Thursday, March 27, 2014

10 Month Picture Update - Topical Steroid Withdrawal

Here is my 10th month picture update. I'm fully recovered from my last huge flare which lasted 5-6 weeks before calming down and am finally back to healing again. My arms and legs are 99% normal again and the only symptoms left are on my hands. This is pretty much where I was 3 months ago before this last flare kicked my butt. The nice thing about it though is because I don't moisturize the flare was easily manged and wasn't all that difficult to get through. It was just a pain in the ass.

What you see on the tops of my hands is purely steroid induced eczema. I have never used ts on top of my hands other than on my fingers. I first started applying ts on my right palm where you can see it is still struggling to heal. That area received the most ts out of any area on my body. The left palm received about half as much ts and has been healed for many months, even though both palms were completely destroyed when I stopped using ts and began tsw. It didn't break out during this big flare and even the right palm barely did. What broke out was my arms, legs, and tops of my hands. And it was nearly as much rash as when I first started tsw. Actually it was more now that I think about it. The rash on the top of my hands spread to completely cover them and they gave me the roughest time because they were very irritated the whole time and I would easily scratch off all the fresh thin scabbing every time I got them to scab over. It seemed like an endless process of starting over the entire 5-6 weeks. Like groundhog day I suppose. But once the flare died down that problem went away and they are quickly healing again.

The legs and arms broke out worse than I first started too and they also stayed irritated throughout the flare and would ooze as well. They healed first (again) and my hands are well on the way. The symptoms you see barely bother me at all. The only time they bother me is in my sleep and I get that infamous itch attack. But, my skin is so strong from not moisturizing that it just doesn't break open unless I tear into extra hard, which I always try to avoid. My main problem right now is I refuse to eat a good diet. I take all the right supplements but am willing to take the extra time to heal in order to eat and drink what I want. There is little doubt in my mind I wouldn't be in much better condition if I were to change my lifestyle. But as it is, it's just a dry scaly rash that doesn't bother me so I guess I'm willing to put up with it for now.

I get asked all the time when do the oils start to come back after stopping moisturizers. I have asked Dr. Fukaya this question and will post my question and his answer under this post in the comment section later when he answers me. Happy healing!











Friday, March 21, 2014

Moisturizer Withdrawal Guide - Topical Steroid Withdrawal

How to do moisturizer withdrawal successfully: The following is the most effective way to withdraw from moisturizers during topical steroid withdrawal that I am aware of. I pioneered this method myself through trial and error, and through much experimentation and research. I hope you find this information useful in withdrawing from moisturizers yourself.

This guide works best for those of you who are already in tsw and are using moisturizers but wish to make your recovery more comfortable via no moisturizing. To get the desired results, please keep in mind that the key to success in this method is the stopping all moisturizers, lotions etc.

List of things you will need before you begin:
1) Dead Sea salt from Israel - best source in the US is at https://www.sfsalt.com/minera-dead-sea-salt
2) The ability to not leave you house for two weeks if possible

To begin:
1) Stop using all moisturizers, lotions, etc. on your skin
2) Bathe 20 minutes a day using 1-1/2 to 2 pounds of natural Dead Sea salt per bath at tepid water temperature (very important)

Optional:
1) Alcohol free Witch Hazel
2) Organic Tea Tree Oil

Using Dead Sea salt baths is your most effective tool next to sun exposure. Dead Sea salt baths work best for when the skin is broken, and should be reduced in frequency when the skin isn't broken. Doing dss daily should be reserved for those times when one is initially starting MW and has a lot of broken skin. The baths should be reduced to every other day asap, and then 1-2 per week for maintenance. I try to go as long as possible without baths or showers at this point to allow the skin's natural oils to come back. I am 9-1/2 months into tsw, and about 90% healed, and I still am not using any soaps or shampoos of any kind, just water.

