Doctors: Vaginal Cream May Be Harmful For Face
Woman Fights Facial Wrinkles With Premarin; Doctors Warn Of Harm
UPDATED: 10:04 am EDT May 9, 2005
BALTIMORE -- In an effort to put her best face forward, one woman decided to use a product on her face that was meant for a different part of the body.
You Put What On Your Face?!
Some Maryland doctors say estrogen found in Premarin causes irritation to the skin.
A guest on the television talk show "Oprah" recently shared her secret to fighting facial wrinkles: vaginal cream.
"I have been putting Premarin vaginal cream on my face for 20 years, and it works," said Vicki Mackarvich.
Oprah Winfrey was a little stunned, but interested, reported WBAL-TV in Baltimore.
So, how did Mackarvich, 58, ever think to use vaginal cream on her face?
"I lived in Florida for a long time, and a dermatologist told me I have very dry skin. I was always in the sun, so he said this would do the trick," she said.
But Maryland dermatologist Dr. Irving Wolfe said estrogen in Premarin causes irritation to the skin.
Wolfe explained Premarin works by "producing a little bit of inflammation, which puffs the skin up temporarily and makes the wrinkles disappear."
But Maryland gynecologist Dr. Terry Hoffman sees the logic in putting Premarin on your face.
"We give it to women who have vaginal atrophy. Atrophy is a response to aging," Hoffman said.
Hoffman said she reviewed some recent studies and found that Mackarvich might not have been too far off the mark.
"I was just looking at a small study done in the last few years that showed an improvement in skin thickness, which we give it for vaginal thinning, and a reduction in wrinkles. So, that all makes sense," Hoffman added.
But is it safe?
Premarin contains estrogen, and long-term estrogen use has come into question.
"Right now, if a woman came and said, 'I saw Oprah, I want to put Premarin on my face,' I don't think I would write a prescription for it," Hoffman said.
Premarin isn't the only thing Mackarvich uses on her face.
"I use that with Preparation H for puffiness, dryness around your eyes. I use that every night, it really seems to work," Mackarvich said.
Preparation H does reduce swelling, but Hoffman said it contains steroids.
"The fact is, the skin under the eyes is very, very sensitive. If you notice a lot of medicines, say 'not around your eyes.' So, I have significant concerns because I believe it has some steroid cream in it and steroid cream thins the skin and it may actually bring out dark circles and things like that," Hoffman said.
"Be advised about what you are doing and that it is kind of nonsensical. There are better things," Wolfe said.
"Personally, if something is meant for my 'hu-ha', I don't think I'm going to put it on my eyes," Hoffman added.
Both doctors agreed that staying out of the sun, in addition to using sunscreen and a good moisturizer, are a better ways to keep skin healthy.