CRUELTY FREE/NOT TESTED ON ANIMALS
Pulling at the heartstrings of animal lovers everywhere, the unrestricted use of marketing terms like 'Cruelty Free' and 'Not Tested On Animals' are frequently found on skincare product labels. Some manufacturers apply these claims to their finished skincare products only. The same manufacturers may rely on raw material suppliers to perform animal testing to substantiate ingredient or product safetly. Also, ingredients in the final product may not be currently tested on animals, but may have been in the past, also to substantiate ingredient safety. With no legal definition, it is the manufacturers' discretion as to the meaning of the effective marketing terms 'Cruelty Free' and 'Not Tested On Animals.'
I NEED AN "EYE CREAM"
Reduce Under Eye Bags and Puffiness!
Fade away those Dark Circles & Rings!
Wipe away Fine Lines & Wrinkles from around your eyes!
Examples of typical marketing jargon found on "eye" creams sold at department stores, local pharmacies, and on-line.
"Eye creams" don't contain any special ingredient that is specific to the eye area. As a matter of fact, the overwhelming majority of ingredients used to formulate eye creams are identical to those used in most facial moisturizers. And there is little, if any, scientific evidence that those "marketing tool" ingredients, like caffeine, that claim to eliminate under eye puffiness, have any benefit at all. The ability of an "eye" cream to improve the appearance of skin around the eyes is more dependent on the products ability to increase the water content of the skin, its effectiveness as a moisturizer. The one ingredient that the eye area could benefit from the most, since the skin around the eye is so very thin and vulnerable to the sun's damaging ultraviolet rays, is sunscreen. Ironically, most eye creams on the market do NOT contain any!
False: You do NOT need an "eye cream." A well-formulated facial moisturizer will do.
WHAT IS A WRINKLE?
That little fold or crease in the outer corner of your eye, or on your forehead, or perhaps, falling from your nose towards the corners of your mouth. Interestingly enough, if you biopsy a wrinkle, and look at it under the microscope, the wrinkle is not evident. As a matter of fact, there is no anatomical structure associated with either a skin wrinkle or crease. And if you compare skin from a wrinkle with adjacent non-wrinkled skin, there is no histological difference seen in either a light microscope or an electron microscope.
So what is a wrinkle? Are wrinkles arbitrary? Are they a configurable change brought about by repeated muscular contractions? Are they influenced by environmental stressors like ultraviolet light or cigarette smoke?
The top layer of skin is called the epidermis. This layer gives the skin its waterproofing ability and protects the skin from environmental stressors like bacteria, viruses, allergens, and ultraviolet light. The second layer of skin is called the dermis. Within the dermis, specialized cells called fibroblasts produce the structural proteins, collagen and elastin, that give the skin its tensile strength and flexibility.
Under a light microscope, a breakdown in the elastic tissue within the dermis is seen in wrinkled skin. Deep wrinkles found in sun damaged skin show a disruption of the elastic tissue adjacent to the wrinkle in the lower levels of the dermis. These wrinkles seem permanent as one is unable to rid of them when stretching the skin. Wrinkles from sun protected skin, however, show a disruption of elastin in the superficial dermis. These wrinkles appear more temporary as one can 'erase' the wrinkles by stretching the skin.
Science has also shown that ultraviolet radiation from the sun, in particular UVB rays, can stimulate pro-inflammitory compounds. These compounds cause the collagen producing fibroblasts to express elastase, an enzyme that breaks down elastin yielding a loss of skin elasticity, and hence, wrinkle formation.
So what really causes wrinkles?
Many beauty and health magazines blame wrinkles on all sorts of things.
- Not washing your face.
- Not removing makeup before you go to sleep.
- Not sleeping on a silk pillowcase.
- Sleeping on your stomach instead of your back.
- Sitting too close to a computer screen.
- Resting your face in your hands.
There is very little, if any, science proving these allegations.
Based on science, no one really knows for sure what causes wrinkles but the scientific evidence points to:
- The effects of time itself, the unpreventable aging process, causes a decrease in function of skin cells that produce structural proteins, collagen and elastin. This yields superficial wrinkling.
- Ultraviolet exposure from the sun, a preventable form of skin aging, causes deeper wrinkling and a more permanent skin wrinkling due to the stimulation of the enzymes that break down healthy structural proteins necessary for healthy looking skin.
Commentary on wrinkles: Wrinkles are inevitable because they are a part of aging, and aging is inevitable. But aging is a process, a process not everyone gets to experience. Image if you knew 20 years ago what you know today. Embrace those wrinkles. You've earned them!
The best advice for healthy skin: live a healthy livestyle. Eat a well-balanced nutritious diet, exercise regularly, get some zzz's, avoid direct sun exposure, especially midday, and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen SPF 30+ daily!
DO ANTI-WRINKLE CREAMS WORK?
Anti-wrinkle creams ARE moisturizers. These products intend to increase the water content of the skin, temporarily improving the appearance of the skin. The consumer imagines water being pumped into a raisin, becoming a firmer grape. This theory may apply to very superficial fine lines, especially those found around the eyes where the skin is the thinnest, but in actuality, facial lines and wrinkles are due to a loss of connective tissue in the deeper layers of skin. In addition, dehydrated skin may exacerbate the appearance of facial imperfections. Although the application of an anti-wrinkle cream may leave the skin feeling more soft and supple to the consumer, and, as moisturizers, may increase the water content of skin thereby temporarily improving the appearance of the skin surface, more pronounced facial wrinkles and skin folds cannot be corrected by applying 'anti-wrinkle' creams.
THE CHARCOAL TREND
Like many ingredients touted as beneficial in skincare products, you can add activated charcoal to the list of "newest fads."
Charcoal is the result of burning a carbon rich material (like wood) at a low heat without oxygen. It creates a non-porous (without spaces) carbon substance. Heat up this substance with steam (oxygen) in a pressurized environment and activated charcoal is the result. Unlike charcoal, activated charcoal is porous, filled with many tiny sponge-like spaces or pores. All these little spaces within activated charcoal create a large surface area that is particulary helpful for "soaking up substances."
Although there is little, if any, scientific evidence proving efficacy, manufacturers often claim that activated charcoal in skincare products can absorb oil from skin pores, draw out dirt that other cleansers cannot reach (which probably means you're using the wrong cleanser), and remove "toxins" (although manufacturers never identify exactly which "toxins" they're talking about.) Some manufacturers go so far as to claim that activated charcoal has anti-aging properties.
After review of the dermatologic literature, no clinically significant scientific evidence proving the claimed benefits of topically applied activated charcoal in skincare products could be found. Products containing activated charcoal are usually inexpensive, and due to their black color, pretty cool looking. So although no scientific evidence proving any benefits of topically applied activated charcoal could be found, there was no evidence finding it harmful, either.
The best skincare advice: Moisturize, apply daily sunscreen, live a healthy lifestyle (eat a healthy diet, get adequate sleep, exercise regularly), and if you have a little disposable income and wish to "have fun" with a trendy, neat looking skincare product that contains activated charcoal, go for it!
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Welcome to Fully Exposed
Hello, and welcome to FryFace!
I've been a New York based dermatologist for over 25 years. I love music. I love triathlons. I love chemistry. (I love Petrolatum jelly.) I study skincare ingredients and product formulation. I listen to skincare "advice" from self-proclaimed ......Read More