Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

Skincare for Men February 8, 2011

So do men really need different skincare products than women?  Simply put – the answer is no.  Do men have different skincare needs than women?  Sometimes yes. 

Men can have oilier skin than women because their hormones tend to produce more oil in the facial oil glands than women, but if you shave daily you can fix that problem.  Actually shaving daily exfoliates the skin so you can even end up drying out your skin.  Furthermore, shaving cream is actually a form of soap so its use can lead to dry skin with men.  But overall, skin is skin, and men and women will have the same skin issues and problems.

Having said that there are a few skincare issues that men face that women usually don’t have to deal with.  One problem many men have are ingrown hairs on their face and neck from shaving.  Men can also have irritated or red skin from shaving.  Combat this problem by using a pad or lotion with salicylic acid in it to gently exfoliate the area with the ingrown hairs. 

Men have a tendency to wash their faces with bar soap.  Bar soap is very alkaline and as such it is very drying to the skin.  Instead use a gentle cleanser once or twice a day to wash your face.

Two other things that men seem to shy away from (though I really can’t figure out why) are – sunscreen and moisturizer.  If you want to stay looking young and want to protect yourself from skin cancer and sun damage you need sunscreen on a daily basis, year round – not just during the summer when you are going to be outside.  Choose a sunscreen that is formulated for your skin type or use a moisturizer with spf if your skin tends to be on the dry side.  As for moisturizer – if you have dry skin, anywhere on your body, use a moisturizer to restore balance and softness to your skin.  I can guarantee you that no one wants to shake someone’s hand who has dry and scaly skin.  There is such an easy solution to this problem – moisturize!

 

Can Men Use Skincare Products Marketed Toward Women?

 

Yes!  Let me say that again – yes!  Skincare products marketed toward men are simply that – a marketing ploy.  Men usually want straightforward looking packaging and labeling and little to no fragrance in their skincare products.  The skincare product lines that claim to be for men are just packaged differently than those for women – the ingredients are essentially the same.  Usually men want their skincare regime to clear, concise, and not to have too many steps.  This can be achieved with any skincare line.  Of course men who shave daily might seek out specific products for that grooming task and use products that are marketed just for that use.  (By the way, there are even make-up lines for men)  Bottom line – product lines marketed toward men are simply trying to sell something to men that they feel comfortable using both publicly and privately. 

 

Further Reading and Product Recommendations

 

Dos and Don’ts for Winter Skincare November 15, 2010

Last winter I wrote a post called Winter Skincare Tips which I think still has great tips for winter skincare.  In this post I would like to expand on the subject of winter skincare a bit after having just read yet another great skincare article in The New York Times Change in Season and Regime.

Winter is a great time to start laser hair or tattoo removal treatments.  During the summer months your skin is likely to be tan to one degree or another.  If either laser hair or tattoo removal treatments are performed on tanned skin you run the risk of a burn or hyperpigmentation.  Plus any area that you are having laser hair or tattoo removal done on needs to be kept out of the sun.  As the days shorten and get colder it is much easier to keep the skin being treated out of the sun as you cover up and stay indoors.   The same logic goes for facial laser treatments as well.  It is imperative to stay out of the sun after facial resurfacing so doing those types of treatments over the winter makes that recovery easier as well.

Winter is also the ideal time to get sclerotherapy or vein treatments done since you will look worse before you look better after such treatments.  In the winter it is easier, of course, to hide the areas you had treated before they are completely healed.

And don’t forget to exfoliate your body over the winter.  By gently exfoliating your body during your shower and moisturizing immediately after you shower you can easily ward off itchy, dry winter skin.  Dead skin cells accumulate on the top layer of our skin during the winter.  As skin cell turnover slows the skin might begin to feel itchy as water evaporates off your body so by exfoliating gently and moisturizing you can stop this process from happening.  While there are numerous body exfoliating scrubs on the market you can make your own at home by combining table sugar with olive oil.  It works and is cost effective though it is a bit messy.

Do get a humidifer for your home.  It can make both you and your skin feel better during the winter.

Do use your sunscreen!  Sunscreen is a must year round.