The reasons for daily Dead Sea salt baths are many, but the most important ones are 1) to dry out the skin and heal open wounds 2) the daily bath re-hydrates your skin, and 3) the minerals absorbed from the salts are very beneficial for inflammation and many other things. One can avoid using all soaps using bath soaks to stay clean as well. MW is the real key and Dead Sea salt baths, tea tree oil and other things are used for healing open wounds. It's the combination of the Dead Sea salt baths, sun exposure, and other little things that make this method the most effective. Not any one thing alone.

Healing Properties of Dead Sea Salts
The following list details some healing properties of the minerals found in Dead Sea Salt:

Magnesium: Aids sleep and relaxation, promotes quick healing of skin tissue and provides the skin’s surface with anti-allergic elements, essential for cell metabolism.

Bromide: Soothes skin, relaxes body muscles, and calms nerves.

Iodine: Important for the correct functioning of the thyroid gland and aids in the body's metabolic exchanges.

Sulfur: A natural disinfectant (constituent of certain vitamins). Known as a powerful detoxifying agent, as it works closely with the liver to rid the body of toxins.

Potassium: Helps balance moisture in the skin and body, aiding in the reduction of water retention and in the nourishment of cells. Potassium also regulates the nervous system.

Calcium: An essential mineral, known to strengthen bones and teeth. Also strengthens cell membranes and cleanses pores.

Sodium: Relieves stiffness and muscle cramps. Sodium is also a powerful detoxifying agent, helping cells retain nourishment and expel waste.

Zinc: When applied topically zinc is known to boost the immune system. Internally, it is a key factor in enzymatic regulation of cell proliferation.

Get as much SUN exposure on your skin every opportunity you get. Alcohol and fragrance free Witch Hazel works well on persistent oozing spots when no sun is available. So does not rinsing after a dds bath. Be very careful with sun exposure early on in tsw to not get sun burnt. Buy a home UVB unit if you can afford one for those winter months.

What to expect when doing Moisturizer Withdrawal:
It depends on the degree of your symptoms. Below is a short summary of my own personal experience which should be helpful. I had severe topical steroid withdrawal/steroid induced eczema  symptoms on my hands, and much less severe symptoms on my arms, legs, feet, and other areas. Below that is a Q&A.

In week 8 of my topical steroid withdrawal I quit moisturizing, exposed my skin to the sun as much as possible without risking sunburn, did daily Dead Sea salt baths, and my skin splits, cracks, and fissures healed over quickly for the first time since I began tsw. In the beginning, the skin on my hands dried out so much I couldn't bend some of the fingers without breaking my skin open. But I was determined to make those skin breaks dry and scab over so I stuck it out. For about 3 days the pain was extremely intense. By the 4th day my situation became more bearable, and by about day 7 or 8 my skin breaks had all scabbed over and the old skin started to peel off on it's own, day after day, revealing new skin underneath. It took a couple weeks from start to finish and it was brutally painful because the skin on my hands dried up like the Sahara desert. My fingers and palms were red and swollen, and my skin felt hot like I had an infection.

In the first couple days the intense burning, itching and nerve pain along with tightness of the skin was nearly unbearable. I had one finger dry halfway closed and couldn't fit a glove over my right hand in the second or third day, so I soaked in a bath to soften the skin and was able to straighten my finger out without breaking the skin open. It dried in the sun extended and I then I couldn't close it all the way ugh! That was better than being stuck closed though, at least I could get a glove back on. But, after a couple more days of self induced torture my skin dried over, scabs formed and fell off, and new skin was in it's place. The relief was unbelievable. For once I didn't have to wear gloves to guard against infection! Yay!!

