Oprah and the Can-FAP

Ever heard of the Can-FAP? Don’t worry, I hadn’t either, until I came across this unbelievable story. Well, it’s the Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project. Yes, that’s correct, we’re talking about penises. Founded by a man named John Callender, it’s Canada’s newest—didn’t know there was a history of these organizations?—pro-foreskin advocacy group. With the intent to provide education and appreciation for foreskin, Callender wants to overturn the Canadian Criminal Code. This code protects female minors from medically unnecessary genital cutting before the age of 18, but not boys. He believes circumcision is mutilation and that a boy should have the right to choose whether he is circumcised or not. Callender and his men were up in arms recently over a certain beauty product and its #1 fan, the incomparable Oprah.

Publically glorified by Oprah as the “magic fountain of youth,” SkinMedica TNS Recovery Complex is being used by people around the world as a highly effective anti-aging treatment. Though it’s also taken on its fair share of criticism over its use of infant foreskins: TNS contains an ingredient called Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media, which is said to be “engineered” from human foreskin.

If you take the time to read through it all, there’s a long line of “derived from” and “engineered through” with no mention of what some people assumed would be a simple snip and mix into a cream. Now it all seems a little confusing, but I’ll will try and keep it as simple as possible.

Fibroblast is a cell that plays a critical role in wound healing and collagen production. Neonatal fibroblast is the cell commonly derived from a baby’s foreskin. In the early 90’s, a company called Advanced Tissue Sciences invented a way to use the cells in a skin overlay to help produce collagen and other biological elements to heal wounds. Although ATS became financially insolvent, SkinMedica now employs ATS’s fibroblast process, discarding the cells but using the protein-rich culture in its products.

So there’s no tissue involved, and it’s not even using cells to help generate other cells, merely a hormone. And you know what’s also NOT shocking about it all? The original company that supplied SkinMedica with the hormone grew cultures from a SINGLE foreskin donated 15 years earlier!

SkinMedica’s founder Dr. Fitzpatrick says that using foreskins was simply a choice of convenience. “It doesn’t matter if you get a fibroblast from the eyelid, the cheek, the foot or the foreskin,” he stated. “That cell is still a fibroblast; it does the same thing. Foreskins were used because circumcision is a common procedure and the skin is thrown away, so why not use it for benefits?”

This isn’t a new thing, either. Dermatologists have been praising SkinMedica’s TNS Essential Serum and continue to do so because it works to stimulate cell regeneration! The whole process of how it’s made isn’t anything like what some on the internet would lead you to believe, and obviously those trying to attack Oprah would say gruesome things like “chopped up organs.” This really is just a case of misinformation and an overreaction by a group of people who sensed an opportunity to grab publicity. And who better to pull this on, shunning a billionaire beloved by everyone on the planet? 

I really don’t understand where this group is coming from. Circumcision of a baby boy is in no way mutilation. To even suggest it as such and dare compare it to the actual devastating mutilation of women genitalia that does still occur in some parts of the world is disgraceful. I’m an advocate of the circumcision and always will be. I hold no grudges against my Ma and Pa, and in no way do I consider it mutilation, rather an informed decision by parents who are only thinking of their child’s best interests.   


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