Newborn foreskin used in cosmetics? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 08-31-2004, 06:34 PM - Thread Starter
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I hope this url goes through, but I'll also post part of the article. It comes from, of all places, a cosmetics newsletter. It talks about newborn's foreskins being used in cosmetics. The author's light take on this issue disturbs me, but I suppose her only concern is how well it'll fight wrinkles. : Anyway, is this old news? What do you think? (article is halfway down)

TNS Recovery Complex

Over the past few weeks several reporters have asked me about neonatal human foreskin tissue and its use in skin-care products as an antiwrinkle ingredient. It was difficult not to laugh out loud. About a hundred jokes went through my mind, none of which would have been appropriate during an interview. So after I regained control of myself, I realized I had actually reviewed this ingredient before, because it is also sold under the trade name NouriCel. It isn't really human foreskin, but the medium or "soup," so to speak, that is used to develop and grow cells harvested from human foreskin. The interest here is that this soup, which encourages cell growth of human foreskin in a petri dish, is said to have the same benefit when applied topically to skin, meaning it can make more skin cells or grow more collagen.

What I first wrote about this ingredient is basically still true--the only research showing that this ingredient has an effect on wrinkles or builds collagen for healthy skin is generated by Advanced Tissue Sciences, the company that manufactures and licenses this ingredient to cosmetics companies. For now, it is used primarily in products like TNS Recovery Complex (TNS is “Tissue Nutrient Solution”), sold by SkinMedica ( Despite the company's insistence that SkinMedica can be sold only in doctors' offices, it is readily available on the Internet and can also be found in spas and salons.

NouriCel, technically called "human fibroblast conditioned media," is created by taking a newborn male's foreskin cells. These cells are put through a process that produces ingredients to generate new skin growth and stimulate collagen production. According to Advanced Tissue Sciences, "When applied topically, fibroblast conditioned media rejuvenates the skin by replenishing it with the same natural human growth factors, antioxidants, soluble collagens, and matrix proteins that newborn skin makes, but that aging skin produces less efficiently and sometimes in smaller quantities. As a result, this efficacious ingredient fights the visible signs of aging by reducing wrinkle number and depth, diminishing the number of fine lines, improving the appearance of sun damaged skin, and enhancing skin texture and elasticity." Unfortunately, there are no published studies that support Advanced Tissue Sciences' assertions.

The lack of published studies, however, doesn't mean there is no science behind the use of human fibroblast conditioned media. The FDA approved Advanced Tissue Sciences' use of human fibroblast conditioned media for diabetic-induced, chronic, ulcerated wound-healing under the name DermaGraft ( A study published in Wound Repair and Regeneration, July 2003, page 297, stated that "The exact mechanisms of action of ... [human fibroblast conditioned media] and their effects on wound healing at a cellular level are yet to be fully defined." Still, the study concluded that human fibroblast conditioned media definitely helped create new blood vessels. Whether or not that benefit, or any benefit, translates to its use in a cosmetic mixed with other cosmetic ingredients is at this point a leap of faith. For now, whether or not baby foreskin is the new miracle skin-care ingredient is still an unknown.
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#2 of 5 Old 08-31-2004, 09:26 PM
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Yes, babies body parts are used in cosmetics, medical products and for laboratory testing. These are not even dead babies or what is removed during surgical procedures and diseased or defective. There are perfectly formed body parts that contribute as much as 40% of the baby's future sexuality.

The topic has been discussed here several times but it can always stand being discussed again. Thanks for bringing it up.

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#3 of 5 Old 09-04-2004, 12:35 AM
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OMG, I am absolutely horrified at this!!!

How can people do something so horribly unethical!!! Its a shame that the people paying money for this product don't know what's really in it.

Non Practicing Midwife, going back to school! Mamma to my 3 loves, living each day to the fullest.
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#4 of 5 Old 09-04-2004, 11:10 AM
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A lot of them do know what's in it and buy it anyway. These companies have been on TV shows such as "The Ophra Show" and have told what is in them. There have been numerous letters written to Ophra and she continues to put these shows on anyway. There have also been numerous letters written to the manufacturers of these products. They are feeling the pressure and are trying to hide the contents of their products with confusing scientific langage in the ingredients listing but the FDA requires they list the ingredients and that gives them little lattitude. Instead of listing "human foreskins," they list it as "fibroblasts" and other misleading language. What they don't have to list is that human infant foreskins are used in testing in their research laboratories. We know for a fact that some are lying about the use of infant foreskins for testing to avoid the heat and bad publicity.

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#5 of 5 Old 02-04-2008, 01:24 AM
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I heard of this a little while ago and it's so sad that not only are infants being altered without their consent, but people are making large amounts of money on their body parts without them receiving any portion of the profits over the coarse of several decades. This sort of thing should definitely be illegal. If they want to use the donated foreskins from people who agree to being circumcised, it's fine by me, but respect human rights and leave infants intact. Fibroblasts can be cultured from other tissues than foreskin.

I'm 19, circumcised, and seeking justice.
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