National report — A new class of anti-aging ingredients, that upregulate the expression of the protein aquaporin-3 (AQP3), have been linked to skin tumor formation, according to a study published in the journal of Experimental Dermatology.
AQP3 is a membrane protein that plays a role in water movement in and out of cells, Cosmetics design-europe.com reports. This protein is found in human cells, and is thought to take part in the movement of water and glycerol across skin cell membranes. Many cosmetic companies have jumped to include the ingredient in products to improve skin moisture.
However, according to the lead researcher, human squamous cell carcinoma strongly expresses the AQP3 protein. Lab test in mice have shown those lacking the AQP3 protein do not form tumors, while those that do form multiple tumors when put under the same tumor-inducing conditions.
Data is not yet sufficient to make definite conclusions, researchers report.