Face Creams and Skin Aging
Let’s face it. Face creams will not “reset the skin’s aging clock.” Nor will they “restructure complexion from within,” “provide repair action to the core of each wrinkle” or “reeducate the skin to look like young skin.” But is the sort of hype we have become accustomed to seeing from cosmetics manufacturers who compete for the close to 300 billion dollars that consumers around the world shell out every year for over-the-counter beauty products. Some fork out more than a thousand dollars for a month’s supply of the latest cream that claims to reverse aging. Do they get anything in return other than attractive packaging and empty promises? By and large, yes. They’re getting products that improve the appearance of the skin mostly by their moisturizing action. Throw in some sunscreen and they get to reduce photoaging. And above all, they get to feel good about themselves.
In general, the more consumers spend, the better they feel. After all, expensive products must perform better than cheap ones, right? Not necessarily. Consumer’s Union repeatedly finds that women have strong likes and dislikes when it comes to testing products in blinded trials, but there is no correlation with price. Some like the cheaper creams, some the more expensive ones. It comes down to personal preferences about scent, texture and feel on the skin. As far as marketing goes, “no preservatives added” seems to be in. Kind of bizarre. I’d prefer my cosmetics not to be a playground for bacteria. And I have no issues with parabens. They are excellent antimicrobial agents. Yes, they do have estrogenic activity in the lab, but at least 10,000 fold less than estradiol, the body’s own estrogen. Based on maximum daily exposure estimates, it seems implausible that parabens would have any effect on health. Their absence, however, could.