This week's Newsweek tears into Oprah's latest anti-aging health guru, the 62 year-old Suzanne Somers. According to Newsweek
's cover story, each morning Ms Somers "rubs a potent estrogen cream into the skin on her arm. She smears progesterone on her other arm two weeks a month. And once a day, she uses a syringe to inject estrogen directly into her vagina
". Newsweek found plenty of doctors to discredit her approach and so I hotfooted (with, I must admit, undignified glee) to Suzanne Somers' website expecting to find that she had an equally nutty skincare regime. I was wrong.
Her own brand of anti-aging cosmetics are based on perfectly sensible, if unremarkable, botanicals and vitamins. For example, her Hydra-Lift Serum PM Treatment, selling for a reasonable $52, gets off to a good start with a base of apple juice, which is rich in vitamin A, B, C, K, alpha-hydroxy acid (malic acid), phytonutrients, flavonoids, phenols; all protective against cell and tissue damage. Next up is meadowfoam seed oil. This is increasingly cropping up in cosmetic and hair care products because it is very stable due to its fatty acid composition. Meadowform seeds are 60% omega-9 fatty acids. In practice, it behaves like a safe silicone, adding gloss and helping with the retention of moisture.
Overall, I'd say there is a nice balance of things that provide antioxidants, things that moisturize and things that exfoliate (such as willow bark, lactose and vitamin A). Worthy of a shout-out is a biopolymer from oat called beta-glucan. Research in 2005 showed that oat beta-glucans can penetrate deep into the skin and reduce wrinkles by up to 15%. They seem to enhance wound healing through several mechanisms including the stimulation of collagen deposition.
Apart from phenoyethanol, there is nothing to dislike in this potion. The rest of the range looks good too. And she even has a device called FaceMaster that is an at-home microcurrent treatment. I am a big fan of microcurrent (a salon version is something that is a major part of my monthly routine) and there is plenty of evidence to demonstrate that it helps keep facial muscles perky. Providing FaceMaster doesn't go the way of Ms Sommer's syringes, even Newsweek would be hard pushed to trounce it.
Ingredients in Hydra-Lift Serum PM Treatment:
Pyrus Malus (Apple) Juice, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Extract, Salix Alba (White Willow) Bark Extract, Algae (Sea Algae) Extract, Macrosystis Pyrifera (Sea Kelp) Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Honey, Saccharium Officinarium (Raw Cane Sugar), Sorbitol, Pectin, Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Xanthan Gum, Glucose, Glucose Oxidase, Lactose Peroxidase, Oat Beta Glucans, Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail) Extract, Tussilago Farfara (Coltsfoot) Flower Extract, Acetic Acid, Lactic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil.