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Cosmetic Promises and the Brooklyn Bridge

Updated on September 28, 2009

You'd think there's little in common between cosmetic skin care products and architectural spans connecting the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, but I've managed to connect Olay Definity and A&W Root Beer Float in a previous post so you'll just have to trust there's a point in this too. That point being that the promises you see made in a lot of cosmetic advertising are about as valid as any sales pitch you might get for the Brooklyn bridge.

My wife and I have been doing a lot of writing on various makeup products lately. That means a lot of reading and research. In our effort to try to cover the best wrinkle cream on the market, we discovered a few things; 1) I'm a slow reader and researcher and still very easily distracted, 2) it's damn near impossible to pick what the best of something might be, 3) the people who write the advertising for cosmetic companies have long and growing noses.

It "appears" you've been had
It "appears" you've been had

Lies or Misdirection?

Now, if I'm being completely honest (and I resent the implication that I'd be anything but) then I have to give cosmetic advertising a little bit of a pass. See, they aren't REALLY lying to you when they tell you that their product will help you "triumph over wrinkles without toxins, lasers or injections" or that you'll be left with "younger looking skin" or that the anti wrinkle cream they're selling will "eliminate the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles around the mouth." See, what they're selling you probably will do all those things. But, make no mistake, they're still trying to sucker you in. How?

Eliminating the "appearance" of fine lines and wrinkles is not the same as actually eliminating them. "Triumphing" over wrinkles is entirely open to interpretation and, again, isn't a promise to actually get rid of them. And younger "looking" skin is just the illusion of younger skin. Those things and more they can deliver on. But if you're hoping for a medical miracle that actually eliminates wrinkles by firming elastin and collagen, do you really think your department store is the right place to start your search? Does all this mean there's no hope at all aside from injections?

The good news, gang, is that there actually are prescription products with impressive track records and medically proven results. What differentiates them from what you might buy in a department store is that these products (despite their familiar pretty packaging) are drugs rather than cosmetics. But they come with a few annoying problems of their own. For one, you have to go to the doctor to get a prescription. Another concern is that medical solutions may cost more and likely won't be covered by your insurance. Finally, these products take time to work.

Be an Educated Consumer

The point, though, is to know what you need or want and buy the appropriate product to meet your needs. There's actually nothing wrong with a cosmetic that only masks the "appearance" of wrinkles and fine lines in minutes. Seems like a great solution to a date or an important meeting, doesn't it? As long as you recognize that this face-lift-in-a-jar isn't actually fixing your problem, there's nothing wrong with using it. Learn to read the product labeling carefully to ensure you get what you're paying for rather than what you think you're paying for. If actual results (rather than the illusion of results) are your goal then get ye to a doctor.

Does this mean that cosmetics can never hold the title of best wrinkle cream? Well, no, it doesn't mean that at all. In truth, cosmetic companies invest a great deal of their profits into research and even some medical professionals are coming around and admitting that, every now and again, a purely cosmetic cream or product seems to actually be delivering on legitimate results. But those results aren't medically backed. If they were, the product would be a drug rather than a cosmetic. Furthermore, as we discovered writing our article on wrinkle creams, there's no way anybody else can tell you what's best for you outside a personal interview because it's impossible to know your personal needs and limitations.

Also important to consider is that some of the better cosmetics out there deliver on more than just hope for wrinkle reduction. They often include non-prescription level vitamins and antioxidants, moisturizers and UV protection. Those benefits alone lend considerable worth, even if the wrinkle fighting promise might only be temporary or illusory.

The simple point is that identifying the best wrinkle cream is entirely up to you. Your decision will be based on your goals and centered around cost, expediency, convenience, skin sensitivity and the desire for slow-but-real or immediate-but-illusory results. Decide what you want to achieve and be prepared to experiment a little to find what works best for you. Just don't fall for the hype on the ads. Or, if you want to keep believing the hype, I've got a great deal for you; the title to a beautiful old bridge in Brooklyn for a rock-bottom price.


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