Health risks of using anti-ageing products

Anti-ageing products sell like hotcakes. But the fact is that they may do more harm than good. According to health experts, anti-ageing creams used by millions of women worldwide could increase their risk of cancer.

Ariba Khaliq
Fashion & BeautyWritten by: Ariba KhaliqPublished at: Jul 11, 2015
Health risks of using anti-ageing products

It’s easy to be captivated by alluring promises made by anti-ageing products. After all, who wouldn’t want a cream to fight those pesky free radicals and stimulate skin’s natural collagen production? According to the American Academy of Dermatology, consumers spend billions of dollars every year on such creams and lotions.

Side effects of anti-ageing creams

Anti-ageing products can be tricky

Women need to understand that many creams, lotions and vitamin supplements in the market that claim to reduce wrinkles and slow down premature ageing don’t have sufficient evidence to prove their claims. While some active ingredients used in anti-ageing products are safe and effective, the trick is to find a product with the right ingredients that also work well with your skin.

Also knows as “cosmeceuticals,” anti-ageing products modify the physical structure of skin with chemicals so as to lend you a more youthful skin. But, that look comes at the cost of your skin and more so your health.

FDA does not recognize a category as cosmeceuticals, which refer to age-defying products. Obviously, this class of topically applied products aren’t subjected to the range of rigorous clinical studies that the FDA requires of prescription drugs. In short, there’s scant evidence that these so-called age-defying cosmetics actually work.

How anti-ageing products harm you

Anti-ageing products can actually do more harm than good. They typically contain hydroxyl acids, which work to increase permeability of skin and allow anti-ageing ingredients to pass through. Unfortunately, this translates to robbing the skin of its protective layers. This makes you susceptible to sunburn and malignant melanoma.


Bisbolol is another ingredient found in anti-ageing products, which has similar use and effect. Limonene, also commonly found in age-defying products is not just an irritant but also a carcinogen. All these chemicals present in cosmetic products have been found in biopsies from breast tumours. Infamous for disturbing the hormone function, they should especially be avoided by pregnant women.

According to Dr Sam Epstein, chairman of the US Cancer Prevention Coalition, the active ingredient alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), found in many leading brands of facial creams, are “probably the most dangerous cosmetic products on the market”.

Dr Epstein, who is Professor emeritus of environmental and occupational health at the University of Illinois, added: “Anything that strips the surface of the skin not only risks sunlight penetrating the exposed layer but also allows other toxic products in. All of the toxic effects are massively increased by AHAs.”

Dermatologists and experts say that good skincare habits are better than resorting to anti-ageing products. Take the natural route to building your skin’s elasticity and overall health. Drink enough water, exfoliate and moisturize properly and apply sunscreen liberally.

Image Source: Getty

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