Open any fashion or beauty magazine and you are bombarded with advertising for cosmetic companies. Hope is sold in a jar and anti-ageing skin products are claimed by manufacturers’ to have almost miraculous qualities. All too often, their claims are based on little or no evidence. As a customer, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction when making product choices. You can avoid choosing products which make exaggerated claims by being aware of the ingredients contained in a specific product.
The ageing skin is characterized by wrinkles, blotchy pigmentation, coarse texture, spider veins and sallow color. These features, despite manufacturers’ claims, cannot be improved by creams and lotions alone, especially not in a few days.
As I deal with the following myths, I hope to provide you with information that will help you to make more informed choices when you buy skincare products.
Myth 1: The more expensive an anti-ageing product is, the more effective it will be.
The efficacy of a product is all about its formulation, rather than its price. Some reasonably priced products are well formulated with effective ingredients. There are good and bad products in all price ranges.
Myth 2: Scrub your face enough and you keep it young and healthy
Your skin needs the natural oil on the face to protect the skin. If you scrub too much, you remove it and can even cause damage to your skin. You need to wash gently with a cleanser instead of a harsh soap.
Myth 3: Anti-ageing products should contain collagen and/or elastin
The size of the molecules are too large to penetrate the skin and cannot therefore work in a cream. Some manufacturers’ claim to ‘bio-engineer’ the molecules, making them small enough to penetrate the skin’s surface. There is no proof that this works and no matter how small the molecules, they still do not fuse with the collagen in your skin.
Myth 4: Oxygen in a cream is essential for youthful skin
Creams probably do not deliver oxygen to the skin and even if they do, your skin already gets plenty of oxygen from your blood (unless you are a heavy smoker).
Myth 5: Some anti-ageing skin products are as effective as Botox or dermal filler
If you buy products thinking they are going to have the same effect as Botox or dermal filler, you are wasting your money. If skincare products did work like this, they would be dangerous to use. Products can make your skin look better, but they do not magically remove your wrinkles.
Myth 6: All ageing skin needs the same treatment
Everyone’s skin does not age in the same way. Your choice of products will depend on your skin type as much as on the fact that your skin is ageing. Dry skin is more common after the age of 50 but you cannot just assume that you need richly emollient products. if your skin is still oily, using such products is not necessary and probably do more harm than good.
Myth 7: Words like ‘natural’, ‘botanical’ or ‘plant-derived’ indicate safer, more effective products.
The definition of ‘natural’ is somewhat hazy. Antioxidants are naturally derived but they go through extraction and purification processes, ending up far from their natural state. Plant-derivatives can be toxic and some people have an allergic reaction to some of them. Just because an ingredient is natural does not necessarily make it good, just as a synthetic ingredient is not always bad. Most products contain a mixture of both, so you get the best of what natural and synthetic ingredients have to offer.
Myth 8: Cosmetic creams can reverse the effects of ageing.
As you age, you start to lose fat under the skin, your bones begin to shrink and your skin becomes looser. There is no miracle ingredient that can reverse these effects. Ingredients used in well formulated skin creams definitely help to hydrate the skin and make it look more youthful. However, if you want to change its structure, you will need to do more than just use creams.
Myth 9: The higher the SPF of a sunscreen, the longer you can stay in the sun
SPF is not an indication of how long you are protected but how well. SPF does not refer to the ability of the product to shield you from UVA rays. So don’t just focus on a high number for your sunscreen – you also want to find one that is ‘broad spectrum’ and provides protection against the other rays as well. Always choose an SPF of about 30, even if you plan to only be outside for a short period.
Myth 10: The more of a product you use, the better
A common belief is that if a little bit is good, more is better. When it comes to anti-ageing skin care products, this is not the case. Using more product does not translate to more improvement in your skin. In fact, using too much product gives an increased risk of irritating the skin.
Don’t be seduced
The reason for exposing such myths is to show misleading advertising for what it is – an attempt at seducing you into buying expensive products that do not work as promised. The best formulated cosmetics do work and they are definitely worth buying – but you have to know the truth to distinguish between those that work well and others that simply do not live up the claims made about them. It’s all about keeping your expectations realistic so that you won’t be disappointed and preventing you from wasting money.