Dermatologists Dispel Common Myths About Age-Fighting Topicals
Age-fighting creams, gels, and serums are so wrapped up in promise
and attractive packaging; it can be hard to separate fact from
fiction. To help you save money and minimize disappointment,
dermatologists dispel some common myths.
Myth: You can flatten your tummy by applying a cream or gel
to your abdomen.
Fact: Save your money. No topical product exists that can
flatten the tummy. In fact, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is
taking action against the manufacturers of topicals that promise to
flatten the tummy.
Scientific advances make it possible for an over-the-counter product
to deliver the results possible from a cosmetic procedure or
Fact: Marketing claims such as “a facelift from a jar” and
“eliminate cellulite in hours” are just hype. While there are many
effective over-the-counter products available to treat signs of
aging, the results they can deliver are modest. For many people, a
prescription-strength product or cosmetic procedure may be necessary
to achieve desired results. Dermatologists urge consumers to be
realistic about the results they can expect from over-the-counter
anti-aging creams, gels, and other products available without a
Products that are more expensive deliver better results.
Fact: An alluring claim and hefty price tag do not guarantee
the product will work. When it comes to buying age-fighting
products, it really is “buyer beware.” A dermatologist can tell you
which products have strong science behind them and which products
can help diminish signs of aging that concern you.
A cream can get rid of cellulite.
Fact: Some specially formulated creams can temporarily
diminish the appearance of cellulite, but they cannot eliminate
cellulite. No cream can dissolve and remove cellulite from the body.
Natural or organic ingredients are safer and more effective.
Fact: While the words “natural” and “organic” certainly makes
a product seem safer, most ingredients cannot be added to skin care
products in their natural state. Ingredients such as plant extracts
undergo extensive processing in which they are modified and
chemically synthesized before being added to the product. This makes
the terms “natural” and “organic” misleading.
“Clinically proven” means the product has been approved by the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Fact: While drugs are subject to the FDA’s intensive review
and approval process, cosmetics are not. The FDA classifies many
over-the-counter age-fighting products as cosmetics. When the term
“clinically proven” appears on such a product, it can mean that the
product was given to people to try for a few weeks. These people
then reported whether or not they saw improvement. The FDA does not
review such reports.
10 Tips: Getting the Best
Results from Age-Fighting Topicals
10 Tips: Selecting
Dermatologists explain how to develop a plan and select products
American Academy of Dermatology. “Dermatologists
Can Help Consumers Sort Through the Cosmeceutical Clutter.” News
release issued August 2, 2007. Last accessed May 13, 2009.
Draelos, ZD. (editor) 2005. “Cosmeceuticals.” 1st
ed. China:Elsevier Saunders.
Federal Trade Commission, “FTC
Launches ‘Bit Fat Lie’ Initiative Targeting Bogus Weight-loss Claims.”
News release issued November 9, 2004. Last accessed May 15, 2009.
Federal Trade Commission, “Ads
for Various Diet Supplements and Topical Gels Don’t Cut the Fat,
Says the FTC.” News release issued June 16, 2004. Last accessed
May 15, 2009.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “Is
it a Drug, a Cosmetic, or Both?” Frequently Requested
Information, issued July 8, 2002. Last accessed May 14, 2009.
M, Avram M. “An evidence-based assessment of treatments for
cellulite.” J Drug Dermatol. 2008; 7:341-5.
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developed by the American Academy of Dermatology