 

Further reading:

 

Bathe Everyday – Over Dry Your Skin? November 3, 2010

 

Cleanliness is next to godliness, right?  Well it turns out that not everyone thinks so.  There seems to be somewhat of a movement, a small one I gather, of people who are foregoing not only daily showers but the use of deodorant as well.  I found this out by reading an article, The Great Unwashed, in The New York Times recently.  People give a variety of reasons for making these lifestyle choices: a need to conserve water, potential health risks attributed to mass market deodorants (it should be pointed out that these concerns have been dismissed by experts time and again, see the actual article for more details), the feeling that one just doesn’t smell or is dirty, and that bathing daily contributes to skin conditions such as eczema.  Of course the part of the article that really caught my attention was the part about how bathing daily may over dry or hurt your skin:

Of late, researchers have discovered that just as the gut contains good bacteria that help it run more efficiently, so does our skin brim with beneficial germs that we might not want to wash down the drain. “Good bacteria are educating your own skin cells to make your own antibiotics,” said Dr. Richard Gallo, chief of the dermatology division at the University of California, San Diego, and “they produce their own antibiotics that kills off bad bacteria.”

Some people have long complained that showering too much makes their skin drier or more prone to flare-ups of, say, eczema, and Dr. Gallo said that scientists are just beginning to understand why. “It’s not just removing the lipids and oils on your skin that’s drying it out,” he said. It could be “removing some of the good bacteria that help maintain a healthy balance of skin.”

 

Now there is definitely something to the fact that daily bathing, especially in the winter, might dry your skin.  As the temperature drops so does the moisture level in the air all of which contributes to drier skin.  I probably don’t even need to point that out – you can feel it.  So if your skin becomes dry, perhaps even flaky and itchy, during the winter should you stop bathing daily?  I’ll leave that decision up to you, but I certainly don’t think that you need it.  Be sure to use a shower wash that contains moisturizing ingredients and make sure the water in the shower isn’t scalding hot.  Hot and very hot water can dry out the skin.  Consider limiting the time you spend in the shower too since spending too much time in the shower can also dry out your skin (and that helps conserve water as well if that is important to you).  NEVER use bar soap to wash your face or body!  Bar soap is highly alkaline so it is very drying.  Immediately after exiting the shower and drying off (and try not to rub your body too strongly with your towel, be gentle) apply a rich moisturizer (my favorite, as I’ve already mentioned in this blog many times, is Trader Joe’s A Midsummer Night’s Cream Extra Dry Formula.  I’m still searching for the perfect hand cream.  If I ever find it I’ll be sure to write about it) all over your body but not your face.  Treating your face is a totally different story.  See below for a tip of treating dry skin on your face during the winter. 

If you find that your face feels very dry or extra dry in the winter forego washing it in the morning (but in the morning only, still wash your face at night).  Instead use a soft washcloth moistened in warm water all over your face in the morning or better yet use a toner that contains moisturizing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid (if the toner has antioxidants in it too even better).  For more information about toners please see my earlier post:  Toner:  What Is It?  Do You Need One?The posts includes some product recommendations as well.

And for more tips on taking care of your skin during the winter please see my post:  Winter Skincare Tips or Don’t Put Away Your Sunscreen.

 

Nutritional Supplements and Your Skin or Eating Your Way to Better Skin October 20, 2010

I’ve been debating a long time about how to approach this subject on my blog.  Though I definitely think that the subject needs to addressed I’ve never been quite sure how to approach it mainly because the scope of the subject is so large.   But I finally decided that it is time to take the plunge and write this post.

There are quite a few things that need to be mentioned here.  One is the issue of a healthy diet and how to affects your skin.  Another entirely separate issue is that of supplements, in pill form or drink form, that claim to address all sorts of skin issues from acne to aging.   I actually already wrote two posts debunking the idea that you can drink collagen in order to get smoother skin (see my posts Can You Drink Your Way to Firmer Skin?  and Taste Test) and have even addressed the issue of diet and acne in an earlier post, but I felt it was time to delve a bit deeper into the issue.

 

Healthy Diet = Healthy Skin?

 

Everyone of us already knows that in order to stay healthy we should, ideally follow, a healthy diet.  At the very least we should reduce our intake of fast food, fatty foods, and excessive amounts of sugar and processed foods.  So if we follow a healthy diet will this be reflected in our skin?  Many experts would say yes.  But just what are we supposed to eat in order to maintain a youthful glow?  Well that opens up a lot of room for debate.   One of the biggest advocates for eating a certain diet in order to get and then maintain beautiful skin is Dr. Perricone.  His books are widely available if you want to check out his ideas and food plans. 