 The skin barrier on my palms was completely destroyed from my prior prolonged and increased topical steroid use, so moisturizer withdrawal will not be as painful for everybody as it was for me. For many it should be a much easier experience than what I had. Again, depending on the severity of your symptoms and how badly the skin barrier is damaged, and other factors. For me, it was well worth the extra pain for a few days to be much more comfortable for the rest of my multi-month tsw journey. I am currently at month 6 and nearly healed. Have been nearly healed for the last couple of months, but my skin seems to have hit a "stagnant" period and I haven't quite recovered fully as of yet. So, I can't say I'm finished with my tsw quite yet, but I can say ever since I quit using moisturizers my symptoms have improved by about 90%. The improvement went quick at first, then steady improvement over a period of several weeks, and now like I said, stagnant. However, stagnant or not, my tsw barely bothers me now and I expect it will be 100% finished sometime in the next few months at most. Apparently, it takes a long time for the body to recover from the damage long term steroid use causes. The main purpose of moisturizer withdrawal is for comfort. If it speeds up tsw, then that's just a plus. The difference between going through tsw moisturizing and going through tsw not moisturizing is like the difference between night and day.

After my first two days of nearly 90% healed skin I applied a moisturizer again (don't ask me why I don't know) and immediately went back into a flare within hours, good Lord!  It took another 2-3 weeks to heal my skin again by stopping moisturizing and repeating the method I used the first time, mainly dead sea salt baths and sun exposure. The second time around was almost as painful as the first, but not quite as bad since my hands were in better shape this time around. I recently experienced a third flare which was brought on by stress, and although it's been my worst flare to date, my skin is healing back faster then before. If I went back to moisturizing I would be in a continuous flare, I know from attempting it before.

Below are some common questions and answers on MW. It would take too long to cover every possible question in my Q&A here, so if you have any questions please post them in the comment box below and I will respond as soon as I can. As for the reasoning behind what I use for MW, and as to the whys, detailed information can be found throughout my blog, including links to studies which support my views that moisturizing is detrimental to the skin barrier. Even with healthy skin.

Some common Q&A:

Question: So now at 4 days w/o moisturizer I'm dealing with flaking on my ring fingers and tops of both hands. Its unsightly but not quite as red as before when I was using lotions and oils. Hard to bend the fingers and the yellow/honey colored crust is in parts. Just curious what the next stage brings in healing based on your experience?


Answer: Things will continue to slowly improve.

Q: About the salt baths: how often, and did you rinse with clean water after the salt bath? Any exfoliation during the soak when skin was wet? Even after one soak I can tell the redness is less and some of the trouble spots on my legs are beginning to dry out.

A: I do dead sea salt baths once per day and as my skin heals and starts to feel better I cut it back to every other day or so, depending on how my skin is doing. Also, soaking in chemicals like chlorine can not be good, so if you can afford it, buy a chlorine filter either for the bathtub, or one for the water line entering your home. I have read one can add 1,000 mg of powdered Vitamin C to the bath water to neutralize some of the deadly chemicals found in common tap water, so that could be an option. However, I don't know enough about this subject so you may want to research it yourself.

I have read everything from rinse immediately afterwards, to getting out of the tub and waiting 30 minutes before rinsing to allow the minerals from the salts to absorb more, to don't rinse at all. I have tried all three ways and sometimes I rinse immediately, and other times I get out of the tub, pat dry and wait 20 minutes before rinsing in the shower. You are basically trying to mimic being at the dead sea. From what I understand, people who go there go into the water for awhile and then lay on the beach in the sun and dry out, and go back & forth without showering probably until later in the day or evening. I find not rinsing can have more of a drying effect on the skin. I have noticed that when I rinse immediately afterwards, any skin breaks will sting slightly. I figured maybe that was because the bath coated my skin with a thin film from the salt minerals and the rinse washed it off, so I have experimented a little with the other methods and haven't settled on any particular way as of yet. I do rinse immediately for the most part but still experiment with waiting about 20 minutes and then rinsing off any salt crystals remaining on my skin.

Getting sun exposure is very important if you can during the MW process. No need to worry about the skin getting too dry from the sun. You want it to dry, scab, and heal.

I wouldn't suggest exfoliating because when treating our damaged skin we need to allow it to grow and shed naturally and we don't want to inhibit that process by revealing new skin before it's ready. Just soak and allow the dead skin to fall off on it's own when it's ready. You don't want to rush that process. Don't pick it off with your hands during the MW process!

