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The September 2011 issue of Consumer Reports has a round up of anti-aging wrinkle creams that don’t work. After testing beauty brands that included Aveeno, ROC and L’Oreal, on 79 people for 12 weeks, Consumer Reports pronounced them all failures in the anti-aging department, with Garnier performing “slightly better than the rest”. Talk about a frenzied attack on a straw man. You don’t have to test these anti-aging creams to know that they don’t work, you just have to look at the ingredients.
The Consumer Reports Anti-Aging Creams Selection
Consumer Reports doesn’t say how it went about selecting the anti-aging wrinkle creams in the test, but what struck me is how similar they are – as well as being uniformly absolutely awful. Some of them are so awful that I hope the testers got danger money. Even the winning Garnier Nutrioniste Ultra Lift Anti-Wrinkle Firming Moisturizer ($16) is stuffed full of irritants (like triethanolamine, which is frighteningly high up on the ingredients list, toxins (such as octinoxate, a sunscreen active that should not be used by pregnant women) and fillers (eg the stabilizer, polyacryloyldimethyl taurate).
The CVS anti-aging wrinkle cream is so bad, it's almost funny - CVS Firming Anti-wrinkle Moisturizer ($12) seems to have tried to clone the winning Garnier anti-aging cream but perversely left out anything that might remotely make it worth using - which is basically a smidge of argan oil. The only thing that could remotely be considered an active in the CVS is soy protein. I imagine that CVS considers retinyl palmitate to be a positive, but since it has been linked to cancer in sunscreens, I do not.
One of the more expensive anti-aging creams to be tested by Consumer Reports was Aveeno Active Naturals Ageless Vitality Elasticity Recharging System ($40). Its much-touted botanicals – blackberry leaf and dill, which are, by the way, the only things worth a tout – make a sadly token appearance at very end of the ingredients list. And its “biomineral concentrate” is just silly – a mix of silicones with zinc and copper powder (not to be confused with copper peptide). There’s a spot of vitamin E, but otherwise this is basically an over-priced sunscreen and one that might give you cancer rather than prevent it. Several of its sunscreen actives are unstable and oxybenzone is a photocarcinogen, it has demonstrated an increase in the production of harmful free radicals and an ability to attack DNA cells; for this reason, it is believed to be a contributing factor in the recent rise of melanoma cases with sunscreen users. Some studies have shown it to behave similarly to the hormone estrogen, suggesting that it may cause breast cancer. It has also been linked to contact eczema.
The most shocking anti-aging cream on the Consumer Reports list is the pricey Lancome Renergie Double Performance Treatment Anti-Wrinkle Firming ($80). The next time anyone says that my Five Best anti-aging serums are expensive, I am going to close my eyes and think of this. It is the world’s most expensive petroleum jelly – the fourth ingredient after highly sought after water and silicone. What you are ostensibly paying for is hydroxyproline, a component of collagen – however, the body makes its own and a deficiency only happens if you are deficient in vitamin C (source), and anti-inflammatory butcher’s broom.
The Rest of the Consumer Reports Anti-Aging Cream Picks
For those who aren’t already too depressed, the rest of the anti-aging wrinkle creams in the Consumer Reports test were: Equate (Walmart) Advanced Firming Anti-Wrinkle Face & Neck Cream ($8), L’Oreal Revitalift Face & Neck Day Cream ($17), ROC Multi-Correction 4-Zone Daily Moisturizer ($19).
All these products have been vetted through the Truth in Aging review process and really are the best of the best.
Ingredients in Consumer Reports Anti-Aging Wrinkle Creams
Ingredients in Garnier: Active Ingredients: Ensulizole 1.7%, Octinoxate 7.5%. Inactive Ingredients: Water, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Myristyl Myristate, Stearic Acid, Triethanolamine, Palmitic Acid, Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Titanium Dioxide, PEG-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Acrylates Copolymer, Alumina, Argania Spinosa Kernel Extract†, Beeswax, Benzyl Alcohol, Capryloyl Salicylic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Carbomer, Cetyl Alcohol, Citral, Coperinicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Disodium EDTA, Ethylparaben, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Linalool, Methylparaben, PEG-20 Stearate, Phenoxyethanol, Retinyl Linoleate, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Stearyl Alcohol, Tocopherol, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Fragrance.
