Tag Archives: ingredients

Taking Issue with Consumer Reports Wrinkle Cream Ratings

In its September 2011 issue (p. 10), Consumer Reports magazine features a story evaluating several advanced skin care products on the basis of effectiveness. CU basically criticized the tested products as marginally effective, although some definite wrinkle reduction effects were observed.

Here’s the problem we have with the Consumer Reports test: they used products that are typically either low-budget, drug store brands with cheap, dilute ingredients, or are the over-hyped department store brands that spend more money on advertising and packaging than on ingredients known for their effectiveness.

The CU “winner” was not even a wrinkle cream, but a moisturizer known as Garnier Nutritioniste. However, neither the CU article or the Garnier website reveals the ingredients in the product. That’s a red flag for savvy consumers, and CU didn’t even pick that up.

If you have read the posts on this skin care blog, you will readily know that there are four mainstay ingredients in effective skin care products: peptides, retinol, hyaluronic acid, and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). However, while some brands might include minor amounts of one of these ingredients for marketing purposes (“Contains Peptides!”), unless these wrinkle fighting ingredients are in a sufficiently concentrated form, they are not going to do your skin much good.

For example, in a clinical trial study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, topical creams with proper concentrations of peptides (specifically Palmitoyl pentapeptide, also known as Matrixyl) used after 4 months decreased the depth and volume of facial wrinkles in test subjects by 27% and 36%, respectively.

If you have any skin care questions that need a professional answer, ask our skin care expert. It’s a free and confidential service.

How to Read Skin Care Ingredient Labels

If you are shopping online for skin care products, be sure the website provides a full list of ingredients. If the ingredients are not revealed, either the merchant doesn’t want you to see that the concentration of active ingredients is low, or there are some questionable ingredients.

Understandably, to protect their formulas, skin care companies don’t reveal the exact percentage of each ingredient in their products. However, you can find some clues by reading the ingredient label. The FDA requires that cosmetic ingredients on the product label be listed in the order of highest to lowest concentration.  For example, if hyaluronic acid is the fifth item in the ingredient list for a moisturizer, it is the fifth most concentrated ingredient in the product. You want to be certain that the active ingredients – the ones you are paying for to improve your skin – are listed near the beginning of the list. Ingredients listed near the end of the list product typically comprise less than one percent of the total and if so, can be listed in any order.

You also want to look at the total number of unique ingredients in a product.  Products with an extensive number of skin care ingredients (more than 15-20), probably contain fillers.  Basic arithmetic will tell you that products with a large number of ingredients have lower concentrations of any given active ingredient.