Because I don't want any soap at all on my skin due to it's strong ability to strip the oils from the skin so easily, I never use soap and I don't shampoo my hair. When my 20 minutes are up I usually just rinse in the shower briefly and rinse my hair as much as possible with water only. My hair is actually cleaner and healthier looking doing this than when I used to shampoo it. I have tsw symptoms on different spots on my face and one ear so I often will lay on one side in the tub with one ear and half my head in the water for the first 10 minutes and then turn to the other side for the remaining 10. Sometimes I will also hold my breath and put my face directly face down into the water several times also. I have a spot on one eyelid, side of my nose, and a couple on my chin. All of these spots have cleared now so I don't do that now as much as I used to.

Q: What is the bleach and apple cider vinegar for?


A: I did a bath about once a week (during MW only) with 1/2 cup of bleach added to the water as a precaution for infections. Do not combine with Dead Sea salts. Just water and 1/2 cup straight bleach added to warm water for a 15 minute soak. Rinse well. Never bath or shower in hot water, it strips the skin's oils as much as soaps do. I would add 1-2 cups of Bragg's Apple cider vinegar to a bath about once every week or so to balance the ph of my skin. Again, 10-15 minute soak, and then rinse.

Q: How do I manage the dry spots re-splitting?

A: I found this to be my most difficult thing as the skin is so thin from the topical steroid damage. Especially on the areas that received the most ts. I use witch hazel and/or tea tree oil between baths to control these splits, and keep them out of water other then when bathing. If I feel they have been exposed too much and they are turning red and sore I use water diluted Tea Tree oil on them a few times per day. The dead sea salt baths should help those skin splits heal within a few days, but they do tend to pop open again depending on how weak and thin the skin is in certain areas.

NOTE: Some people may be allergic to Tea Tree oil, so you would have to judge for yourself as to whether it's useful for you or not. I've used it on & off for at least 35 years for various things, mostly in place of antibiotic ointments when I get a cut or something similar.

Q: What kind of gloves have you used?


A: Size XL white cotton gloves, and I wear XL latex free vinyl gloves over them when I need to get my hands dirty or wet. I don't do this often though as it makes my hands sweat. I buy the "Magid TouchMaster Cotton Glove, Men's Jumbo (Pack of 60 Pairs)" on Amazon. These are the perfect gloves for people with severe TSW symptoms on their hands. They are extremely thin and very comfortable to wear. My hand size is medium, so don't be afraid to buy the larger sizes. Otherwise you'll end up with gloves that fit too tight due to shrinkage when washing them.

Q: So how long after you stopped moisturizing did you get relief?


A: It took me about a week to get relief, but about two weeks for the process to complete. Once the old dried skin sheds off (I was careful to allow it to shed on it's own and not help it along) new skin appears. That whole process took me about 10 days to two weeks. The skin still remains very hypersensitive at this stage, since one is not over tsw at this point, but from there on I was much better able to handle my symptoms.

The basics are staying moisturizer free, do daily, or every other day baths with 1 1/2 - 2 pounds of natural dead sea salt, and get as much sun as possible on the areas that bother you, without getting sun burnt of course. Alcohol free "Homestead" witch hazel helps a lot in between baths for oozing areas. TTO worked great at times for healing tiny skin splits. Other times, it would exasperate things, so one has to experiment a little to find if tto works for them.

Q: What did you do to manage the evening itching?

A: The evening itching is maddening no matter what because your body's histamine levels rise throughout the day. I have tried cutting back on eating fermented cheeses, sugar, canned fish, chocolate, coffee, pickles, ketchup and many other foods, but have found that my diet consists mainly of the very things I need to avoid so I have chosen to suffer more itching to eat what I want. However, I still try to keep things in moderation though. The mind plays a key part in healing, so you don't want to make yourself miserable. Strict diets are too difficult for me unless I am facing a life threatening disease. Not so for everyone though. It's a personal decision that only you can make. In early TSW, even drastic changes in diet have little to no effect, due to the intensity and severity of the disease. However, a good diet can only be helpful regardless.

