Q. A friend recently told me that she used a vaginal cream as her facial moisturizer. Have you ever heard of this and is it dangerous?
A. If the vaginal cream contains estrogen, she could be getting a much higher hormone dose than her doctor intended. Premarin cream, for example, is absorbed from the vagina into the blood stream (JAMA, Dec. 14, 1979). Other hormonal creams such as Estrace can also raise blood levels of estrogen (Annals of Oncology, April 2006; Menopause, Jan., 2009). Smearing such a cream on the face, neck, arms or upper chest is likely to add significantly to the dose.
Readers have suggested many other unusual products that could be used as facial moisturizers. Some are enthusiastic about old-fashioned Prep H against wrinkles. Others prefer products such as Acid Mantle or Udderly Smooth Cream (made by Redex Industries, a sponsor of our radio show). None of those are really as strange as some pricey commercial products containing snail slime.