According to the American Melanoma Foundation, one person dies every hour of every day from skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common human cancer. One million people are diagnosed with new skin cancer every year. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their lives. Skin cancer will kill more than 10,850 Americans this year. Skin cancer rates have more than tripled in the last 30 years even with the explosion in the use of sunscreen and sunblock products and a high percentage of the population reducing sun exposure.
The National Cancer Institute explains that hairless mice are used for skin cancer studies. Human skin tissue has been grafted to these mice to create an optimal creature for evaluating causes of skin cancer as well as skin cancer treatments as applicable to humans. Many treatments developed on these mice are currently effective treatments for humans. In addition, these mice and their reaction to excessive exposure to UV light is the main reason that scientists have concluded that excessive exposure to sunlight can cause skin cancer.
The most popular cause of skin cancer is UV light, or excessive exposure to sunlight. However, there are other potential causes. In this article hosted on WebMD, “4 Commonly Used Moisturizing Creams Promote Tumors in UV-Exposed Mice”, a study by Allan H. Conney, PhD, director of the Susan Lehman Cullman Laboratory for Cancer Research and professor in the school of pharmacy at Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J., the use of common moisturizers, including Eucerin, Vanicream, Dermabase and Dermovan caused a statistically significant increase in skin cancer in hairless mice. The Food and Drug Administration classifies moisturizers as ‘cosmetics’. The manufacturers are not required to undergo the same safety testing as drugs. In addition, according to The Food and Drug Administraiton BHAs and AHAs, chemicals such as salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acid and other chemical exfoliants have been shown to increase skin cancer risk. Benzoyl peroxide, a common ingredient in most over-the-counter acne preparations is clearly stated by scientists as a “tumor promoter” and has the ability to cause skin cancer without exposure to UV light. According to earlier research, “What Every Parent Needs to Know About Benzoyl Peroxide”, benzoyl peroxide is an effective tumor promoter on not only mice, but also rats and hamsters.
There is a possibility that you can cut your skin cancer risk by 50-70% – no matter what chemicals you choose to rub on your skin or how much sun exposure you have received. According to Dr. Allan Conney, a professor of cancer and leukemia research at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., “We had between 50 to 70% tumor formation inhibition in the mice that were treated with caffeine or with EGCG (the other chemical compound).” An article in USA Today, Putting caffeine on skin lowers risk of cancer in lab mice gives further details of the results of the study by Dr. Conney. An overview of three studies:
~ Effect of caffeine on UVB-induced carcinogenesis, apoptosis, and the elimination of UVB-induced patches of p53 mutant epidermal cells in SKH-1 mice.
~ Effect of caffeine on the ATR/Chk1 pathway in the epidermis of UVB-irradiated mice.
~ ATR-Chk1 Pathway Inhibition Promotes Apoptosis after UV Treatment in Primary Human Keratinocytes: Potential Basis for the UV Protective Effects of Caffeine.
demonstrate the protective effects of reductions of skin cancer by oral or topically applied caffeine.
Research has begun for testing the most effective method of transdermal delivery of caffeine. In this study, “Transdermal delivery of anticancer drug caffeine from water-in-oil nanoemulsions.”, performed at the Department of Pharmaceutics in Libya, nanoemulsions were tested and found to be good carriers for the transdermal delivery of caffeine.
American Melanoma Foundation, “2009 Skin Cancer Fact Sheet”, American Melanoma Foundation
Marcus W. Bosenberg, “Skin Cancer Models”, National Cancer Institute
Daniel J. DeNoon, “Moisturizers Up Skin Cancer Risk in Mice”, WebMD
Mathur S, Kaur P, Sharma M, Katyal A, Singh B, Tiwari M, Chandra R., “The treatment of skin carcinoma, induced by UV B radiation, using 1-oxo-5beta, 6beta-epoxy-witha-2-enolide, isolated from the roots of Withania somnifera, in a rat model.”, PubMed
Emily Patterson, “What Every Parent Needs to Know About Benzoyl Peroxide”, Associated Content
Allan Conney, Ph.D., “Allan Conney Biography”, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute
USA Today, “Putting Caffeine on Skin Lowers Risk of Cancer in Lab Mice”, USA Today
Conney AH, Kramata P, Lou YR, Lu YP, “Effect of caffeine on UVB-induced carcinogenesis, apoptosis, and the elimination of UVB-induced patches of p53 mutant epidermal cells in SKH-1 mice.”, PubMed
Lu YP, Lou YR, Peng QY, Xie JG, Nghiem P, Conney AH, “Effect of caffeine on the ATR/Chk1 pathway in the epidermis of UVB-irradiated mice.”, PubMed
Heffernan TP, Kawasumi M, Blasina A, Anderes K, Conney AH, Nghiem P, “ATR-Chk1 pathway inhibition promotes apoptosis after UV treatment in primary human keratinocytes: potential basis for the UV protective effects of caffeine.”, PubMed
Shakeel F, Ramadan W, “Transdermal delivery of anticancer drug caffeine from water-in-oil nanoemulsions.”, PubMed