In an article for her Beauty Bulletin – The Best Foods for Beautiful Skin – Paula Begoun recommends eating berries, salmon, walnuts, whole grains, and yogurt (among other foods) in order to maintain healthy skin.  Much of that advice is reflected in Chapter 4: Beauty and The Buffet of celebrity esthetician Kate Somerville’s book Complexion Perfection!.  Somerville, like Begoun, tells her readers to eat salmon, whole grains, and berries.  Additionally, Somerville also recommends eating black beans, almonds, flaxseed, and sweet potatoes (plus other foods).  A one day sample menu for healthy eating is even provided in her book.

But my favorite advice about diet and your skin comes from Dr. Amy Wechsler’s wonderful book The Mind Beauty Connection.  (I highly recommend this book if you want to better understand how stress and lifestyle choices affect your skin)  Chapter 7 of the book is entitled The Beauty Buffet and Bar: Optimum Diet Choices for Beautiful Skin, and the chapter does an excellent job in explaining why certain foods may positively impact the appearance of your skin and how a healthy diet can help the health of your skin.  While rereading this chapter of Wechsler’s book for the writing of this post I was struck by both the logic and insight of what she wrote time and again.   I think it is a good idea to share some quotes from the above mentioned chapter (pages 167-169): 

There is no magic pill, potion, formula for beauty.  Too many things coalesce in our bodies to produce either the results we want or don’t want. … There is … plenty of scientific proof about eating certain foods to support your skin and health, while avoiding others that can sabotage your beauty goals.  Don’t panic:  The point is not for you to do anything too unrealistic, such as suddenly savor wheatgrass juice or spoon flaxseed oil in your mouth every morning.  …  Remember, this isn’t about going on a specific diet.  It’s ultimately up to you to make modifications in how you eat so you can move over to a lifetime of healthy eating – and limitless beauty.  As with any healthy eating guidelines, the goal here is to supply your cells and systems with the raw materials they need to function efficiently and optimally, inside and out.  You don’t want to give your body any excuse to age prematurely, so you need to be sure that at any given time it has all the resources it requires to stay alive, hydrated, and nourished to the max. 

Nutritional medicine is a rapidly growing area of research that will continue to gain momentum as we learn more and more about the connections between nutrition and health – not just in relation to skin health, but all kinds of health concerns.  In fact, the link between nutrition and diseases like obesity, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease are well documented.  I expect us to learn more and more about the powerful influences diet can have on our skin health and ability to slow down the inevitable decline we call aging and its appearance on our bodies.  Because we know that oxidative stress, inflammation, and, to a lesser extent, genetics, are the chief agers in our bodies, and because they spur chronic conditions that wear us down physically, gaining the upper hand on these as best we can is key.  And if diet can help this in any way, then we should be paying attention.

I also want to note that there is no single approach to optimizing health and beauty, and that diet alone is not the answer.  …  The combination of proven skin-care techniques, relaxation therapies to dampen stress, exercise, restful sleep, and diet are all important and play a part in your looks on the inside and the outside.  It would be impossible to say which of these factors is more important than the other.  They all bear weight, and perhaps which one carries the most depends on the individual, especially as they relate to a person’s genetics and other lifestyle choices.

 

Like Begoun and Somerville, Dr. Wechsler also recommends eating berries, nuts, and salmon, among other foods.  (I am starting to sense a theme here)  Furthermore, Dr. Wechsler is a big advocate of drinking lots of green tea throughout the day and taking a multivitamin.

 

What About Nutritional Supplements?

 

More than one well-known skincare expert/source sells nutritional supplements than claim, as already mentioned, to clear your skin or prevent aging.  To name just a few, you can buy supplements from Perricone MD , Murad, and Kate Somerville.  (As an esthetician I do not recommend a certain diet or any supplements to my clients.  That is an area that is well outside my expertise.  If a client does ask me about such issues I recommend that they look at Dr. Perricone’s books or Dr. Wechsler’s book and leave the final decision on what to do up to the individual.)  It definitely is alluring to think that all you need to do is pop a few pills a day, recommended by a skincare expert no less, in order to look beautiful.  Yet let me debunk that idea.  Once again I’ll quote from The Mind Beauty Connection (page 194):

 The Truth About Vitamin C and E Supplements and Skin Vitamins:

What about individual nutrients or special skin-health formulas that claim to improve skin?  These grab-bag concoctions, which are mostly a mix of antioxidants, are hugely popular.  However, there’s minimal proof of payoff, at least right now.  Oodles of isolated antioxidants like vitamins C and E and phyto-chemicals like those found in green tea have been dazzling in the test tube.  When fed to lab animals, they have been marvelous at protecting against sun damage, wrinkles, and cancer; making skin softer, moister, and smoother; and halting inflammation and signs of agin.  Those effects almost disappear when single-nutrient pills are tested in people.  Green tea polyphenol pills, for example, protect mice skin from UV damage and skin cancer but do nada for human skin.  In a topic form, however green tea is anti-inflammatory and photoprotective.

