The toxic chemical peel used in the creation of sunscreen products is causing serious health problems, scientists have warned.
In a paper published Tuesday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that the chemical peel in sunscreens containing chemical peel compounds was actually a cause of skin cancer.
“The chemicals that cause skin cancer in skin cancer patients are derived from plants,” said researcher Dr. Matthew Stadler.
“But we’re also finding in our studies that the plants that produce the chemicals in the peel, and that is the main reason we see skin cancer, are also the same chemicals that are causing skin cancer.”
According to the American Cancer Society, the skin cancer linked to chemical peel exposure includes epidermal neoplasms, melanoma, and basal cell carcinoma.
“This is the first time we’ve really looked at the link between chemical peel use and skin cancer,” said Stadlers co-author Dr. William H. Gulland.
The peel, a layer of polymeric polymer made up of water and other ingredients, is added to the outer layer of a sunscreen to make it more effective at protecting the skin from UV rays.
But the researchers found that even when the chemical skin protectant was added to a sunscreen, the chemicals were not necessarily removing the sunburns caused by the chemical.
“If you add the chemical sunscreen to your skin, you’re going to be more likely to get skin cancer because the chemical in the sunscreen is still present,” Gullis said.
“It’s a problem because the chemicals that make the sunscreen are going to stay on your skin even if you stop using the sunscreen.
And that’s why we think chemical peel sunscreen should be avoided.”
Stadlers team is using a variety of studies to test the safety of chemical peel products.
He is also looking at how skin cancer cells can grow and how chemical peel chemicals affect these cells.
“In a way, we’re doing research in an attempt to figure out how the skin cells that are growing are reacting to chemicals,” Gillis said, “and that’s the whole purpose of the research.
But we also have to do the work of understanding the chemicals and the interactions between them.”
Stalder said the chemical makeup of sunscreen is important because it is the chemical that is applied to the skin.
“It’s not the chemicals alone that are responsible for the chemical changes that happen to the cells,” Stadgers co-director of the Center for Skin Biology, Dr. Robert D. Guggenheim, said.
“Chemical peel chemicals are just one part of the problem that is creating these chemicals on our skin, but it is still very important to know how these chemicals interact with our skin cells.”
For the study, Gulls team looked at melanoma and basal-cell carcinoma, which are both skin cancers that are caused by DNA damage.
Melanoma is a skin cancer that can spread to the rest of the body.
The majority of melanomas are skin cancers with a single cell in each melanoma.BAC, a skin-specific gene, is a cancer-causing gene that causes skin cancer when a cell from one of the cells has faulty DNA.
The scientists found that when chemical peel was applied to sunscopes with chemical peel, it did not cause DNA damage, but rather the cells continued to divide and produce more cells.
Dr. John B. McNeill, a dermatologist at Johns, said the researchers’ findings raise a number of concerns.
“There are so many other ways that these chemicals can damage skin cells,” McNeill said.
One concern is that if chemical peel agents are applied to a sunscooter or another surface, they can become a source of UV exposure, which could lead to melanoma in the skin of those who use the sunscooters.
“We’re talking about skin cancer exposure in people who are not even using the sunshades, because these are not the types of people that are going into the sun,” McNeil said.
According to McNeill and Gull, the best way to prevent skin cancer is to avoid using sunscreen at all times.
“One of the things that you have to remember when you’re using a sunshade is that the sunscreen is going to get in the way of the skin’s ability to fight melanoma,” McNally said.
But Gull said it is important to remember that skin cancer has many other causes, including UV-induced DNA damage and sunburn.
“A lot of these cancers are not caused by chemicals alone, but by a combination of chemicals,” he said.
For the research, Gilden, Stad, McNeill & Co. were funded by the National Institutes of Health.
About this dermatology research articleCo-authors include:Matthew Stadlin, MD, and Robert Guggin, PhD, of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg