The Shameless Scam Of Anti-Aging Products: Companies Cashing In On Women's Insecurities
There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age ― Sophia Loren
I am going to be blunt. Anti-aging gimmicks infuriate me. They are as ruthless as those weight loss gimmicks. Why? Because science has not proven that the anti-aging ingredients put in these formulas actually have an active effect on the dermal layer of the skin. In the name of medical science, it looks to date that no cosmetic beauty product can erase the lines, plump the cheeks and lift the brows. It's just a big fat scam that cosmetic companies use to get filthy rich. Savvy marketers are word playing with scientific research and are cashing in on women's insecurities - and lets face it.... there is lots of money to be made. Anti-aging products are just another ugly truth behind the cosmetic industry.
Anti-aging products are significantly more expensive than ‘regular’ beauty products but are still drastically more affordable and easier than Botox or plastic surgery. The labels of anti-aging products boast words like ‘clinical strength’ and ‘dermatologist tested’ which lead consumers to believe that the products are safe and effective. Unfortunately that isn’t the case.
Science Sells: The Quacks And The Hacks
Bottom line is that companies use very broad science research to sell a product. "Clinically tested" "Boost Oxygen Microcirculation" are just words to decorate and sell a product - they are meaningless. The truth is that companies rarely publish studies showing their products are effective, said dermatologist Dr. Vesna Petronic-Rosic of the University of Chicago Medical Centre
Phys.org published [source]
Many companies cite scientific evidence that anti-aging ingredients work, but they decline to provide those studies or to show that the product contains enough of the ingredient to have an effect.
Take, for example, "The Youth As We Know It Moisture Cream" from Bliss, which sells for $79 for 1.7 ounces at Sephora. The package says the cream contains the "10 most important anti-aging ingredients we've found in 10 years of giving 'great face.'"The label also says it helps to "promote collagen production," "boost oxygen microcirculation" and "improve skin's firmness," among other things.
Asked to provide scientific studies showing that the anti-aging ingredients work, Bliss spokeswoman Brooke Temner wrote in an e-mail: "There are studies on the raw materials executed by our raw material suppliers that demonstrate the ingredients' functionality, however, Bliss is not at liberty to share this proprietary information."
So while the label may be full of words that sound complex and scientific, you're just buying some savvy copyediting. When you break down all the fluff - all you're getting is nothing more than moisturising and exfoliating.
Only Prescription Products Bring Long Term Change
Since the terminology on many anti-aging products sound technical, consumers can be forgiven for thinking they're buying something close to medicine, however if these creams actually did change the fundamental structure of your skin tissue, they'd have to be classified as a drug. Such a classification requires years of expensive testing and federal approval.
For an over the counter drug classification the product must permanently alter the appearance of the skin; if the effects wear off after discontinued use the product is classified as a cosmetic. It is in the best interest of the cosmetic companies to have their products classified as cosmetics, as the government agencies only regulate over the counter drug products. The bottom line is that if these anti-aging creams could accomplish the same thing as a medical procedure, they would be drugs and not cosmetics.
Once a product is classified as a cosmetic the companies turn around and market it to consumers as an over the counter drug. The government agencies very rarely interfere with these deceptive marketing tactics and have no authority to pull cosmetic products off the market. Companies are free to make whatever claim they’d like about their products without submitting evidence to back them up. This leaves consumers in a very vulnerable situation.
Taking A Closer Look At The Common Anti-Aging Ingredients/Terms
Maybe you are not convinced that anti-aging products don't work? After all you have seen short term miracle results with that new eye cream your work colleague told you to get. Well short term is right - and thats where it will stay. If you stop using the product your skin will go back to what it was prior, or in some cases you may have even done more damage than good. Lets have a closer look with what is happening to your skin:
Wrinkle Reducing/Line Eraser: Yes you can make wrinkles less deep and plump out fine lines. Its called hydration and its not rocket science. When you apply moisture to your skin it is absorbed to the dermal layer, the moisture then plumps out the skin, temporarily lessening the appearance of the lines and wrinkles. However; a cheap moisturiser with no 'magic' ingredients can also instantly make wrinkles less deep. So don't be fooled by expensive products offering an instant effect - you can get the same from any decent moisturiser or natural face oil. Alternatively, for longterm plumpness drink plenty of water and reduce your caffeine intake.
Alpha-Hydroxy Acids: Known in the beauty industry as lactic, glycolic and citric acids; these are natural ingredients that come from fruits and milk sugars. When applied to the skin they exfoliate and shed dead and dull skin, allowing new skin to come to the surface. Used regularly these acids cause the skin to come to the surface faster which in turn speeds up the cycle of skin turnover causing the skin to look more youthful almost instantly. However, the use of these acids leaves the skin more vulnerable to UV rays, resulting in increased skin damage; the combination of anti-aging products and sunlight can actually speed up the aging process.
The truth is that your skin has a natural shedding cycle [usually every 28 days]; with or without your help it will do its own thing where old cells will fall away and reveal new healthy cells underneath. You can aid this process by using a non-acid exfoliator, exfoliating cloth, body brush or face brush which will remove dead skin at a more natural rate that isn't detrimental to your skins well-being.
Peptides: Your skin becomes thinner and loses collagen as you age, resulting in it to sag and develop fine lines. Peptides are small proteins that help stimulate the growth and repair of cells. Research has not proven these to work as an anti-aging property when added to skin formulations. To help build more collagen in your skin drink green juices and smoothies daily and eat a plant-based diet low in refined salts, sugars and carbs.
Retinol: Touted as a tried-and-true method for decreasing signs of aging, retinol, a natural form of vitamin A, works by reducing the appearance of wrinkles and boosts the thickness and elasticity of the skin. There is research to prove that retinol does work. However, the small amount available in over the counter formulations will do nothing. You need a prescription from your doctor or dermatologist for a more potent form of retinol, called tretinoin (sometimes sold under the brand name Retin-A). Please note that women who are pregnant or plan to get pregnant should avoid using any form of vitamin A, because it may increase the risk of birth defects.
Antioxidants: Commonly claimed to help fight cell damage from free radicals, antioxidants are found in many foods, including fruits, vegetables and nuts. And yes they are a powerful healer when it comes to both skin, health and general well-being. However; when it comes to metabolising the benefits of antioxidants it's the formulation of the antioxidants that is critical, and getting your antioxidant dose through whole foods is the best way by far.
Elastin: Responsible for keeping our skin taunt and firm. However; elastin vary rarely comes back after it has been damaged, even with medical procedures elastin can rarely be repaired. So all those beauty products that claim to have elastin and promise to lift and tighten - no chance. Almost without exception, when you buy a product claiming to tighten skin, its effects, if any, are due to ingredients such as film-forming agents. Just like the name states, film-forming agents form a film on the skin which make the skin "feel" tighter. The effect is temporary and you won't see noticeable lifting of sagging skin, but the sensation is often enough to convince women that the product is working.
Collagen: Almost all anti-aging products boast that they contain collagen to help rebuild the structure of your skin, however the collagen formulation found in these products cannot fuse with the collagen in your skin. The molecular sizes of the collagen found in such products is way to large to penetrate the skin's surface. In some products, the collagen is supposedly "reengineered" to be made small enough so it can be absorbed into the skin, but even if nano-sized, these ingredients still will not fuse with the collagen in your skin.
Anti-aging products also contain all of the same harmful, unregulated ingredients as ‘regular’ products.
So you are paying premium price for your anti-aging products - you would expect a premium product? Well sadly no. Expensive anti-aging products are filled with all the toxic chemicals and fillers that cheaper products contain. In your 'so called liquid gold' you will find a variety of ingredients such as:
- BHA and BHT. Synthetic antioxidants commonly added to moisturizers and make up. BHA is considered an endocrine disruptor and interferes with healthy hormone function. It is also classified as a carcinogen. BHT has been proven to cause liver, thyroid and kidney damage and lung conditions in test animals.
- Parabens. Commonly used in cosmetics as a preservative. Parabens are naturally present in some foods and are metabolized by the digestive system when eaten. Cosmetic parabens, however, are synthetically derived from petrochemicals and absorbed through the skin directly into the blood stream. Synthetic parabens mimic estrogen, causing disruption to hormone regulation. Paraben exposure can severely alter male fertility. The combination of methylparaben in anti-aging products and UV rays increases skin aging and causes DNA damage.
- Formaldehyde. Known for preserving dead tissues, is also added to anti-aging products. Formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasing chemicals such as methenamine and sodium hydroxymethlyglycinate are both absorbed through the skin and inhaled through the lungs as the products evaporate. Exposure to these chemicals has been linked to many types of cancer.
- PEGS. Anti-aging products also contain several chemical moisturising agents that are detrimental to overall health. Polyethylene glycols, often listed as PEGs on product labels, are petroleum based chemicals used in cream based cosmetics products. The chemicals act as a moisture carrier, allowing the product to be absorbed into the skin. PEGs can cause skin irritation and are often contaminated with ethylene oxide and other carcinogens.
- Siloxanes. Another set of chemicals added to anti-aging products to provide moisture. These chemicals are silicone based. Products that advertise softening or smoothing of hair or skin most likely contain siloxanes. These chemicals cause hormone disruption, interference with the immune system, and uterine tumors that may cause infertility.
- Petrolatum. Added to products to lock in the moisture provided by siloxanes and PEGs. In addition to locking harmful chemicals in the skin, petrolatum can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, also known as PAHs. PAHs have been associated with many types of cancer.
- Triclosan. Commonly found in anti-aging cleansers. Anything claiming to have anti-bacterial properties most likely contains triclosan. Triclosan is absorbed through the skin causing hormone disruption. It can also be very irritating to skin and eyes. In addition, triclosan has a very long life and can accumulate in the environment in toxic levels.
- SLES. Sodium laureth sulfate, often listed as SLES, is another chemical cleanser added to anti-aging products. Sodium laureth sulfate is responsible for lathering in anti-aging cleansers. SLES can cause skin and eye irritation. More disturbingly SLES is often contaminated with ethylene oxide and dioxane during the manufacturing process. Ethylene oxide and dioxane are also linked to many types of cancer.
- Diethanolamine. Referred to as DEA. Sometimes the related chemicals monoethanolamide (MEA) and triethandoamine (TEA) are used as well. These chemicals counter act the acidic properties of the other chemical ingredients and balance the ph level of the product. DEA and related chemicals can cause skin and eye irritation, liver cancer, and precancerous changes to the skin and thyroid.
I want to grow old without facelifts... I want to have the courage to be loyal to the face I've made. Sometimes I think it would be easier to avoid old age, to die young, but then you'd never complete your life, would you? You'd never wholly know you -Marilyn Monroe
Long term use and overuse of anti-aging products can permanently change skin texture. Users may experience dry skin, unwanted skin pigmentation, and acne outbreaks. The speeding up of the natural skin shedding cycle can even thin skin to the point that facial blood vessels become visible. The sad truth is that many of these products cause more damage than they claim to repair.
Safe ingredients for skin care products include aloe-vera, coconut oil, essential oils and unrefined butters like cocoa, shea and mango. Products that contain at least 95% organic food product are regulated by the USDA and contain little to no harmful chemicals.
Studies have shown that the answer to slowing down the signs of aging isn’t found in any bottle. A healthy diet, moderate exercise, proper hydration, and avoidance of the sun have a much greater effect on skin appearance than any cosmetic product.
So my tip: spend less money on anti-aging products and more on living a healthier and fuller life.
Resources You May Like:
- Debunk the science of 'clinically proven and tested' and read Dr. Ben Goldacre's book "Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks and Big Pharma Flacks" [Click Here]