The American Academy of Dermatology and the American College of Dermetologists recommend against aluminum fluoride for people with acne, a review of the scientific literature has found.
The Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry has recommended against aluminum for use on facial hair, but in the current review, researchers found no conclusive evidence that aluminum causes acne.
“There is no evidence that exposure to aluminum has a significant adverse effect on the development of acne,” said lead author Dr. Maryanne J. Pfeifer, a dermatologist at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
The American Academy, which has reviewed the literature for the Academy, said it’s not clear whether aluminum causes skin irritation, particularly in children, but said there is a need for further research.
The academy said it will be reviewing the findings in more detail in the coming weeks.
“It’s clear that aluminum may cause acne, but there is not enough information to conclude that aluminum exposure causes acne,” Dr. Richard M. Ehrlich, a professor of dermatology at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, said in a statement.
“Aluminum can cause acne in people, but it’s more likely that the acne develops in the context of systemic inflammation, particularly with respect to the sebaceous glands and the skin itself,” he added.
“The current evidence is not strong enough to recommend against use of aluminum fluoride in people with skin conditions like acne.”
Dr. James C. Dorn, a consultant dermatologist and professor of cosmetic dentistry at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, said he was not surprised by the finding.
“It’s a concern, but that’s where I would place it,” he said.
“I think this finding is pretty surprising,” he told ABC News.
“People who use aluminum in a cosmetic product are going to be at risk of having acne.”
Aluminum, which is used as a color additive, is found in everything from baby powder to cosmetics and in some foodstuffs.
But Dr. Pye-Kang Lee, a cosmetic dermatologist in San Francisco, said the findings don’t necessarily suggest that aluminum should be avoided in the face.
“We don’t know what effect aluminum may have on the skin,” she said.
“Theoretically, it could cause acne or maybe even damage the skin.”
Dr Lee said she had never heard of anyone developing acne from exposure to any aluminum-containing cosmetic products.
“People who have gotten it in their products and don’t want to be bothered with it, that’s a different story,” she told ABC.
“If people are looking for a cosmetic solution that can help them with their skin condition, I would not suggest using it,” Dr Lee added.
Dr. Pae said it was possible that aluminum in the form of a toothpaste might be causing acne.
“A lot of people have used toothpastes with aluminum in them that could cause some problems,” she explained.
Dr Pae added that it was still unclear how much aluminum was actually present in a toothbrush or toothpaste, or how much it could affect the skin.
The research was published in the journal Dermatologic Surgery.