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Here comes the science...

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  • Here comes the science...

    We all develop wrinkles with age, and we've all seen the adverts for products that claim to reduce them. But what's the science behind them and do they really work?

    The first and most important rule is don't immediately be impressed by scientific sounding words. "These emollients are specially formulated with aqua and humectants" can be non-scientifically translated as "these lotions and creams contain water and moisturisers". Not nearly so exciting, but basically the same thing.

    The next rule of thumb is if something sounds too good to be true it usually is - so be sure to read the small print. Although a product might use words like "lift" or "slim" in the name, it's unlikely to be a real facelift in a jar, or an easy route to a model figure.

    In fact, if you read the small print you'll often discover the product "has not been proven to have a physical lifting effect" or although it has "been designed to target problem areas around the thighs and bottom it has not been proven to have a slimming effect".

    Many advertisements for cellulite or slimming creams have been banned by the Advertising Standards Agency - more than for any other area of cosmetics. To judge whether a product has really been shown to work, it has to be tested.

    When some studies were examined, several products simply hadn't proved they could reduce or eliminate cellulite at all. Another had been shown to have some slight effect, but no more than could be obtained with a simple moisturiser.

    And this is where the first really useful tips for retaining youth comes in. Very simple products sometimes have a beneficial effect.

    Scientific support

    It's actually possible to measure wrinkle depth. Using technology originally designed for ensuring race car tracks were smooth, a machine projects a bar-code-type symbol on to crow's feet around the eyes. The more the lines curve on the skin surface, the greater the wrinkle depth.

    Amazingly even a completely straightforward moisturiser, with no special ingredients at all, can almost instantly make wrinkles less deep. It's not rocket science.

    As the moisture is absorbed by the skin, it puffs up, temporarily lessening the appearance of the lines. So don't be fooled by expensive products offering an instant effect - you can get the same from any decent moisturiser.


    BOSWELOX - 'A phyto-complex' by L'Oreal that 'relaxes face muscles, helps increase hydration and restore elasticity'

    C-60 - Naturally occurring of carbon, with the 'purity of a diamond', that has 'remarkable anti-oxidant properties'

    RETINOL - 'Penetrates deep into all three layers of skin to stimulate collagen'

    PEPTIDES - 'Instructs the body to make more collagen wherever the cream is applied'

    Science suggests genes have as much to do with wrinkles as anything else. If your mum's laugh lines are deep, chances are yours eventually will be too. But you can slow down this inevitable ageing process.

    The anti-ageing product with the strongest scientific support is plain and simple sun cream.

    "There's very robust scientific evidence that sun exposure is the cause of many of the changes we associate with looking old like coarse wrinkles and sallow texture," says Dr Tamara Griffiths of the British Skin Foundation.

    The evidence that sun protection helps prevent wrinkles is so good, including UVA and UVB sun protection in a cream is enough to justify calling it "anti-ageing".

    Smoking is the other classic way to accelerate the ageing process. Both sunlight and smoking create nasty molecules called free radicals which damage the skin by attacking the collagen which keeps skin supple and youthful. And damaged collagen leads to wrinkles.

    Too good to be true?

    But what everyone really wants is not just prevention, but a way to permanently reduce the wrinkles they've already got. That means more than just moisturising the skin to make it puff up and smooth out wrinkles. The Holy Grail would be to restore the elastic collagen fibres in the skin damaged with age and sun-exposure.

    Too good to be true? In this case, maybe not. Recent clinical studies on an acne medication called tretinoin - or retinoic acid - showed it really could reduce the appearance of fine lines in sun-damaged skin.

    Microscopic analysis of skin biopsies - from the arms of volunteers using the medication for a number of months - showed an increase in collagen in the skin treated with prescription-only tretinoin. But the treatment is only available on prescription as it can have unpleasant side effects on the skin such as redness, itching and peeling.

    But could ordinary cosmetic skin creams have a similar effect? Professor Chris Griffiths, now at the University of Manchester, was involved in some of those early studies on tretinoin.

    Just recently he was asked to run a similar study on sun-damaged skin, but this time using a standard cosmetic moisturising cream. To the team's great surprise, they found the cosmetic cream also seemed to have an ability to repair damaged skin.

    Griffiths stresses the effects of the cosmetic cream were not as dramatic as you would see with tretinoin and the studies were only done on a small group of people over a short time period.


    But he concludes it "wouldn't surprise me at all if other, up til now, designated cosmetic products actually have more effects on skin physiology and skin structure than we gave them credit for in the past. But then you start to question what is a cosmetic and what is a pharmaceutical."

    And that's the catch for the cosmetics companies. If they prove a product really can heal damaged skin, it could be classified as a medicine. That would mean they require years of expensive tests before getting a licence.

    So for the moment, if you want to stay young and beautiful, don't smoke and avoid too much sun exposure. And if you think your moisturiser is helping keep away the wrinkles, just maybe it could be working a little more than skin deep.

    BBC NEWS | UK | Magazine | Here comes the science...

  • #2
    Originally posted by liberte View Post

    The anti-ageing product with the strongest scientific support is plain and simple sun cream.
    BBC NEWS | UK | Magazine | Here comes the science...
    true, or good care of the skin with simple products and healthy habbits like drinking lots of water a day.

    thanks liberte for sharing


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