Please be sure to comment below on your experiences with moisturizer withdrawal so others can learn from your experiences as well.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Moisturizer Withdrawal During Topical Steroid Withdrawal

Many people are now finding out that not moisturizing is a much better way to get through topical steroid withdrawal as opposed to moisturizing. They are discovering that not moisturizing brings much more comfort, allows the skin barrier to recover at a much faster rate, allows the skin to strengthen, and in general allows one to lead a normal life while recovering from topical steroid poisoning. Something that moisturizing during tsw does not bring.

The purpose of this post was to show the various ways I have learned to deal with my symptoms since doing moisturizer withdrawal approximately seven months ago into one place for easier understanding and referral. I'm short on time right now so will just ask that you check out the many posts I've written on my blog on this subject.

I have learned many things in those seven months of dealing with tsw via no moisturizers and feel what I've learned should be of value to those of you who have either began tsw without moisturizing, or those of you who have made the transition from moisturizing to not moisturizing, commonly referred to as "moisturizer withdrawal".

There is plenty of info on this throughout my blog, but much of it is me talking about things I did at those specific times. And some of the info may not be relevant now, or outdated. I have learned much from my experience on what works well, and what doesn't work so well, in dealing with the various tsw symptoms while not moisturizing. Feel free to ask questions.




Monday, March 3, 2014

Vaseline - Alleged Benefits Debunked With Facts

Petroleum jelly can create the illusion of moisturized, hydrated skin, all the while suffocating your pores. It's water-repellant and not water-soluble, meaning it merely seals the barrier so that moisture does not leave the skin. So while you might feel the instant gratification of a softened surface, you're actually drying out your pores by keeping out air and moisture. Because petroleum jelly forms a seal over the skin, it disrupts the bodies process of elimination of toxins through the pores, potentially trapping them under the skin. It slows cellular regeneration, which can damage collagen, elastin and connective tissue and contribute to the appearance of aging.

There are thousands of websites promoting the benefits of Vaseline for various skin ailments and I wanted to post a few sites that post information that isn't so readily available that shows just the opposite of what these sites claim. Most sites that promote the use of petrol chemicals for the skin have a profit motive behind them. Most sites that talk about the dangers of using these products DO NOT have a profit motive behind them. Most doctors recommend using Vaseline. Most doctors also promote the use of topical steroids. My goal here is to try and debunk the conventional wisdom that Vaseline should be used for comfort during topical steroid poisoning recovery, or topical steroid withdrawal as it's commonly called. And to show that using this product actually damages the skin, especially hypersensitive skin that people who have stopped using topical steroids have. Also, keep in mind that studies also show that continuous  moisturizing with anything, regardless of how safe it is perceived to be, damages the skin barrier.

I have a tub of Vaseline sitting in front of me right now. It reads "Vaseline 100% Pure Petroleum Jelly". On the back of the tub the active ingredient reads "White Petrolatum USP (100%).

http://www.livestrong.com/article/226763-side-effects-of-petrolatum/

Side Effects of Petrolatum:
"Petrolatum, commonly known as petroleum jelly, is a byproduct of petroleum. Petrolatum is a soft paraffin or wax mixture sold as a topical skin ointment. It is acknowledged by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as an approved over-the-counter skin protectant and is used in the manufacturing of cosmetic skin care. However the side effects of petrolatum include finding the petroleum byproduct in breast tumors, suffocation of the skin, premature aging and aggravated acne."

Petrolatum Found In Breast Tumors:
"A study linking the petrolatum impurity polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or PAHs to breast cancer was completed at Columbia University. The study indicates that breast tissue of women with breast cancer were 2.6 times more likely to have increased amounts of PAHs attached to their DNA than the breast tissue of women without breast cancer. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are found in oil, coal and tar deposits as byproducts of fuel burning. Researchers June K.Dunnick, Michael R.Elwell, James Huff and J.Carl Barrett of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, NC also found that PAHs were found in the mutated genes of test animals with mammary gland cancer."

