Home' Scoop : Scoop 53 Spring 2010 Contents 100% NATURAL
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Many companies do offer figures and results
of trials, but these must be viewed cautiously, says
Cathy Reid, honorary secretary of the Australasian
College of Dermatologists. She says studies often
concentrate on the opinions of test subjects and
don’t have a scientific basis. It seems the mind
plays tricks because she also quotes a study on a
cream in which 30 per cent of subjects thought the
placebo was “the best thing since sliced bread”.
“We consider a clinical trial one that’s done in
a double-blind controlled fashion, where neither
investigator or patient know what product’s being
used,” Dr Reid says. “There should always be a
placebo and it should look and smell exactly like
the other one.” Those conducting the test should
not know who has the active product, she adds.
This method promotes objectivity. As do
independent trials, rather than in-house ones,
she says, because if researchers are paid by the
company there may be conflicts of interest.
Some companies are moving towards more
scientific methods of assessment, she adds. For
example, skin biopsies are taken to document
microscopic changes in the epidermis (the skin’s
outer layer) and the dermis (the layer beneath it).
Dr Reid says tretinoin, a form of vitamin A,
used to reduce fine lines and blotches, is the only
thing that has been scientifically proven to work.
Three cheers for tretinoin! But you won’t buy it
over the counter – it’s a prescription-only cream.
Another form of vitamin A, Retinol, is used in
consumer creams but doesn’t have the same proven
benefits, Dr Reid says.
If the doctor’s words have dampened the party
mood, Loredana Farina, Chair of the Advanced
Association of Beauty Therapists (CIDESCO
Section Australia), has a different view.
Loredana says to look for products containing
vitamins A, C and E because they fight damaging
free radicals. “They’re listed according to the
percentage of the ingredients so the first item on
the list on the jar... is the most active substance.”
Retinol stimulates collag en to help rebuild skin
and alpha hydroxy aicds (AHAs) expose new skin,
making it more receptive to products, she adds.
What about the peptide Argireline, said to freeze
and inhibit the formation of wrinkles? “It’s used
by many cosmetic houses with visible results.”
A method called ‘needling’ can also be used at
home, she says. A roller with fine pins is applied
to create tiny openings in the skin, boosting its
response to a cream by a whopping 10,000 per cent.
Roll out the roller! Sounds a bit scary but
Loredana should know what she’s talking about –
she’s been in the business for 30 years.
But no matter the claims and counterclaims,
many of us buy cosmetics for reasons barely
associated with their proven efficacy. Look at the
designer bottles many are packaged in. Are they
part of the joy of buying the product? Professor
Jill Sweeney from the Marketing Discipline Group
at UWA Business School says when buying a
product, people are really buying an experience,
and packaging is part of it. They also want the
store and the counter to be attractive and the
salesperson to be pleasant.
“They want the entire experience to be pleasing
and that’s then associated with the product and the
packaging when they bring it home,” she says.
However, she adds, people are now aware of
the need for less packaging, for environmental
reasons. Quality goods are also more attractive
than fancy packaging. On the other hand, buying
a beauty product could be seen as giving ourselves
a treat. “People just want that experience for a
luxury item, not on most occasions,” she says.
But you won’t get pretty bottles from
NeoStrata, the US company that started the AHA
revolution. It spends its money on formulations,
not packaging, says Josie Musolino of Hamilton
Laboratories, which represents NeoStrata here.
“The most expensive part of any skincare
product is fragrance and packaging,” she says.
The company was set up by a dermatologist
and dermatopharmacologist, who discovered the
benefits of AHAs, derived from foods (Cleopatra
got there first – she bathed in sour milk).
Josie explains that AHAs smoothen by stripping
dead skin cells, and also stimulate the production
of new collagen, which helps increase firmness and
reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
part of any
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