In fact, studies of isolated antioxidant pills in humans have overall been not only disappointing but actually worrisome.  Disappointing because the supplements haven’t staved off health trouble.  Worrisome because studies have shown that people with various diseases, from heart problems to liver aliments, who took vitamins A, E, and/or beta-carotene supplements, either to try and stop the disease or keep it from coming back, had a greater risk of dying than those who didn’t.

Punch line: The more research we do on antioxidants, the more it looks like the work best in our bodies when they are consumed with other vitamins, minerals, and probably other components we haven’t even discovered yet.  All of the antioxidants nutrients you need come packaged together whenever you eat a stalk of broccoli or a juicy plum or a slice of multigrain walnut- raisin bread.  Put simply:  Eat whole foods.

 

Need further proof?  During the months I was contemplating how to write this post I came across a great article in the The New York Times by Alex Kuczynski called The Beauty-From-Within MarketKuczynski concisely addresses just these issues:  how Americans love the idea of nutritional supplements and if they really work:

Americans take pills to scrub our arteries, to relax us for airplane flights, to deforest our nasal passages of mucus and to remoisten our tear ducts. We take pills to sharpen our memory, to forget the awful things that have happened to us, to revitalize our libidos and to fall into a stuporous, amnesiac, refrigerator-clearing sleep.

Like children wishing for magical results in a fairy tale, we can now also take pills to make us pretty. These are supplements sold at yoga studios, department stores, hair salons, some dermatology offices and even on QVC; they promise to even skin tone, reduce lines and wrinkles, shrink pores and offer protection from the sun. Along with food and drink that promote external beauty, these are part of what is known as the beauty-from-within industry, and it’s growing fast.  …

The global beauty-from-within market – comprising beauty foods, beverages and oral beauty supplements – totaled $5.9 billion in 2008 and $6.3 billion in 2009, and is projected to be up to $6.8 billion in 2010, according to Datamonitor, a market research company that studies the skin care market. (To compare, the global skin care market – which includes cleaners, moisturizers and anything you apply to the surface of your skin — is projected to reach $65.7 billion in 2010.)

 

Kuczynski tried the supplement Glisodin and didn’t see much of result with her skin.  She also interviewed two experts for her article (of course when I saw that one of the experts interviewed was Dr. Wechsler I was very happy):

Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University… is the queen of skepticism on the purported beauty benefits of supplements. “Lecture time,” Nestle said. “If you eat any kind of reasonable diet you will not have deficiencies that can be addressed by vitamins. All you are going to do is pee them out.”

The irony, she said, is that people who have little need for supplementary vitamins and minerals are the ones most predisposed to take them. “People with disposable income to spend on vitamins, who are interested in their health and well-being, these are the people who need them the least,” she said. And people who care about their skin enough to take beauty vitamins are also probably wearing sunscreen and using moisturizer. “It is very hard to demonstrate health in people who are already healthy,” she said. And it is also difficult to gauge improved dermatological health in people who already practice good skin habits.

The chief problem with beauty supplements,  said [Dr. Amy Wechsler, a dermatologist in Manhattan], is that no matter how effective the delivery system, very little nutrients can reach the skin from a pill. In other words, my skin wasn’t going to look as poreless and pure … Lady Gaga’s, just from popping a pill.

“It is very American to put hope in a bottle,” Wechsler said. “And it is also very American to try to sell that hope.”

 

Bottom Line:  Eat a healthy diet, destress, and practice good skincare habits and routines.   Don’t expect great changes from a pill. 

Further reading:  Though I did not incorporate this article into my above post it does tie in perfectly with the theme:  The Truth About Beauty Beverages:  Do Certain Drinks Deliver Beauty Benefits – Or Is That Wishful Thinking?  Experts Weigh In  –  Web MD

 

When Should You Begin Using Anti-Aging Treatments/Products? September 29, 2010

I just learned that our bodies stop producing elastin around the age of 25.  That’s a pretty scary thought for some.  Elastin gives our skin its snap so if our bodies stop producing it so early are we all doomed to have saggy skin already in our 30s?  Should you be looking for the latest and greatest anti-aging products as you head out of puberty?