Ingredients in CVS: Active Ingredients: Ensulizole (1.7%), Octinoxate (7.5%). Inactive Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerine, Myristyl Myristate, Stearic Acid, Triethanolamine, Palmitic Acid, Titanium Dioxide, Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonic Acid, PEG-100 Stearate, Beeswax, PEG-20 Stearate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyl Dimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Retinyl Palmitate, BHT, Tricaprylin, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Crithmum Maritimum Extract, Myristoyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Chlorphenesin, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Fragrance, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate.
Ingredients in Aveeno Revitalizing Day Moisturizer SPF 30: Active Ingredients: Avobenzone (3%, Sunscreen), Homosalate (12%, Sunscreen), Octisalate (5%, Sunscreen), Octocrylene (1.7%, Sunscreen), Oxybenzone (3%, Sunscreen). Inactive Ingredients: Water, PPG-3 Myristyl Ether Neoheptanoate, Phenyl Trimethicone, Hexylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Silica, PEG-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Maltodextrin, Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Glycerides, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate / Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Caprylyl Glycol, Isohexadecane, Bisabolol, Fragrance, Polysorbate 20, Disodium EDTA, Cetyl Hydroxyethylcellulose, Cetearyl Glucoside, Urea Sodium PCA, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Polysorbate 60, Xanthan Gum, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry) Leaf Extract, Peucedanum Graveolens (Dill) Extract, Polyquaternium-51, Trehalose, Sodium Hyaluronate, Methylisothiazolinone, Mica, Titanium Dioxide. Biomineral Concentrate: Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Trisiloxane, Silica, Zinc, Divinyldimethicone / Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Copper Powder
Ingredients in Lancome: Water/Aqua, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Cyclopentasiloxane, Petrolatum, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate SE, PEG-40 Stearate, Myristyl Myristate, Hydroxyproline, Zea Mays Kernel Extract/Zea Mays, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Caffeine, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Chlorhexidine Digluconate, Sorbitan Tristearate, Disodium EDTA, Ruscus Aculeatus Root Extract/Ruscus Aculeatus, Methylsilanol Mannuronate, Soybean Protein/Glycine Soja, Palmitic Acid, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Fragrance/Parfum, Blue 1/CI 42090, Yellow 5/CI 19140, Red 4/CI 14700, B5949/2
Ingredients in L”Oreal: Water (Aqua), Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum), Myristyl Myristate, Shorea Robusta Seed Butter, Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acid, PEG 100 Stearate, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Glyceryl Stearate, PEG 20 Stearate, Acrylamide Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Isohexadecane, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein, Capric/Caprylic Stearic Triglyceride, Acrylates Crosspolymer, Triethanolamine, Polysorbate 80, Acetyl Trifluoromethylphenyl Valylglycine, Retinyl Acetate (Vitamin A), Polycaprolactone, Crithmum Maritimum (Crithmum Maritimum Extract), Methylparaben, Diazolidinyl Urea, Butylparaben, Chlorphenesin, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Fragrance, Benzyl Salicylate, Benzyl Benzoate, Linalool, Hexylcinnamal, Limonene, Citronellol, Butylphenyl Methlyproprional, Geraniol, Alpha Isomethyl Ionone, Benzyl Alcohol, Amyl Cinnamal
Ingredients in ROC: Active Ingredients: Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (8%), Octisalate (4%), Octocrylene (3%) Inactive Ingredients: Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Ascorbyl Glucoside, Behenyl Alcohol, BHT, Bisabolol (L-Alpha), Butylene Glycol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) (Shea Butter), C30 38 Olefin/Isopropyl Maleate/MA Copolymer, Caprylyl Glycol, Carbomer, Copper Gluconate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Disodium EDTA, Ethylparaben, Fragrance, Glycerin, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolyme, Isononyl Isononanoate, Laureth 23, Laureth 4, Magnesium Aspartate, Methylparaben, Mica, Phenoxyethanol, Polysorbate 20, Polysorbate 60, Propylparaben, Retinal, Sodium Hydroxide, Squalane, Steareth 2, Steareth 21, Styrene Acrylates Copolymer, Titanium Dioxide, Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E), Water, Zinc Gluconate