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Estrogen found in anti-aging creams

I’m 23-years-old and I’ve formerly used anti-aging products on a regular basis. It’s silly, I know. Well, at least I…

By Jenna Owsianik , in Facing Facts: A closer look at eco-beauty products , on March 21, 2010 Tags: , , ,

Picture from Flickr user Daniela Vladimirova

I’m 23-years-old and I’ve formerly used anti-aging products on a regular basis. It’s silly, I know. Well, at least I hope you find it silly, because it can be downright depressing to continually run into people who also share in our culture’s suffocating fear of aging.

Ah, to be young and beautiful seems so essential for female happiness and success at times. Moving past the psychically damaging effects caused by over praising youthful beauty, a recent report in the revealed the presence of in creams claiming to rejuvenate or enhance the youthful appearance of skin.

The products did not include estrogen on the ingredients label, and unfortunately the report also did not release the names of the creams tested.

“Daily application of topical ‘youth enhancing’ moisturizers containing estrogen or estrogenically active compounds could theoretically be a risk to women with breast cancer,” stated the report.

It also noted the case of a 93-year-old woman who developed “invasive breast cancer” and “a hyperplastic uterus as large as an adult menstruating female.” The authors believe the woman’s extended use of a cream containing estradiol was connected to both conditions.

Dr. Lorne Brandes, a senior oncologist at CancerCare Manitoba, analyzed the report’s findings on CTV’s

“six — almost 40 per cent — of the creams [tested] contained significant amounts (up to 0.61%) of estriol or estrone, two potent forms of estrogen. As a comparator, Estrase, a vaginal cream prescribed to treat symptoms of vaginal dryness in post-menopausal women, contains up to 60 times less estrogen!”

“How can this be?” I asked myself. I discovered that neither nor the test cosmetics before they hit the market. They instead rely mainly on an honour system where manufacturers need only notify them of the ingredients used in their products.

Some anti-aging products are tested if they’re classified as drugs for making certain therapeutic claims. You’ll know if one falls into this category because they’re issued a ; an 8-digit number displayed somewhere on the packaging or product following the acronym DIN.

The report’s findings clearly provide me with an impetus to understand more about how the cosmetic industry operates. My friend, who used to work for Health Canada, said there likely aren’t enough resources available to examine each and every product before it goes for sale. But, is this reasonable? If hormones are showing up unannounced in popular skin care products, a better regulatory process needs to be implemented.


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