Whether you’re shopping in Nordstrom or Macy’s, or cruising the aisles of CVS, Walgreens or Rite Aid, you can’t miss the products that cry out, “Buy me and I’ll make you look younger!”
Promises, promises: With so many cosmeceutical suitors, what’s a baby boomer girl to do?
What’s in your product?
Cosmeceuticals marry cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. They’re not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so manufacturers can “say what they want to say.” And they do. It’s up to us as cosmeceutical consumers to be smart—just like we do when choosing a nutritional supplement, also not regulated.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), to know a cosmeceutical is to first know its active ingredients:
- antioxidants: They reduce troublesome free radicals which are free to egg on inflammation, sun damage and skin cancer.
- peptides: These can stimulate collagen growth which thickens our skin.
- growth factors: They run relays between our cells, and are involved in the growth of cells, blood vessels and again, collagen.
Claims to shame
You may consider combination products which are said to contain some of the above ingredients, along with others like retinol or Vitamin C. This all sounds like a party for our skin, but these combos aren’t presently backed by research data, like some individual ingredients.
According to AAD, products that say they’re “natural” or “organic” aren’t always better or safer, and in fact, these types of ingredients must often be chemically altered before making it into a cosmetic product.
The savvy consumer should be aware of claims made by cosmeceuticals, and there are plenty, says YouBeauty.com.
Look for “soft” or “vague” claims that are general in nature, yet sound like the real deal. Companies soften claims so the product doesn’t sound too much like a drug, lest the FDA come calling. Soft claims read like this:
- Addresses damaging effects before they become permanent.
- Skin’s levels of moisturization increase dramatically.
These, too, are vague:
- Repairs the appearance of past damage.
- Intensively fortifies skin.
This one is a definite, says the site, because “it’s clear and gives some indication of which areas to expect improvement [in].”
You’ll see a visible improvement in the signs of aging—specifically lines, uneven skin tone and immediate hydration.
I hope this helps you shop smarter. Even though it feels like we need a degree in chemistry, trusting our instincts and common sense can go a long way. Or simply call the company and ask what it all means. We know if it sounds too good to be true…
(Photo courtesy: Johanna Goodyear | Dreamstime.com)