by Dr. Stacy Matthews Branch
Worldwide, people are arming themselves with information on how to achieve health and treat common diseases with natural substances and dietary approaches. There is no doubt that many synthetic pharmaceutical agents can come with an eyebrow-raising list of undesirable adverse effects. This is not only the case with ingested compounds, but with a majority of topical products used to heal skin conditions.
Some common go-to skin healing products contain substances that can actually offer a fresh set of unwanted health effects. A good example is a main ingredient in dandruff shampoos. Many coal tar−containing shampoos are marketed for containing this ingredient to combat dandruff and psoriasis. Although there have been concerns regarding the cancer-causing potential of coal tar, results of studies have not yet uncovered this potential with the use of shampoos and psoriasis treatments. Even so, cancer is not the only concern with coal tar in skin healing products.
Coal tar contains literally thousands of different compounds and has been found to be a photosensitizer. A review of coal tar skin exposure outlines the phototoxic, skin irritating, allergic, and other skin harming effects. This same review article still leaves open the possibility of skin tumor potential with long-term exposures. Common components found in other skin-healing agents such as antifungal and minor skin injury creams can generally seem harmless, but perhaps not so much. A number of leading brands contain benzyl alcohol, a preservative and fragrance that can irritate the skin. Also often found is polysorbate 60, a thickening agent and solvent that can also be a skin irritant.
Opting for a skin product without these ingredients, especially for routine use on bruises and cuts, would help avoid the toxic pitfalls while getting the same healing power. Products containing Matrx B™ have the benefit of natural, skin-friendly ingredients that do not contain the compounds commonly associated with skin irritation, but still has strong healing properties. The conscientiousness in avoiding toxic exposures with diet and ingested medication has gained traction over the last two decades; there’s no reason to doubt that the same principle will go a long way with topical skin-healing substances.
Roelofzen JH, Aben KK, Oldenhof UT, et al. No increased risk of cancer after coal tar treatment in patients with psoriasis or eczema. J Invest Dermatol. 2010;130(4):953-961.
Moustafa GA, Xanthopoulou E, Riza E, Linos A. Skin disease after occupational dermal exposure to coal tar: a review of the scientific literature. Int J Dermatol. 2015;54(8):868-879.
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