Are the beauty claims made by cosmetic companies too good to be true? In a word, yes?sometimes in surprising ways. Some of us turn to them when we want to cover up the green in our skin, but creams claiming to have antioxidant properties can cheat ageing are probably worthless.

In this recession (which we predicted), we want to know what’s worth paying for. Promises that a product can “reverse the aging process” or “deliver the results of a facelift” leads consumers to spend billions of dollars each year to try an array of anti-aging skin care products in hopes is that one of them will actually live up to its claims.

Dermatologist Patricia K. Farris says, “The biggest problem with cosmeceuticals is not that they don’t work, but that their benefits are greatly exaggerated.” A lot of these products have several different active ingredients. Farris says, “More rigorous scientific studies are necessary to assure that biologic activity is maintained when ingredients are formulated together, and clinical studies should be done to determine if combination products really offer any added benefit.”

Harris thinks that the idea that the ingredients in organic products are safer than synthetic ones isn’t true. In reality, there is no data to support the notion that natural or organic ingredients?from the root, stem, leaves, flowers and fruit of plants?are safer or even more effective than their synthetic counterparts.

She says, “The problem with cosmeceuticals labeled ‘natural’ is that the labels themselves don’t mean anything because these products are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In fact, ‘natural’ skin care products are less tested and scrutinized than synthetic products and pharmaceuticals.”

Researchers find out if skin creams are effective by testing them on?worms, and recent research shows that nematode worms that were slathered with antioxidant creams (which are supposed to combat free radicals, which can lead to ageing) did not live any longer.

BBC News quotes researcher David Gems as saying, “The fact is that we don’t understand much about the fundamental mechanisms of ageingageing?the free radical theory has filled a knowledge vacuum for over 50 years now, but it doesn’t stand up to the evidence. It is clear that if superoxide is involved, it plays only a small part in the story?oxidative damage is clearly not a universal, major driver of the ageing process.”

Now that our wallets are empty, save your money for the important stuff?like healthy food (although eating healthy isn’t as easy as it used to be) and supporting your favorite website!

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