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Reader review: The Mind-Beauty Connection

November 10, 2008 Reviewed by TIA Community Member 0 Comments

Marta writes: First some context. I recently started to read The Mind-Beauty Connection (9 days to reverse stress aging) by Amy Wechsler MD and was so perplexed by some of the assertions made in it, that I contacted someone who knows far more about the chemistry of anti-aging creams than I do (because he makes some very good ones). He was so intrigued that he got hold of the book and then sent me the comments below (he didn't want his name or skincare company mentioned, so I've chosen to call him 'The Formulator' because he's my cosmetic hero).

Posted by 'The Formulator'

Oh Marta,

30 minutes ago, had you turned your ear toward Florida, you most certainly would have heard the kuh-thunk of a book hitting a wall. I didn't really throw the book...but after reading about a third of it, I HAD to stop myself and just walk away or else I might have.

So...I have some thoughts...first, the good... The book seems to have much intent, some of which is to challenge the skincare product industry, which is fantastic. It is unfair that consumers have to wade through thick marketing ploys, claims and overpriced garbage to find some gems that do good. So, more power to any author that takes the industry to-task.

I love that she shines a spotlight on psychology of our perceived beauty and longing for skincare products in the first place...and how we as consumers want to believe the products we buy will do good.

In between a load of conjecture and backpedaling, there are also some fantastic skincare and skincare ingredient facts. The problem there being, the general reader may not know when they are reading fact and when they are reading the author's opinion about an ingredient's value.

...And the not so good...

I've never read a book and thought, "Hmmm. Bad editing." until now. There were conflicting concepts that, had they been busted in the editing process, would have added value as opposed to confusion for the reader. For example, there's a section telling consumers to use any moisturizer and goes on to explain types of ingredients to look for...highlighting lanolin toward the top of a list. I thought, "lanolin? REALLY?" Lanolin is a sheep's wool product and a lot of people are allergic to it, so I thought that was strange to suggest the reader go find a basic moisturizer with lanolin. ...But then I kept reading and later in the book, see that lanolin is explained [finally] to be an irritant and should be avoided. So my question is, why bring it up earlier in a list advising what consumers should look for in their products?

...And the bad...

The thing that had me most frustrated was the stake-in-the-ground statement at the start of the book that nothing else on the planet will work for your skin except retinol products...and then from there, page after page of backpedaling to highlight ingredients and products that "work". It's a mixed message that I think does a disservice to readers. My frustration was brought to a peak when she began touting the value of AHAs and BHAs while also mentioning their likelihood to increase sun sensitivity...yet I don't recall reading such alerts when she was talking about retinols.

Anyhow, so to sum up, there's a good book somewhere in The Mind-Beauty Connection. Unfortunately in it's current state - with the "shock jock" approach and conflicting messages, there's better, more balanced reading elsewhere to be found.

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