I love walking through a cosmetics department.
It is actually one of my most favourite past times. Not only do I get to see all the lovely products available but I also get to interact with the sales people. For years I have listened to sales pitches by these sales people, from the truly educated to the completely ridiculous.
Here is a list of four pitches I heard this week alone—all complete fiction!
"Our products are better than "brand X" because we use a higher grade version of the active ingredients."
All cosmetics companies use the same ingredients. As a matter of fact every company works from an approved list of ingredients called the GRAS. There are only a handful of raw ingredient suppliers, to the industry, and even fewer manufacturing facilities (that's right most of the companies farm out their manufacturing these days - it's way cheaper). The raw ingredient suppliers do not make different grade ingredients—they make ingredients in bulk and sell by the litre. And the factories combined them all in the same fashion. For example: 90% of the glycolic acid, provided to the cosmetics industry, comes from a single supplier. All gycolic acid products work the same.
"Our products remove wrinkles."
No they don't. By definition of law topical cosmetics are not allowed to have a physiological effect on the skin. Which means that they cannot remove a wrinkle, or firm the skin, or treat acne, or change the colour of the skin, or tighten the skin, or remove hyperpigmentation, or. . . well you get the idea.
"Our products are organic."
There is no such thing as an all natural or organic cosmetic. These terms are only applicable to food. In addition to that the law requires certain synthetic compounds to be present in all cosmetics for consumer safety (anti microbial agents, anti fungal agents). Also, if a product has a colour it must be synthetic.
"Our products will close the pores."
Pores do not open and close. They must remain open at all times in order for the skin to take in oxygen. No product can change the pore size let alone cause them to close up like little doors.
I really detest the term 'anti-aging.' It implies that: a) there is something wrong with aging, and b) aging can be reversed.
In my opinion, neither of these is true.
The cosmetics industry has advertised many miracles to prevent, arrest, or reverse the signs of aging on the skin, some of which are complete nonsense.
Water prevents aging on the skin. FALSE!
Unless you are extremely dehydrated, intake of water will not prevent wrinkles. Wrinkling is caused by sun exposure and genetic predisposition. Aside from choosing your parents, the best way to prevent wrinkles is to use a well formulated sunscreen and limit exposure to UVA and UVB light.
Moisturizers can stimulate the genetic code of the skin to make it younger. FALSE!
Cosmetics only sit on the surface of the skin and do not work at the cellular level. There is no over-the-counter product that manipulates the genetics of the skin.
Anti-aging products lift, firm, and tighten the skin. FALSE!
By definition of law, cosmetics cannot have an effect on the physiology of the skin. That means that they are legally prohibited from making the types of changes that these words imply. Next time, look at the copy carefully. It says: "the feeling/appearance of firmer, tighter, or more lifted skin," which is NOT at all the same as actually doing so.
Revolutionary ingredients are better for the skin. FALSE!
There are no revolutionary ingredients, only marketing. All cosmetics are comprised from a list called the GRAS—a compendium of allowed cosmetic ingredients. There are no revolutionary ingredients at all, rather made-up marketing terms to describe ingredients that are commonly used in most formulas.
Overall, well formulated cosmetics exist at every price level, in every retail channel, and are offered by many companies. There is, however, no such thing as an "anti-aging" formula.
You have probably seen these facts before—several glossy magazines have been promoting Safe Sun this season—but all the information is worth repeating.
The International Tanning Association (the public face of the tanning bed industry) has been on an aggresive PR campaign, trying to sell indoor tanning as a safe and healthy lifestyle choice.
The simple truth: there is no such thing as a healthy tan.
Tanning should be avoided at all costs! Both the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Medical Association have published studies showing that a twenty minute session in a tanning bed is as harmful as three hours of sun exposure, and a single indoor tanning session raises the risk of developing melanoma (the most dangerous form of skin cancer) by fifty-five percent.
Myths the ITA wants you to accept as truths:
Myth #1: You need indoor tanning (or tanning in general) to produce Vitamin D.
UNTRUE! It is true that you need light exposure to produce enough Vitamin D to maintain healthy levels in the body, but you do NOT need a tan to do so. The body requires 600 IU of Vitamin D to maintain a healthy body. Five minutes of moderate light exposure per day will produce 1500 IU in the body. Neither a tan nor excessive light exposure is required to mainatin healthy Vitamin D levels. Oh and by the way, sunscreen does not interrupt Vitamin D production either.
Myth #2: There is no link between tanning beds and skin cancer.
UNTRUE! Both the Centre for Disease Control and the World Health Organization have published studies showing a direct link between tanning bed use and increased development of skin cancer. There are also volumes of research proving a link between excessive UVA/UVB exposure and skin cancer. Tanning bed bulbs emit three to fifteen times the UVA levels found in the earth's atmosphere on a high UV index day (depending on the type of bulbs used). UVA does cause skin cancer. Period.
Myth #3: You need a base tan to protect your skin.
UNTRUE! Any tan means that you have damaged the skin. When the cellular DNA mutates (from UVA exposure), the body produces melanin to fight additional damage. True, a tan will protect your skin (for a short period of time), but to achieve a tan, you must actually cause the very damage that the melanin protects from. The best way to protect the skin is to limit all exposure to UVA/UVB light to five to thirty minutes per day, at a moderate UV index.
Lastly, here are some interesting stats that the ITA never mentions in any of their press releases:
1. The World Health Organization has classified tanning beds as a definite cause of cancer.
2. Melanoma is the number one diagnosed cancer in women ages twenty-five to twenty-nine.
3. One tanning session in a tanning bed, before the age of thirty, increases the risk of developing melanoma by seventy-five percent.
I have said numerous times to stay out of the sun. Now I am saying—get out of the tanning bed!