Does Cetaphil Skincare Cause Cancer?

In this article, we will take a close look at the popular skincare brand Cetaphil and the concerns raised about its potential link to cancer. We will examine the scientific evidence behind the safety of these products, the role of parabens, and how Cetaphil products can be used in the management of skin conditions related to cancer treatment.
Jakub Hantabal

Jakub Hantabal

Postgraduate student of Precision Cancer Medicine at the University of Oxford, and a data scientist.

A blue image with text saying "Does Cetaphil Skincare Cause Cancer?"

Does Cetaphil Skincare Cause Cancer?

What is Cetaphil?

Cetaphil is a well-known brand of skincare products that are often recommended by dermatologists, particularly for individuals with sensitive skin. The brand offers a range of products, including cleansers, moisturizers, and sunscreens, designed to provide gentle skincare solutions.

One of the key products in the Cetaphil line is the Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser. Due to its mild formulation, this product has very good reviews and is a popular choice for sensitive skin. Another notable product is the DermaControl Moisturizer SPF 30. This product is specifically designed for acne-prone skin, and has a role in treatment of acne vulgaris, recognised by dermatologists. This benefit was also confirmed in scientific studies [1]. Cetaphil products are also useful in management of atopic dermatitis (eczema) in both children and adults, such as the Restoraderm Moirsurizer, which improves the eczema symptoms by increasing skin hydration [2].

Does Cetaphil cause cancer?

There is no evidence obtained via well-designed scientific studies or clinical trials that would link the use of Cetaphil products to development of cancer.

Some critics have expressed concerns about some of the ingredients in the Gentle Cleanser, specifically the presence of parabens. Parabens are commonly used as preservatives in cosmetic products to prevent growth of mould and bacteria. Recent studies have raised concerns concluding a potential role in development of cancer, particularly breast cancer.

A study by Parada et al. found that exposure to parabens may increase the risk of breast cancer - increased presence of methylparaben in urine was associated with an increase in the odds of hypomethylated (vs. hypermethylated) CCND2 promoter-defined breast cancer [3]. Subsequent studies provided insight into the role of paraben and methylparaben in promoting invasiveness of tumours by increased expression of matrix metalloproteases [4]. Matrix metalloproteases are enzymes that degrade the environment surrounding the tumour, allowing it to grow and invade the environment around it. Additional studies on mice with lung cancer exposed to paraben demonstrated an increase in the number of metastases with increased exposure [5].

Additionally, parabens have been found to modulate local estrogen-converting enzymes, 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 1 and 2, and increase local estrogen levels. As estrogen is a major factor in the growth and development of the majority of human breast cancers, this suggests that parabens may contribute to breast cancer development [6].

While these studies provide evidence of a potential link between parabens and cancer development, it’s important to acknowledge that more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms involved and the potential health risks. Additionally, skincare products, including those made by Cetaphil are subject to rigorous testing to meet regulations ensuring that they are safe for use. If you have concerns about a specific product or ingredient, it’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare provider or dermatologist.

There are, however, articles online directly concluding that Cetaphil products are harmful, and even cause cancer. However, it is very important to note that these are not scientific publication verified by the peer-review process (scientific publications such as those cited by articles on the MediSearch blog are subject to peer review, where independent scientists evaluate the quality and scientific rigour of the publication before publishing, and either recommend it for publication or reject it). Therefore, the validity of these online articles can be questioned. However, it is a fact that there is no scientific literature linking Cetaphil products to a risk of cancer.

Can Cetaphil be used as cancer treatment?

The treatment of cancer typically involves a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapies. The treatment is often tailored to the individual patient based on the type, location and stage of the cancer, as well as the patient’s overall health status.

Some of these treatments can induce skin-related side effects such as rashes, dryness or itching. To manage these side effects, products such as Cetaphil are a useful addition to the cancer care the patient is receiving. This should be consulted with a healthcare professional, and recommendations on how to manage these side effects will be given to the patient.

In conclusion, there is no evidence directly implying a role of Cetaphil products in the development of cancer. Cetaphil is a brand with high satisfaction often recommended by dermatologists, often used to manage skin conditions that can arise as side effects of other cancer treatment.

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Jakub Hantabal

Jakub Hantabal

Jakub is a postgraduate student of Precision Cancer Medicine at the University of Oxford, and a data scientist. His research focuses on the impact of hypoxia on genetic and proteomic changes in cancer. Jakub also consults and collaborates with multiple institutions in the United Kingdom and Slovakia supporting research groups with advanced data analysis, and he also co-founded an NGO organising educational events in data science.