Some people would like you to think so.  It turns out that Dr. Perricone is introducing a new line of skincare products aimed at women ages 25 to 30 years old and yes, these are anti-aging products.  The product line is called Super by Perricone, and this is the description on the Sephora website (the products are available via Sephora and there is a freestanding store in Berkeley, CA) describes the products as such:

Super foods are the world’s (and our skin’s) new super heroes. Inspired by a passion to feed hungry skin, Dr. Nicholas Perricone—founder of the highly effective skincare brand Perricone MD—created SUPER, a nourishing collection of formulas for your face and body. Infused with phytonutrients derived from the some of the most powerful superfoods and formulated with advanced patented sciences, SUPER allows your skin to indulge in nature’s most nutritional bounty.

Dr. Perricone’s inspiration for SUPER was born from his passion for empowering others to take control of their health by bringing awareness to superfoods.

Achieving beautiful skin is as much about what you put in your body as what you put on it. With this concept in mind, Dr. Perricone began to explore the effects that antioxidant-rich superfoods have on the skin. His obsession with foods like watercress, known for its detoxifying effects, and chia, celebrated for its high levels of DHA and EPA, inspired him to design a collection of face and body products that combines these superfoods with his patented sciences. The result is SUPER.

According to the article Preserving the Dewiness of Youth in The New York Times :

Kat Fay, a senior analyst at Mintel who writes an annual skin-care report, thinks Super is part of a trend of getting women involved earlier in the fight against aging. “They are trying to hit them up with the prophylactic angle,” she said. “You look dewy and sweet now, but what about 10 years from now? Your life is over!”

At the St. Regis recently, Dr. Perricone defended his grab for a younger demographic. “Vanity is a great motivator,” he said between sips of jasmine green tea with cinnamon (a “superfood” he adores). While it’s one thing to say “eat this way and reduce your cancer risk,” he said, it’s far more stirring to say, “you’ll look younger and more glamorous within three days.”

 

Of course it will be interesting to see if this skincare line becomes a hit with its target audience.  For The New York Times article five women were invited to try the line.  Their responses were interesting:

Five women invited to The Times to sample Super liked it, but cost was a concern. Only one, Rebecca Wiegand, a dating blogger from Brooklyn, said she’d actually buy it. “I was thinking about the SATs in the ninth grade,” Ms. Wiegand said. “So it only makes sense I am thinking about wrinkles at 27.”Another, Andrea Lavinthal, an author of the book “Your So-Called Life,” for women on the edge of 30, does believe she must act now if she wants her face and décolletage to look good in a decade. “Thirty is not baby-faced,” said Ms. Lavinthal, a beauty editor at realbeauty.com. “I feel like I’m on a landslide to 40. If I want to look like Julia Roberts in ‘Eat Pray Love,’ either I need to get a lighting crew or skin-care products.”

I looked at the Sephora online reviews of Super to see what people had to say about this new skincare line.  Though the responses were positive, very positive overall, it turns out that most of the reviewers were not of the target age the products are being marketed at.  Instead most of the reviewers were in the 35-44 age bracket not 25 to 30.  So is the Super by Perricone marketing strategy off target?  That remains to be seen.

I’ve read some of Dr.Perricone’s books and found their premise interesting (inflammation leads to acne and aging.  Eat an anti-inflammation diet and control your acne and slow down the aging process) but have never committed to his program.  I tried two of his skincare products and was deeply unimpressed (and let me not forget to mention how outrageously expensive his products are).  I’ll be interested to see if Super by Perricone is a success.  Certainly many people love Dr. Perricone and his products.  If this new line does well I am sure we will be many more like it, but allow me to remain quite skeptical at the moment that these products are anything special at all.  There is a lot of pseudo science behind the premise and promise of the products and not a lot of fact.

Though I think many women are concerned about aging even when they are still in their 20s not that many people do much about it.  From my experience people become much more motivated to use anti-aging products and to pursue anti-aging treatments once they see that first wrinkle.  In the meantime let me once again remind my readers – if you want to stay looking young use your sunscreen!  No matter what time of the year, as long as it is light out slather on that sunscreen.  I can assure you that sunscreen is one great anti-aging product that everyone should always be using since the sun breaks down collagen and elastin fibers in our skin which leads to wrinkles and sagging, causes broken capillaries and hyperpigmentation, and can also make our skin appear leathery and uneven in texture (and lets not forget cause skin cancer as well). 

And does Super by Perricone have an SPF product or offer sun protection in any of its products?  No, not as far as I can tell.

