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Dr Oz’s beauty mistakes that age you

November 18, 2010 Reviewed by Marta 16 Comments

Dr Oz recently did a segment on three “beauty mistakes” that will make you look older. They turned out to be: using under eye cream; washing your face before your hair; failing to use a retinol-based neck cream. I found all three of them curious choices - at best random and at worst slightly off kilter. No wonder that the three audience members participating in the segment looked a little nonplussed. So I dug a little deeper into all three and into some of the other content on the Dr Oz website.

Let's start with the first beauty blunder according to Oz, using under eye cream.  Specifically, he said that under eye cream could be giving you under eye bags and went on to say that this is because eye creams that contain quaternium-15 and or fragrance could be causing irritation to the delicate under eye skin. O-kay….

Quaternium-15 15 is a quaternary ammonium salt that is used as a preservative. The unpleasant aspect to it is that it releases formaldehyde and this, in turn, can cause contact dermatitis, In a study on 86 patients allergic to formaldehyde, 73% co-reacted to quaternium-15.. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies formaldehyde as a human carcinogen (although Dr Oz didn’t mention formaldehyde is carcinogenic).

Now, although I agree that Dr Oz is probably right to warn you off quaternium-15, it should be noted that the CIR (the cosmetics industry body) says “the weight of evidence suggested that a 0.2% concentration is not a sensitizer”. This is the level at which it is permitted by the EU.

But mostly, I’m perplexed as to why Dr Oz would raise quaternium-15 rather than other preservatives that are also dangerous irritants and are much more ubiquitous – such as phenoxyethanol. Quaternium-15 just isn’t in all that many things. If you Google “quaternium-15 and eye cream” the first thing that pops up is Dr Oz. A search on Truth In Aging revealed that quaternium-15 is some products, typically wash off ones such as Peter Thomas Roth’s cleansing gel or Nutra-Lift’s goat milk shampoo.

Perhaps this is behind Dr Oz’s beauty mistake #2 – washing your face before you shampoo. This is what Dr Oz had to say about this hazardous practice: if you wash your face before your hair in the shower, then the shampoo and conditioner can actually help oils from your hair get onto your face, which can give you breakouts and issues along your hair line. So instead, wash your face at the very end of your shower.

Of all the beauty blunders that many of us might be guilty of – not removing makeup before going to bed, using a cream with parabens and phenoxyethanols, or wasting our money on the lastest department store potion advertised in our favorite magazines – why on earth pick on this one. Isn’t the oil going to be rinsed away under the shower? How oily would your hair have to be to drip on your face, bury itself in your skin and refuse to be rinsed away?  If your shower routine is giving your breakouts, then it might be more to do with shampoos that contain silicones or irritating chemicals (not to mention quaternium-15).

The third beauty blunder that Dr Oz warns against is not using a retinol cream on your neck. He rightly points out that we often neglect our necks when, in fact, we should give the thinner skin there even more attention than our faces. But I do think it’s a little irresponsible to blithely dole out retinol creams without pointing out the contraindications. Sensitive skins – like mine – can’t take retinols at all. They make you much more sensitive to the sun. They exfoliate but don’t build up the collagen in thinning skin (unless with other ingredients that expressly do, such as some kinds of peptides). And he didn't mention that the retinoid family(to which retinol belongs) is vitamin A and there are some controversial issues and concerns about toxicity that at least consumers should be aware of.

Finally, I have to mention that my view of Dr Oz went down a notch when I found, whilst roaming his website, an article by Arthur Perry MD entitled “are eyelash growers safe?”.  Dr Perry is a plastic surgeon in New Jersey and his article is mostly about the prescription eyelash growth product, Latisse.

This is what he says:

“Because Latisse is a prescription drug, it is expensive and requires a visit to your doctor. That has prompted a bunch of cosmetics companies to make competing products that also claim to grow eyelashes. These different cosmetics contain chemicals like prostaglandins, vitamins, and other things that claim to make your eyelashes grow.”

He concludes by saying: “Latisse has passed the scrutiny of the FDA and is safe and effective. The same cannot be said for the over the counter versions.”

Not once does Dr Perry say that Latisse contains a prostaglandin and that it can have serious side effects. Nor does he mention that this FDA approved product comes with considerable warnings to the consumer that were imposed by the FDA after the product launched. T

Truth In Aging has detailed information on Latisse and on the FDA warnings.

Related: Also read Dr. Oz's (and my) take on vitamin C.

  • December 16, 2010

    by Lynda

    I also love Dr. Oz - most of the time. I get some good tips on foods, spices, etc... But I was appalled when he had a dermatologist say that women should start using Botox as a preventative measure in their 30's! What? I think he doesn't want to offend any doctors, and I do appreciate hearing the newer stuff that's out there, especially when he says what to stay away from. I also thought it was completely ridiculous to scare women with pictures of dramatic aging (the women seemed freaked out), because some shampoo gets on their face. I wonder if he vetted this before airing. It seems like some overzealous editors couldn't find anything sufficiently scary to report, so they decided on this.

