Wednesday bubble: a panacea for aging skin?

Posted by on Jun 17, 2009 in appearance | 0 comments


I was originally planning to devote this Wednesday to a discussion of the risks of early menopause. However, an article crossed my desk that was simply screaming for attention:

BBC News Headline: Anti-cancer cream fights wrinkles.

The cream in question is a topical chemotherapy treatment, fluroroucil, that is commonly used to manage skin cancer. Apparently, a study appearing this week in the Archives of Dermatology has shown an unexpected but welcome benefit of using flurorouciil: an improvement in the appearance of damaged skin.

So what’s the lowdown on the study? 21 study volunteers suffering from photodamage and dry, scaly rough patches of skin (actinic keratoses) that result from years of sun exposure were treated with fluroroucil cream,  twice daily for two weeks. They also had skin biopsies and other evaluations at the start of the study and periodically thereafter through week 24. The results showed significant changes in both the signs of actinic keratoses and photoaging/skin appearance — so much so that most of the patients said that they would be willing to undergo therapy again.

Fluroroucil evidently works by causing injury to the skin, leading to wound healing and regeneration and consequently, an improved appearance. This pattern of healing mimics that seen with other cosmetic procedures used to treat photoaged skin, such as laser therapy. But here’s the rub (no pun intended): fluroroucil is associated with significant side effects that include skin irritation, dryness, peeling, scabbing, weeping and even eye irritation. It also carries a FDA pregnancy category rating of ‘X’ meaning that it can harm an unborn child, and cause miscarriages and birth defects.

It’s essential to know the facts about fluroroucil, including its risk/benefits ratio. Undoubtedly the bonus of younger looking skin is enticing. And experts are already suggesting that its lower cost relative to other cosmetic treatments may promote its use beyond cancer treatment.

In the coming months, it will be interesting to see how many predators adopt fluroroucil as the latest and greatest thing since the Fountain of Youth. The new million dollar promise? Apparently you can iron out those wrinkles? But not without risk.

Buyer, beware!

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  1. The Roundup: June’s News and Tidbits « Flashfree - [...] A panacea for aging skin? An anticancer creams fights wrinkles. But should you try it? [...]

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