Phytoestrogen safety; New oatmeal extract for skincare

Sep 01, 2007, 4:00am

Q. Can oral soy phytoestrogens be used by women with breast cancer to improve skin texture?

Q. Can oral soy phytoestrogens be used by women with breast cancer to improve skin texture?

A. I did not know the answer to this excellent question. However, it appears that my gynecologist and oncologist colleagues also have not reached a consensus on the topic.

It is well-known that women with breast cancer or a strong family history of breast cancer should not take prescription estrogen replacement therapy. This is due to the concern that the hormones might increase the growth of breast cancer metastases or a breast cancer primary lesion. The use of soy phytoestrogens, which are similar but not identical to human hormones, might be a good alternative to the symptoms of menopause.

Q. What is the new oatmeal extract avenanthramide?

A. Oatmeal has been used for many years in its colloidal form in oatmeal baths designed to prevent dehydration in atopic dermatitis patients.

Now, oatmeal extracts in the form of avenanthramide are being rediscovered for their ability to decrease skin redness and itching. A synthesized and stabilized version of avenanthramide, a phenolic oat extract, was developed by Symrise, a raw material supplier to the skincare industry located in Germany.

The active chemical is dihydroavenanthramide E, an inhibitor of histamine. It is stable in the presence of UV radiation and can be easily added to a variety of skin creams. It has a chemical configuration similar to the topical antihistamine Tranilast, perhaps accounting for its anti-itch qualities. Avenanthramide is one of the new botanical ingredients developed to mimic the topical effect of medications.

Q. How do anti-aging facial foundations improve skin appearance?

A. Anti-aging facial foundations improve skin appearance by the presence of light-reflecting particles suspended within the liquid formulation.

The light-reflective material may be mica, fish scale essence, bismuth oxychloride, etc. The reflection of light from the skin surface decreases the appearance of folds and wrinkles that appear dark due to their increased distance from the observer's eye. With the increased amount of light returning to the eye, the skin texture appears smoother and more youthful.

Q. What is a photostable sunscreen?

A. A photostable sunscreen is a sunscreen that does not degrade when exposed to visible light, UVB and UVA radiation. The primary photounstable sunscreen ingredient was avobenzone.

It was completely degraded after five hours of sun exposure. With the development of Helioplex, a combination of Hallbrite TQ, oxybenzone and avobenzone, and the recent Food and Drug Administration approval of ecamsule, also known as Mexoryl, avobenzone has now become a valuable photostable UVA sunscreen.