    All in all, still a good show to watch.

  • December 2, 2010

    by marta

    I'm even more worried about some of the advice Dr Oz is giving people about having surgery to lose that spare tire. On Truth In Slimming, I looked at the assertion of one his guests saying that muffin tops defy exercise and diet and, therefore, liposuction is the only answer. Its just not true:

  • November 29, 2010

    by Rich Girl

    Thank you for a very interesting article. I never put creme on my neck, but after all these warnings I should start doing something about it, before it's too late.

  • November 24, 2010

    by Jenna

    Latisse doesn't have serious side effects IF used appropriately, meaning brushed onto the eye along the eyelashes. The serious side effects (coloring of the iris) surfaced in the Lumigan trials. Lumigan and Latisse use the same chemical. However Lumigan is instilled directly in the eye; Latisse along the eyelash skin only. Since you seem to be a stickler for accurate medical reporting your article should mention this instead of scaring people with "serious side effects" that aren't going to happen. Some people might construe "serious side effects" to mean loss of vision. Not so easy to write effectively is it? I think my view of you went down a notch.

  • November 21, 2010

    by Richard

    I also agree that a TIA weekly healthy lifestyle show would be one of the best things people could watch. Full support!

  • November 19, 2010

    by Doreen Motton

    Hi Marta! It's Doreen from Neero & Ana. You reviewed our Satin Hydration Therapy hair & skin caring satin pillowcases a while back on your site.
    I was actually the 3rd person that appeared on this Dr. Oz segment. He revealed (with a little help from me) that not moisturizing your neck is a huge mistake many women make. As skin become thinner and less plump as we age, moisture is key to suppleness.
    Of course our satin pillowcases are also hydrating, so face & skin are well protected.
    Nice to see the wealth of continued information on your site.
    The Very Best,
    Neero & Ana

  • November 18, 2010

    by VickyL

    Very interesting article Marta. I find Dr Oz thought process puzzling. He says to wholesale ban a product category or way of doing things because you could come into contact with a chemical irritant. Why not just tell people to read the product label and avoid the irritant?

    It's always odd when someone has pretty good advice in one health category (exercise and food) but blows it in another health category (personal care products). It sounds like he is relying on cosmetic formulators and doctors who are behind the times in effective personal care products and processes.

    So Marta, when can we see the TV show. :) Weekly shows on YouTube would be a good start!

  • November 18, 2010

    by Junko

    This is exactly why Oz needs marta on his show! One would never expect him to be knowledgeable about everything which is why he always has experts on his show to defer to. Actually, I've always thought he could do better in selecting his experts too. Nonetheless his show is never too deep and his segments so small on topics that his show is just a good place to get ideas like Marta said. Marta having her own show would be great but she needs to have some national exposure to build up recognition and LOVE for her. Easier for her to appear on Oz's show as one of his experts SO...Here is the link again everyone. Takes literally like 2 minutes, 5 if you elaborate a bit extra on how wonderful Marta and TIA is. COME ONE EVERYONE...DO IT!! If everyone SUBMIT'S the same LOVE someone has got to wonder who this Marta woman is over there in Oz Land:

  • November 18, 2010

    by Susan


    Now I know my mother and I are not the only ones that feel this way. He once had Paula Begon on, and she highly recommended Oil of Olay. I was appalled. Now all these people are going to buy it figuring they will look 20 years younger. Dr. Oz should be ashamed of himself.

  • November 18, 2010

    by marta

    Sunday, I agree with you about the healthy lifestyle material - in fact, I was watching Oz in the first place for ideas for Truth In Slimming - which I will continue to check his show out for. But with regards his beauty segments, I'll be wearing my skeptic's hat.

  • November 18, 2010

    by Sunday

    I think some of his segments are really helpful for a healthier lifestyle, lose just 10 lbs., stop drinking soda, eat this instead of that etc...BUT his producers are giving us a bunch of fluff with his beauty segments...however I really get a kick watching him trying to do the exercise moves, now THAT is always good for a quick laugh. Marta, I just love how thorough your articles are. I saw this Dr. Oz show and was thinking "Really??!!"

  • November 18, 2010

    by ha

    OMG JAYSIE. That's a great idea! I would so watch!

  • November 18, 2010

    by Jaysie

    Forget Oz, I think it's time you have your OWN show! If cooks, decorators, DIYers, drs., painters, knitters, seamstresses, clothing designers, et al, can have TV shows, I'm sure a show with you hosting TIA would be hugely successful! Hurry, let's do a proposal before Paula thinks of it!

  • November 18, 2010

    by catlover2x

    Never say never. Dr Oz seems pretty willing to learn. I'd always liked him on Oprah and on a few of his specials, but I did wonder if trying to extend into a full hour show was going to have this kind of result. Sad. However, great article. If he reads it he should be jonesing to have you on.

  • November 18, 2010

    by marta

    Thanks Ha. With apologies to Junko though - I'll NEVER get on the show now.....

  • November 18, 2010

    by ha

    LOVE the article.

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