Anti-Aging Products: Too Good to be True?
8 months ago
The industry is booming, but customers need to keep a level head.
The global anti-aging product market is expected to generate nearly $292 billion in sales by 2015 as the number of creams, lotions, serums, moisturizers, and other treatments (some literally paved in 24-carat gold) that promise to de-puff, perfect and smooth out our skin multiplies by the minute.
But there are a few claims made in anti-aging advertisements that may not be as flawless as they appear.
Last week, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning to beauty giant L'Oreal demanding that it tone down the language used to lure customers to the product Génifique, part of L'Oreal's luxury Lancôme brand. Advertisements for the anti-wrinkle cream claim that it "boosts the activity of genes" and contains ingredients that "stimulate cell regeneration to reconstruct skin to a denser quality"—assertions only drug products can boast. (If the cosmetic company doesn't oblige, Génifique could ultimately be yanked from shelves.)
"Lancôme is committed to complying fully with all laws and regulatory standards," L'Oreal spokeswoman Rebecca Caruso said.
Doctors say consumers need to be wary if a cosmetic product claims to be able to do a little too much.
"First of all, there's nothing that's going to affect our genes—other than a gene transplant. That's absurd," said Dr. Debra Jaliman, author of "Skin Rules" and a New York-based cosmetic dermatologist. "And to reconstruct your skin, the only thing that does that is a laser treatment. I'm glad the FDA picked up on it."
As skin care continues to grow as the largest sector of the natural and organic personal care market—generating $3.3 billion in sales with a nearly 7 percent growth in 2011—there are some who believe that unrealistic ad claims simply speak to the even greater unrealistic expectations of consumers.