 

Naomi Campbell and Estheticians September 13, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — askanesthetician @ 6:30 am
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I am generally revolted by Naomi Campbell’s behavior yet I find her somewhat fascinating partly because it doesn’t seem like she ages at all.  The New York Times just published an article about Campbell which contains the following quote, surprising quote in my opinion, from the supermodel:

I’m a recovering person in progress. Every rehabilitation program I’ve been in says the same thing: Getting past the denial is half the battle. Take responsibility for your actions. No matter who you are, a banker or a model or an aesthetician, if you don’t do that, you’ll find yourself living in an insanity world.

I found it pretty funny that of all the professions in the world that Campbell could name she chose esthetician as one of them.   Is that a reflection of Camplbell’s 25 years in the beauty business?  Or does she simply think estheticians are severely in denial?  I do wonder what Campbell has against us estheticians.

 

Marketing Versus Truth in Wrinkle Creams August 30, 2010

I always wait for Thursdays to see what the Skin Deep article in the The New York Times Fashion and Style section will be about.  The Skin Deep article recently was called Debating the Claims Behind Wrinkle Creams; the article is essentially about StriVectin’s new line of products and its new marketing strategy.  StriVectin is famous for its slogan, now banned by the FDA, “better than Botox?” which, not surprisingly, is incorrect

StriVectin not only has a new product line, it has a new slogan as well:  “More science.  Less Wrinkles” .  The new product line has a star ingredient – NIA-114 which is a patented form for niacin or vitamin B3.  This time around the company does not compare the results of using its products to Botox but to the prescription anti-aging (and anti-acne) powerhouse, the gold standard of anti-aging topical products – tretinoin.  Tretinoin is also commonly known as retinol.  (For more about retinol see my previous post on the subject)

According to Dr. Myron Jacobson, a biochemist, who along with his wife lead the team that researched the ingredient:

NIA-114 provides many of the benefits of retinoic acid without those tolerability issues,” Myron Jacobson said. “You get the gain without the pain.”NIA-114, he said, “will be the dominant skin-care molecule for the next 20 years.”

Obviously this is an interesting development, but please allow me to remain skeptical.  I don’t have much faith in a company that first compared its product to Botox since that comparison was so blatantly bogus.  The author of the article interviewed two doctors about StriVectin’s new ingredient and each expressed their ambivalence about the StriVectin’s claims over NIA-114.  Not to say that the ingredient doesn’t help wrinkles, it just probably doesn’t do all that StriVectin claims that it does.

I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes open for reviews of the new StriVectin line and for more information about their star ingredient, but in the meantime what I really found fascinating about the article was how well StriVectin has succeeded in marketing their old product with the slogan:  Better than Botox?:

 

BEFORE StriVectin’s stretch-mark cream became an anti-wrinkle blockbuster sold in Sephora and Bloomingdale’s, it made its debut in 2002 at GNC, a retailer better known for its muscle-building supplements

Then in 2003, StriVectin started running print ads with the alluring claim that women who used the cream ($135 a tube) as a facial moisturizer found it reduced their wrinkles. The ads asked: Could StriVectin actually be “Better than Botox?”

That slogan did it. Hordes of women (and some men) were sold on the idea that this over-the-counter cream could deliver on its claims, even though its makers had scant science to back them. As a cosmetic, StriVectin-SD didn’t have to prove its efficacy as a wrinkle-fighter in a clinical trial the way that drugs like Botox did, but that fact got lost amid the marketing hype.

The ad was “fabulous” because it “immediately established the possibility that you could get benefits without the inconvenience” of a doctor’s visit, said Suzanne Grayson, a marketing consultant to the beauty industry.

In 2009, in a testament to its enduring appeal, StriVectin was still one of the fastest growing anti-aging brands, according to NPD Group, a market research firm. This despite the fact its kingpin cream hadn’t been updated in seven years.

Furthermore:

Scientific proof doesn’t necessarily matter to consumers. In the last year, StriVectin has worked with SheSpeaks, which helps brands glean consumer insight. Aliza Freud, chief executive of SheSpeaks, said 5,000 women were asked what StriVectin signified to them before this reintroduction; they said the brand had a “scientific edge.” “These consumers — most of them — have no idea what the science behind it means,” Ms. Freud said.

 

Frankly, this just saddens me.  Believe me I’ve fallen more than once for a persuasive marketing campaign only to realize that I’ve been had, yet I keep hoping that women won’t believe the marketing hype when it comes to skincare products since there is more than enough real scientific research out there that explains what ingredients will and will not work on the skin.  In the end I just hope that Abraham Lincoln’s famous statement is really true in the end:

You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

 

 
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