Do creams and beauty products really work?

Beauty is created in two ways: the foods that you eat, and what you put on your skin. Last week we looked at the basics of beauty creating foods. To get the cheat sheet for essential beauty foods, download this 7-day beauty action plan. This week we’ll look at the common problems with beauty routines, and what to do about them.

This week as part of natural beauty solutions month we’re switching gears from what you put IN your body to what you put ON your body.

For years I used the 2 most common things that are put on skin: a  facial cleanser to remove dirt and oil, followed by a cream to moisturise and smooth the skin.

Dr. Adrienne Denese, Ph.D. a New York anti-ageing specialist, says that just in America alone, women spend $4.3 billion a year on skin-care products that simply do not work. She feels your skin is shortchanged with a pointless mixture of oil, water and a lovely smell in a stunning jar.  The vitamins and minerals your skin needs are often only present in minuscule quantities.

Dr. Patricia K. Farris, a New Orleans dermatologist has said, “You have a lot of very high-priced night creams that really don’t have any bang for a buck. They’re basically just expensive, nicely packaged moisturizer.”

That got my attention. If typical products don’t contain enough active ingredients to actually achieve anything, then what does?

In Secrets for Ageless Skin: Younger Skin in 8 Weeks, Denese outlines how the cosmetics industry focusses not on quality product, but on spending most of their budgets on large advertising campaigns. Calling it the ‘skin-care conspiracy’, she reports it’s common knowledge that key ingredients are added to a product only to the level that marketers can meet a threshold which allows them to make a claim on the label. It’s called ‘angel-dusting’.

I highly recommend reading Denese’s book to get a great overview of how beauty products actually work. While I’m not a fan of all of her products (for reasons I’ll share in future posts), I learned a great deal from the first few chapters of her book.

Beauty products are not built based on putting enough ingredients into them to actually make them work. Instead they’re created with the tiniest budget possible so that maximum profit can be achieved. The trouble is consumers have been conditioned to like crappy beauty products and so companies happily oblige and sell ineffective, cheap products to us. Since the products smell good and make the skin feel smooth, it seems like they are working.

They’re not.

Not only do beauty products not contain active ingredients, creams stop key ingredients from reaching their target

Professor Luis Bagatolli, of the University of Southern Denmark, said: “The skin’s task is to block extraneous substances, which is why it will generally reject anything that tries to penetrate it.” Bagatolli was part of a team that debunked liposome technology in wrinkle creams.

Scientists know that creams are not the best tool or medium to deliver key ingredients into the skin.

Whether it’s $10 or $500, a face cream can really act only as a great moisturiser that temporarily plumps the skin for a few hours. The cheaper creams work just as well. To get more out of our beauty products we need to consider the order in which we use them.

If you wash your face, and then put on a cream what happens is you form a very effective barrier to stop the good stuff from getting in! It’s the equivalent of putting some saran wrap on our face, and then trying to mist yourself with Vitamin C spray. It’s just not going to work. What we need to do is reverse the order of operations. First the Vitamin C to deliver nutrients to your skin, then the metaphorical saran wrap to seal it all in nicely.

In the next post, I’ll share the four simple steps we can use that go way beyond ineffective creams.

Natural Beauty Tip No. 7: Don’t waste your money on expensive beauty creams. They’re not worth it.

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