Special Report: Face Cream Face Off - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Special Report: Face Cream Face Off

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

 

What's the most you've ever paid for skin cream?  We found women paying an average $50 to $100.  Would you pay $425 for one made of white caviar?  How about $1,000 for a cream made of platinum?  Another popular treatment made with fermented seaweed costs $2,900.

Other expensive face creams tout exotic ingredients including gold dust, swiss apple stems, rare Japanese silk and even roses.
   
Doctor Greg Herbich, the former president of the State Dermatological Society, says most of these ingredients are either unproven or ridiculous.  Some might even cause an allergic reaction to some patients.
 
"Theres no magic potion," he said.  "A lot of these creams don't work any better than ordinary sunscreens and moisturizers.  None of them are really better than Vaseline."
 
That's right, no better than Vaseline, which retails for about $4.50.

But what about all their fancy language? It's right there on the labels: 'face-firming', 'age defying', 'wrinkle-reversing' and 'cell-regenerating.' 
 
Dr. Herbich says these claims don't live up to the promise.  In fact, some of those beauty buzz words may be illegal.
 
The Food and Drug Administration has ordered dozens of companies to stop suggesting their creams can actually change the skin.  If they could do that they'd be regulated as drugs and be subject to clinical testing.

"The FDA requires scientific studies to back up claims by pharmaceutical companies," said Dr. Herbich

What's worse is that some products that promise to reverse aging actually speed it up.  Dozens of skin lighteners manufactured overseas have tested positive for mercury.  People have been hospitalized.

One common ingredient, Alpha Hydroxy Acid, makes the skin more sensitive to the sun.  AHAs eat away at old skin cells to expose the underlying layers so skin appears 'luminescent'.  There's a buzz word.  But the FDA reports cases of burning, rashes, skin discoloration and peeling.
 
So in a sea of questionable marketing and dubious claims what's a consumer to do?
 
"My strong advice is don't pay too much for these products," said Dr. Herbich.  "Something that you can use on a daily basis for no more than 20 dollars."
 
Dr. Herbich says look for a product that's fragrance-free, hypo-allergenic, and won't cause acne.  And just as important - use sunblock with zinc and titanium.

Unless you feel like splurging on creams made of meteorite dust.  Or bird droppings.  Or the secretion that bees feed to their larvae, known as royal jelly.  You'll find that in Orlane's Crème Royale for $650. You might not look any younger, but there's a chance you could get an allergic reaction.  And that's sure to take your mind off the wrinkles.

Authors note: We asked for interviews with five major makeup companies and several of Honolulu's biggest department stores and they all declined.

 

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