Studies show some of the chemicals in coal tar may cause cancer, but only in very high concentrations, such as in what is used in industrial paving. Anyone using tar regularly should follow a regular skin cancer checkup schedule. California requires OTC coal tar shampoos, lotions and creams that contain more than percent coal tar to be labeled with cancer warnings. However, the FDA maintains that OTC products with coal tar concentrations between percent and 5 percent are safe and effective for psoriasis, and there is no scientific evidence that the tar in OTC products is carcinogenic.
“One of my favorite retinols utilizes only % retinol in a special microbead formulation that helps penetrate the skin deeper with less skin irritation and less flaking. As an added bonus, it contains melaplex, a hydroquinone-free skin-brightening complex, that diminishes the appearance of dark spots and evens out skin tone. We recommend our patients start applying retinol two to three times a week, just before bedtime and slowly progress to nightly as tolerated.” ––Ulysses Scarpidis , New York City plastic surgeon, Scarpidis Aesthetics