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. 2015 May;25(3):271-7.
doi: 10.1038/jes.2014.32. Epub 2014 May 21.

Estrogenic and Anti-Estrogenic Activity of Off-The-Shelf Hair and Skin Care Products

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Free PMC article

Estrogenic and Anti-Estrogenic Activity of Off-The-Shelf Hair and Skin Care Products

Sharon L Myers et al. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Use of personal care products is widespread in the United States but tends to be greater among African Americans than whites. Of special concern is the possible hazard of absorption of chemicals with estrogenic activity (EA) or anti-EA (AEA) in these products. Such exposure may have adverse health effects, especially when it occurs during developmental windows (e.g., prepubertally) when estrogen levels are low. We assessed the ethanol extracts of eight commonly used hair and skin products popular among African Americans for EA and AEA using a cell proliferation assay with the estrogen sensitive MCF-7:WS8 cell line derived from a human breast cancer. Four of the eight personal care products tested (Oil Hair Lotion, Extra-dry Skin Lotion, Intensive Skin Lotion, Petroleum Jelly) demonstrated detectable EA, whereas three (Placenta Hair Conditioner, Tea-Tree Hair Conditioner, Cocoa Butter Skin Cream) exhibited AEA. Our data indicate that hair and skin care products can have EA or AEA, and suggest that laboratory studies are warranted to investigate the in vivo activity of such products under chronic exposure conditions as well as epidemiologic studies to investigate potential adverse health effects that might be associated with use of such products.

Conflict of interest statement

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

C.Z.Y. is employed by and owns stock in CertiChem (CCi). GDB owns stock in and is a consultant CEO of CCi. All authors had freedom to design, conduct, interpret, and publish research uncompromised by any controlling sponsor All other authors declare no conflict of interest.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
(a) Log concentration (moles, abscissa) versus normalized EA (%, ordinate) calculated as given in Equation 1 for E2 as the positive control. Each data point and associated error bars in this and other figures is the normalized mean ± SD of three wells on the same plate. (SD is often so small that error bars are hidden by the symbol plotting the mean.) Unfilled squares and solid line: concentration–response curve for E2. Filled squares and solid line: concentration–response curve for E2 plus 10−8 M ICI to confirm that estrogenic activity is suppressed by an inhibitor of estrogen receptor binding. Filled downward triangle joined by dotted line: VC + 3SD. (b) Log concentration (moles, abscissa) versus normalized AEA (%, ordinate) calculated as given in Equation 2 for ICI as the positive control. Unfilled squares and solid line: concentration–response curve for ICI plus low (4 × 10−12 M) E2. Filled squares and solid line: concentration–response curve for ICI plus high (10−9 M) E2 to confirm that any suppression of estrogenic activity in low E2 is reversed by high E2. Filled downward triangles joined by dotted line: low E2 + 3SD.
Figure 2
Figure 2
(a–i) Dilution–response curves for EA for each of four Hair or four Skin Product extracts as indicated, based on the normalized mean ± SD of three wells on the same plate. (SD is often so small that error bars are hidden by the symbol plotting the mean). Ordinate: normalized EA response (%RME2); Abcissa: extraction dilution. Panels (d, f–i) show confirmation assay for products exhibiting detectable EA. Filled downward triangle joined by dotted line: VC + 3SD. Unfilled square and solid line: concentration–response curve for extracts. Filled squares and solid line: concentration–response curve for the extract plus 10−8 M ICI to confirm that estrogenic activity of the extract is suppressed by an inhibitor of estrogen receptor binding. T: concentrations exhibiting cytotoxicity by visual observations.
Figure 3
Figure 3
(a–i) Dilution–response curves for AEA for each of four Hair or four Skin Product extracts, based on the normalized mean ± SD of three wells on the same plate. (SD is often so small that error bars are hidden by the symbol plotting the mean). Ordinate: normalized AEA response (%RMICI); Abcissa: extraction dilution. Panels b, c & e show AEA Confirmation Assays for these products having detectable AEA. Filled downward triangles joined by dotted line: low E2 + 3SD. Unfilled squares and solid line: AEA concentration–response curve for extracts plus low E2. Filled squares and solid line: concentration–response curve for extract plus high E2 to confirm that anti-estrogenic activity of the extract is reversed by adding a higher concentration of E2. T: concentrations exhibiting cytotoxicity by visual observations.

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