
Just because you don't see mineral oil listed on the label, doesn't mean it's not included. Mineral oil has a myriad of name including Adepsine oil Albolene DrakeolLignite oil Liquid paraffin / paraffin oil Mineral seal oil and the exotic sounding Petrolatum White oil Baby oil.
According to the authors of one 2008 study "Mineral paraffins might be the largest contaminant of our body, widely amounting to 1gram per person and reaching 10 grams in extreme cases."
What You Apply To Your Skin Goes Into Your Bloodstream
Human skin is highly permeable. Almost anything you apply to your skin will end up in your bloodstream. Once a product is in the bloodstream, it will be distributed throughout the entire body and filter through all of your delicate internal organs.
Once toxic chemicals find their way into your body from your skin, they tend to accumulate over time. This is because your body lacks the necessary enzymes to break them down. If you stop to add up daily exposure of skin based toxins over the course of a lifetime, it can really add up to a major factor. It's important to avoid putting anything on your skin you would never consider eating. Obviously you wouldn't eat mineral oil or similar petrochemicals.
Summary - Minimizing Skin Cancer Risks With Moisturizing Creams
One of the best ways to guarantee that you're not being exposed to potentially toxic or carcinogenic agents is to only utilize all-natural ingredients for moisturizing creams and lotions. Organic coconut, avocado and jojoba oils make excellent all-natural moisturizing solutions for the face and body.There are also many all natural or organic skin oils and lotions available from a range of sources. There are also all natural sun screens. Just be sure to do your research, read the labels and make sure you are not exposing your skin to any unnecessary skin cancer risks.