News / Hamilton

Oprah dogged by circumcision protesters over promo of foreskin-derived face cream

Oprah rubbed a group of Vancouver activists the wrong way with her endorsement of a skin cream derived from a baby’s foreskin and now the protest is er… stretching to Ottawa and Hamilton.

The Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project (CANFAP) will hold a protest outside Oprah’s show at Scotiabank Place Wednesday night to condemn her endorsement of SkinMedica products, which contain anti-aging growth factors derived from a circumcised baby’s foreskin.

Oprah’s website only mentions SkinMedica briefly in a 2009 post, but she has promoted it at times over the past decade.

The products, lauded in a variety of beauty magazines, contain growth factors that were bioengineered from a single donation of foreskin more than 10 years ago, SkinMedica spokeswoman Chrissy Baum told Metro Vanncouver in January. The foreskin fibroblasts are cultured in a lab and growth hormones from this process are used in the products.

“It’s not like there’s actual foreskin in the products,” she said.

But one foreskin used is enough to anger CAN-FAP, which takes issue with any circumcision done without consent – something impossible to obtain from an infant. It’s a double standard that circumcising girls younger than 18 is illegal in Canada yet the same practice is done on boys, said Franny Max, an activist with the group.

“If you tied down an adult male and cut off a piece of his penis without his consent you would be charged with aggravated assault,” said Max. “So why is it OK to do that to a baby? Just because he can’t complain? I’ll tell you if the baby could talk he wouldn’t be saying yes.”

Foreskin fibroblasts also have medical purposes, such as re-growing skin for burn victims or helping heal ulcers. The cells can easily be bought online for about $85 a piece.

In Canada, circumcision is not recommended as a medically necessary procedure.

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