The Search for Your Wonder Cream
The cosmetic industry is, with an annual turnover of around 220 billion dollars, one of the biggest in the world! And it is still growing. I wrote two years ago that the “average woman” uses around 9 products a day, it currently stands at 12. I am noticing though that people have lost their faith in the effectiveness of cosmetic products. It’s a pity, because despite my often critical comments, I believe more than ever in the possibilities of cosmetic products. Searching for your wonder cream…
The top tip: what is THE wonder cream?
Unfortunately I can’t give you a top tip. As even a product with a fantastic INCI list can maybe transform your skin into “baby smooth skin” but give me red blotches. There are so many factors that influence this: hyper-sensitivity, allergy, hydration, sebum production, thickness of the skin and so it goes on. Through studies carried out, we have seen that the characteristics of a skin determine the penetration and effectiveness of an ingredient. And not forgetting, although a product may be good, if you don’t like the way it goes on or the smell then there is little chance that you are going to have a lasting partnership with it!
Know the rules
With the help of a few basic rules you can still, without knowing all of the thousands of different ingredients, ‘separate the wheat from the chaff’. And that makes choosing a product a little easier; as believe me, you won’t remember many of them…. So, before going to the cosmetics counter to buy your wonder cream, remember the following rules:
Ask for products that:
1. Are contained in a tube, pump or, even better, air tight dispenser. The majority of active ingredients, and in fact all anti-oxidants (even the more stable ones), do not react well to oxygen. So don’t buy pots, unless your skin only needs grease.
2. Contain no unnecessary irritating ingredients. The most important are perfume and denatured alcohol. You can count on one hand the number of Dermatologists that will advise you to use products with these substances. You can find other ‘Ingredients to Avoid’ here.
3. Contain substances whereby the effectiveness has actually been proven; this can be anti-oxidants, soothing or barrier repairing substances. The most important ones are Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) vitamin E (tocopherol), Niacinamide, Panthenol, Green Tea, Allantoin, Beta-glucan, Grape seed, Liquorice extract, (Glycyrrhiza glabra),Glycolic acid, Salicylic acid, Retinol, Lycopene, Co-enzyme Q10, Palmitoyl pentapeptide and Idobenone.
4. Have active ingredients in sufficient concentrations. You can assume that some ingredients (e.g in the case of Glycolic Acid, Vitamin C and Niacinamide) should be displayed in the first or middle part of the ingredients list.
Trial and error
All being well there should be just a few products left over. If you haven’t yet driven the sales assistant to despair, you could of course still ask if they have testers of these products! Because as I have just written, the last step is “trial and error”….
(Dr. Jetske Ultee–Research Physician Cosmetic Dermatology)
You can also read the blogs:
‘Pots Are for in the Recycling Container’,
‘Do Anti-Oxidants Really Work in a Cream?’,
‘Product Safety: A Useful Database’,
‘The Search for Cosmetic Products; The Ingredients List’,
Dr. Peter Velthuis on ‘The Effectiveness of a Cream’.