By 2015 Americans are expected to spend nearly $300 billion on anti-aging products. Consumers’ willingness to shell out vast sums of money on skin care products proliferated even in the depths of the Great Recession, and the trend shows no sign of slowing down.
A closer look at the wording associated with anti-aging advertising claims reveals something many consumers miss. The best a manufacturer can claim of a wrinkle cream or serum without running afoul of the FDA is to “minimize the appearance of wrinkles” — a subjective, not objective claim. Essentially, any product to effectively treat dry skin — whether it claims to combat wrinkles or not — can temporarily minimize the appearance of wrinkles.
For the money, many consumers would be better served under the care of a dermatologist. Prescriptions are not only stronger and better studied, some may represent a better anti-aging value for the money in contrast to OTC brands, some of which can run hundreds of dollars per ounce. In generic form, a prescription may be less costly than exceedingly weak preparations sold by home shopping networks and department stores.
OTC anti-aging products are forbidden, by law, to contain prescription-strength concentrations of active ingredients such as retinoids or to make drug-like claims. If presented with a choice between a prescription and a non-prescription treatment, opt for the FDA cleared version — not the unregulated products that line store shelves.
A common misconception among consumers is the belief that price correlates with effectiveness. With many ingredients in skin care preparations ineffectual or even hazardous to one’s health, less may be more. Not only will your wallet thank you, stress reduction through improved diet, exercise and money saved toward vacations and retirement may be the wiser anti-aging strategy.
Skin Deep Cosmetics Database | Environmental Working Group
Top Wrinkle Creams | Consumer Reports
Unlocking the Secrets of a Skin Care Product’s Ingredient List | SmartSkinCare.com