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The BBC's Nichola Carslaw
"There is increasing concern about the effect of fruit acid ingredients"
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Tuesday, 8 August, 2000, 12:33 GMT 13:33 UK
Anti-wrinkle creams 'accelerate ageing'
Wrinkle cream treatment
Creams may damage the skin
Skin specialists are warning that anti-wrinkle creams may actually make the skin age more rapidly.

The European Commission is considering tough new limits on ingredients known as AHAs, found in many anti-ageing products.

AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids), also known as fruit acids, work by peeling off the outer layer of the skin to reveal the fresher skin beneath.

They are marketed as a natural way to rejuvenate the skin.

But dermatologists are concerned that the chemicals could cause long-term damage instead.

Research from the US Food and Drug Administration suggests that people who use AHA products have greater sensitivity to the sun's ultra violet rays.

The chemicals appear to increase the number of cells that are damaged, and to stimulate reddening, blistering and burning.

Not only is the European Commission deciding whether to impose a formal limit on the amount of AHAs, it is also considering making it compulsory for products to carry warning labels.

Professor Chris Griffiths
Professor Chris Griffiths said more research was needed

Professor Chris Griffiths, a skin specialist from the University of Manchester, is calling for further studies.

He said: "The studies that have been done to date show some worrying data - but those studies have only been performed over the short term.

"So what is definitely needed are long term studies assessing the long term risk of associated with using these creams on a daily basis as women would do under normal circumstances. "

Professor Griffiths said people using the creams should not necessarily throw them away.

"But if you use them, to use a sun screen of a sun protection factor of 15 or higher and that should be adequate."

Caroline Hogg, beauty editor, Woman magazine, said the products had been available for several years without problems coming to light.

She said: "The milder concentrations that you buy in the shops are under 4% of fruit acid concentration, so they should be pretty safe."

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