AgingSkinNet Article
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.

Myth: Scientific advances make it possible for an over-the-counter product to deliver the results possible from a cosmetic procedure or prescription-strength product.

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 prescription.

Myth: 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.

Myth: 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.

Myth: 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.

Myth: “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.

More Information
10 Tips: Getting the Best Results from Age-Fighting Topicals

10 Tips: Selecting Age-Fighting Topicals
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.

U.S. 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.

U.S. 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.

U.S. 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.

Wanner M, Avram M. “An evidence-based assessment of treatments for cellulite.” J Drug Dermatol. 2008; 7:341-5.

All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology

Creams cannot flatten belly
Abdominal fat cannot be eliminated with a cream or gel.





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Page last updated 6/17/09

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