7 Lies About Anti-ageing Creams. Believe Them At Your Own Risk.
For many years now, cosmetic companies have claimed to reverse the signs of ageing overnight. They claim to have included clinically tested chemicals that display extraordinary results in repairing skin and bringing it back to its former glory. The fact is, these claims are hardly true and most anti ageing products present in the market have modest effects (at best) and are exorbitantly overpriced. The more worrying fact is women all over the world are buying into these false claims and are spending billions of dollars on products that hardly make any difference.
The reason these companies are able to get away with it is because the FDA distinguishes between cosmetics and drugs. Only the latter is subject to rigorous testing before being made available to the public as prescription drugs. Cosmetics on the other hand, contain these chemicals in minute amounts and are not subject to FDA testing, or approval. Moreover, the minute amount of chemicals, which may be effective in large concentrations, are usually not enough to make any lasting differences to the skin health. Here are 7 lies that skincare companies work hard to keep hidden from you:
The Truth about Collagen
Most anti ageing products claim to deliver whole collagen molecules to the deepest layers of the skin. Collagen is the protein responsible for maintaining suppleness of the skin and preventing sagginess. There is just one problem, through millions of years of evolution, our skin has become virtually impenetrable. Virtually because it can still be penetrated by cuts and bites from insects and other organisms, but chemical molecules and or microorganisms cannot penetrate the epidermal layer of the skin, unless present in large concentrations. What this means for you, is that products that claim to restore the collagen concentration in the skin simply won’t be able to accomplish the claim.
Most anti ageing products contain Hydroxy acids. They have two functions pertaining skin health:
- Alpha-Hydroxy acids act as exfoliants, that remove dead skin cells from the epidermal layer and create ideal conditions for new skin cells to grow.
- These acids also enlarge pores of the skin to facilitate the delivery of rest of the ingredients of a cream or lotion. While this has short term positive effects, in the longer run it diminishes the skin’s protective layer that prevents damage from UV radiations, causing irritation and skin burns.
It is therefore advised to use liberal amounts of sunscreen to make the best of alpha-hydroxy acid containing products.
Retinol- The Hyped Up Vitamin
Retinol is an ingredient present in quite a few of over-the-counter anti ageing products. Retinol, a naturally occurring form of vitamin A, has been scientifically proven to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and increase elasticity and thickness in the skin. However, dramatic results can only be achieved through prescription strength retinol which has a number of side effects like, tingling, stinging, and even burning sensations in skin. Moderate concentrations also have positive effects on skin health, but with consistent use. That means, you should look for over-the-counter products that contain moderate concentrations of retinol and maintain consistency of use to see visible and lasting results.
Peptides- Superficial Repairs
Similar to whole collagen molecules, peptides are long chains of amino acids that maintain elasticity and moisture inside the skin. However, the problem with peptides is similar to the problem with collagen molecules, the molecules are too large to effectively penetrate skin to make real difference. Although a number of anti ageing products contain peptides, their effectiveness is still debatable. However, peptides can provide temporary hydration to the skin, and regular application has no side effects. The temporary hydration reduces smile lines and wrinkles until the next time you wash your face.
Resveratrol- The Reason an Occasional Glass of Wine is Healthy
Resveratrol, a naturally occurring plant compound, is present in red wine, a number of anti ageing products and is also available as a supplement. While it is true that wine owes the health benefits associated with it to Resveratrol, its effectiveness in improving skin health is yet to be proven. So far, the most promising test with resveratrol was conducted on a sample of mice, when moderate concentrations showed age-related decline. The 2008 study, that was published in Cell Metabolism doesn’t say much about its effect on human beings. It is thus advisable to avoid products that contain resveratrol, and get your necessary dose of the compound through that glass of wine instead.
Touted as a tried-and-true method of fighting off free radicals, Antioxidants can be found in most anti ageing formulas. Free radicals are molecules that damage skin cells and increase inflammation in the epidermis. These are also known to increase the risk of cancer in women. Antioxidants occur naturally in many food products including many fruits, vegetables and nuts. However, when it comes to skin, the composition and type of antioxidants matter. Vitamin C and Vitamin E are most widely used and tested forms of antioxidants. Therefore, you should only use products that contain these antioxidants.
Have you ever seen one of those skin care commercials where an Australian Supermodel is flaunting flawless skin and attributing it to the product featured in the ad? Or one of those where a 50 year old actress thanks a skin care product for her timeless skin? All of them are lies! The Australian supermodel has probably gone under a knife (which is absolutely not advisable) and the 50 year old actress does not look that young, it is not the magic of some miracle anti ageing product, it is the magic of photoshop! It is not humanly possible to have that kind of skin at 50. It is as simple as that. On top of all of this false advertising, these companies price their products like gold. They cost pennies to produce and are sold at $100 price tags. It is important to understand all this and not fall for these advertisements.
Instead, it feels much better to accept that you are going to age, and there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, for the most part, it is in your control if you are going to age beautifully. Just follow a great skin care routine, apply lots of sunscreen, improve your sleeping and eating habits, and hope your genes work in your favor. If you are going to use skin care products, only use the ones with all natural ingredients, and do not expect them to deliver dramatic results, it isn’t possible without botox injections or cosmetic surgery (absolutely not advisable). While these show visible, dramatic results, they are usually short-lived, and do more harm than good.