Dan Thompson: Beauty Busted


Newbeauty.com: Ingredients To Watch

Did They Get It Right?

Newbeauty.com published an article last week with a list of cosmetics ingredients "on their radar." To be fair, the website did not pass judgment or offer an opinion on the efficacy of these ingredients, they simply published a list of ingredients, the products in which they are currently found, and the claims the manufacturers make regarding the use of these ingredients.

The following are the most egregious offenders for claims that simply cannot be supported.

Every single one of these products is over-hyped, over priced, and simply not worth buying:

1. Chantecaille Gold Energizing Eye Recovery Mask ($195 for 19g)

Star Ingredient: Fine Silk Crystal Gold Complex

Claims: Anti-inflammatory, anti- bacterial, anti-aging, hydrating, promotes collagen production

TRUTH: Fine Silk Crystals are being used in many cosmetics formulas as a carrier for active ingredients. These crystals are a fibroin protein (means insoluble), which can bind water to the skin without using emulsifiers in the formula. These crystals interface with air, water, and oil with ease. In nature, this is the type of silk thread created by spiders and moths. The crystals can have many different active ingredients suspended within, and gold is one being used currently.

The problem with gold, however, is it does not make for a good skincare ingredient. In fact, in 2001 it was listed as the number one allergen for skin by the American Contact Dermatitis Society, and there is absolutely no research to show it can stimulate collagen production in the skin. It is simply being included because it is considered "luxurious" and "rare." It has no use as a skincare ingredient.

2. Teadora Nourishing Body Butter ($45 for 220mL)

Star Ingredient: Buriti Extract

Claims: Effective sunscreen

TRUTH: Buriti is the fruit from a palm tree that grows in South America. This plant does have some amazing skincare benefits, but SPF is not one of them, and this product should not be used in place of a recognized sunscreen. This ingredient is packed with vitamins A, C, and E, and will protect from free radical damage while providing the skin with all the required nutrients to stimulate regeneration, but it will not protect from UV light! Any claims that it will are without merit. Health Canada recognizes only 22 ingredients as sunscreens and buriti is not on that list.

3. La Prairie Cellular Eye Cream Platinum Rare ($365 for 15mL)

Star Ingredient: Platinum

Claims: Maintains skin's electrical balance, tightens skin, brightens skin

TRUTH: Platinum is another precious metal with no substantiated research to prove it has any benefit in a topical cosmetic. Yes, it's rare. Yes, it's precious. Yes, it's expensive. None of that means it does anything for the skin. There is no topical product that can "tighten" the skin, as this is simply not biologically possible. Cosmetics, by definition of law, cannot change the physiological nature of the skin. Yes, this will brighten the skin, but that is a simple cosmetic affect from the reflective nature of the metal. Any reflective material will achieve the same result.

4. Darphin Stimulskin Plus ($295 for 50mL)

Star Ingredient: Sea Emerald

Claims: Firms skin, stimulates collagen production

TRUTH: Sea Emerald is neither rare nor exotic. Looking at the INCI list, for this product the only ingredient derived from the sea is algae extract. There are over 20, 000 varieties of algae, all with very similar properties. They are great emollients, water-binding agents, and great sources of proteins, vitamin A, sugar, starch, vitamin B1, iron, sodium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, and calcium; however, none of this means the ingredient can firm skin. In fact, no topical product can do that. Also, vitamin C, required for the production of collagen, is not present in algae.

Don't believe the marketing hype—before you purchase any Lancome Genifique products, read this.

Find out why cosmetics words like "all-natural" and "hypoallergenic" do not mean what you think they mean.