Petrolatum May Suffocate the Skin:
"Research at the Herb Research Foundation noted that skin absorbs up to 60 percent of the chemicals in products that it contacts and these chemical move directly into the bloodstream. The Organic Make-up company notes that the petrolatum developed for its cost effective glide in make-up application suffocates the skin by absorbing these chemicals directly into the bloodstream decreasing oxygen absorbed through the skin."

Petrolatum May Cause Premature Aging:
"As with many carcinogens such as nicotine, environmental pollution and chemical additives ingestion and absorption of these products can increase free radicals that can cause the skin and organs to age at a rapid rate or wear prematurely. Petrolatum found in many cosmetics can cause skin irritations and rashes. Skin that does not receive sufficient oxygen as noted in the Herb Research on skin suffocation can cause the death of skin cells and thus premature aging to skin cells."

Additional Effects from Petrolatum:
"Petrolatum or mineral oil jelly and mineral oils can cause skin photosensitivity or promote sun damage. Petrolatum may interfere with the body's moisturizing mechanism, leading to dry skin and chapping despite its cosmetic use as lip protection. According to the Environmental Working Group, petrolatum may be found in one of every 14 products as well as 15 percent of lipsticks and 40 percent of baby lotions and oils. The Federal Drug Enforcement Agency restricts petrolatum in food to 10 parts per million, and insists that petrolatum used in food packaging or drugs meet governmental standards on impurity restrictions for PAHs."

http://nadiasnotes.com/2010/04/21/the-dangers-of-petroleummineral-oil/

The Dangers Of… Petroleum/Mineral Oil

Mineral Oil:
"A derivative of crude oil (petroleum) that is used industrially as a cutting fluid and lubricating oil. Mineral oil forms an oily film over the skin to lock in moisture, toxins and wastes, but hinders normal skin respiration by keeping oxygen out. It blocks the pores and the skin’s natural respiration.

Mineral oil is known for not absorbing water. It has been used as a brake fluid for cars, bicycles and airplanes. As a very cheap material, the cost benefit is great because mineral oil is very plentiful.  Mineral oil is also used to clean kitchen, utility and ceremonial knives and swords.

John Hopkins University named mineral oil in cosmetics and moisturizers as the number two cause of aging. The first being direct exposure to the sun.The result is premature aging and increased health risks.

Mineral oil may also cause allergic reactions and dryness. It traps dirt and bacteria and blocks the absorption of vitamins/minerals/botanicals that may be in a product.

Mineral oil is popular with manufacturers because it is inexpensive and makes skin smoother and softer to the touch and more attractive to the eye. Unfortunately, the damage that is being caused behind the scene makes it an undesirable ingredient in any skin care product.

Thanks to companies like Johnson’s (Johnson & Johnson), unconscious parents are putting petroleum on their precious new baby’s skin, causing the skin to become hard and dry."

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/petroleum-jelly-dangers.html

Side Effects:
"Several long term side effects of petroleum jelly have been observed of late. The main reason behind this can be the fact that petroleum jelly is used in a large amount on a regular basis, by many people. No doubt it has plenty of healing and moisturizing properties and it also makes the skin feel smooth and soft. But the fact is that the smoothness and softness that we feel is actually the layer of petroleum jelly that we keep on adding over the skin. It protects the skin but also restricts the pours of the skin from letting the toxins and actual moisture out."

"This makes the secretion of all the toxins and unwanted substances to form a layer under the actual layer of petroleum jelly. The whole process results into several skin disorders and leads to dandruff, acne, dryness of the skin and hair and skin irritation.

