Skin care products comprise a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States. As a society, we are simultaneously gaining a greater appreciation for health, and putting more importance on appearance. Whether in pursuit of the fountain of youth or waging war against acne, most people are willing to pay a higher price for a better product. Unfortunately, aggressive and often misleading marketing techniques make the task of choosing a better product virtually impossible.
Fact or fiction
What do you look for when purchasing skin care products? Many people who think of themselves as informed consumers are actually guided by myths, born of disproved beliefs or industrial marketing hype. Test your knowledge with this fact or fiction quiz:
“Broad-spectrum sunscreen is better”
FACT: Until recently, the designation “broad-spectrum” had little meaning. However, recent FDA changes in labeling dictate that any product making this claim must protect you against both UVA and UVB rays.
“Natural ingredients are better”
FICTION: We do not have any scientific data to support claims that natural or organic compounds are inherently safer or more effective.
“Cosmeceuticals must be effective or the FDA wouldn’t let them be on the market”
FICTION: The term “cosmeceutical” is derived from “cosmetic” and “pharmaceutical,” leading many people to believe that such products are regulated in the same way as pharmaceutical medications. In fact, these products are classified as cosmetic, which means they are not subject to FDA approval.
“Retinol erases wrinkles and makes your skin look younger”
FACT: This might be better labeled as a partial truth because some companies make retinol sound like the magic formula to turn back the clock, and no product can deliver on such fantastic claims. However, Retinol is one of the most extensively tested and scientifically proven anti-aging ingredients currently on the market.
“Cosmetics with an SPF of 5 or 10 help protect you from the sun”
FICTION: This is another partial truth. Technically, a low SFP may provide a marginal amount of protection from UV rays. However, at those low levels, it is not sufficient to protect you from the photoaging or carcinogenic effects of the sun.
The safest way to decipher the confusing masses of information, misinformation and marketing tactics is to ask your dermatologist. Vivian Bucay, M.D., FAAD, is a widely respected for her extensive expertise in skin care for a variety of conditions, including wrinkles and sun damage, acne, and melasma. She will help you devise a skin care regimen that is uniquely tailored to your individual needs. Call 210-692-3000 and schedule a consultation today.