"Petroleum jelly and mineral oil are petroleum-based products, the same substance gasoline is made from. Such products can be harmful to your body, because it cannot eliminate the substance quickly. Petroleum products are constantly being scrutinized and studied."


http://www.ehow.com/facts_6788183_harmful-mineral-oil-petroleum-jelly.html

Harmful Effects of Mineral Oil & Petroleum Jelly

What Is It?
"Mineral oil and petroleum jelly, which are widely used in cosmetics, are made from petroleum, a crude oil substance that comes from the ground yet can be very toxic. Different refining processes transform petroleum into paraffin wax, greases, and plastics. The Vaseline company describes its petroleum jelly product as "a mixture of mineral oils, paraffin and microcrystalline waxes that ... literally melts into skin, flowing into the spaces between cells and the gaps in our lipid barrier. Once there, it re-solidifies, locking itself in place."

Effects:
"Since petroleum jelly and mineral oil (its liquid equivalent) attach to your cells and are not water soluble, they can be difficult for your body to eliminate, sometimes causing buildup in various organs of the body. The oxygen and nutrients skin needs in order to release toxins and repair itself can be blocked by the "barrier" created by petroleum cosmetics. Petroleum substances can also be listed as "petrolatum" on ingredient labels. Petroleum is not considered safe for ingestion or internal use in large amounts, yet is the base of many lip balms."

http://cincovidas.com/but-my-doctor-recommended-it-for-my-compromised-skin-the-dangers-and-alternatives-to-petroleum-based-products/

“But My Doctor Recommended It For My Compromised Skin?” The Dangers (and Alternatives) To Petroleum-Based Products

"Did you know that your soaps and shampoos could be endangering your health? Although cancer patients may believe that by keeping themselves clean they’re keeping germs at bay, the majority of household and cosmetic soaps on the market contain dangerous petroleums and petroleum by-products (like paraffin gel or petroleum jelly), which can have severely negative effects on overall health.

Contributing author to HealthTruthRevealed.com Greg Ciola explains the danger petroleum can present in the work place (as well as in our bathroom cabinets): “Auto mechanics are warned that long-term exposure to petroleum products can cause skin cancer and other skin maladies…yet we’re led to believe by the cosmetics industry that these products clean and moisturize your skin.” Unfortunately, many physicians continue to recommend petroleum-based products (such as moisturizing creams or ointments) to cancer patients, without realizing the dangers. The author of the blog “Avoiding Cancer One Day At a Time” adds that if petroleum products use fossil fuels (which accumulate and damage our environment), why do we want to put those ingredients on our skin?

Recent studies reported by the Chemtox website suggest stunning side effects of toxic petroleum ingredients: “Petroleum based chemicals are being found to cause significant attritional effects to the nervous system and immune system after prolonged exposure. Illnesses identified in the medical research include adult and child cancers, numerous neurological disorders, immune system weakening, autoimmune disorders [and more].”

An additional study performed by the Susan Lehman Cullman Labratory for Cancer Research found that mice—that had contracted skin cancer from weeks of ultraviolet light exposure—increased their tumor rate from 24% to 95% in 17 weeks after consistent applications of name-brand moisturizers. (Placebo creams had no effect.) Researchers believe that two of the petroleum-derived ingredients found in the moisturizers (sodium lauryl sulfate and mineral oil) promote UVB-induced tumor growth. This means that although many cancer sufferers and fighters believe they are helping their skin by treating with daily moisturizers, they may actually be harming themselves with toxic chemicals.

Petroleum ingredients appear in many common cosmetic products and cleansers, and can be listed as any number of petroleum derivatives. By-products most commonly include mineral oil, paraffin gel, propylene glycol, or PVP/VA Copolymere. Research done by the Environmental Working Group adds that, “Many of the cosmetic industry’s chemical safety assessments reveal that common petroleum-based cosmetic ingredients can be contaminated with a cancer-causing impurity called 1,4-dioxane.” According to natural-product producer Aurora Group, petroleum can be used in everything from lip gloss (as petroleum oil) to nail polish (as solvents like toluene)."