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Caviar in beauty products?

April 11, 2009 Reviewed by Marta 1 Comment
Since it is Easter, it seems appropriate to think about eggs. They are one of my favorite foods and they are amazingly good for you as a low-fat source of protein (the accusation that eggs increase one's cholesterol is much disputed). In fact eggs contain so many good things - all the essential amino acids, vitamin A, vitamin D, choline, folic acid, riboflavin, and half the recommended daily intake of choline (which is vital for the prevention of heart disease) - that I wondered why they don't turn up in skin care products. Sometimes you will find hydrolized egg white in cosmetics, but the the very rare examples of products with hydrolized whole egg are unconvincing. So I switched sources and turned from the chicken to fish.

Bear with me; I am still on the subject of eggs. Caviar, nothing but a fish egg with a fancy name and a bed of ice to accompany it, abounds in skin and hair products. There's La Praries's Skin Caviar range with products in the $200+ range, and Alterna does a range of shampoos and conditioners, plus there is the caviar body wrap of which Angelina Jolie is a fan. But is there any point to putting caviar in shampoo - other than helping to jack up the price point?

One of the key components of caviar is arginine. This is the building block of proteins, it plays a pivotal role in cell division, the healing of wounds, immune function, the release of hormones, and the production of growth hormone. In skin care, it is supposed to build collagen production. As of yet, however, not one study can prove the skin regeneration effects of arginine when topically applied to the skin.

We seem on firmer ground with omega-3 fatty acids, which we all know are amazingly good for us. But no, there is something fishy going on here as well. As with arginine, the evidence showing the efficacy of omega-3 when applied topically is very thin. It was dissed by a German study on the effects of topical omega-3 on psoriasis. The University of Maryland says that "research indicates that topical sunscreens are much better at protecting the skin from damaging effects of the sun than omega-3 fatty acids".

Clearly, there is little that's convincing about a caviar cream and we'd all be better off taking our omega-3 supplements. Which leads me to some really good news. Flax seed oil is six times richer than most fish oils in n−3. AND flax seed supplements showed very good results against aging skin in a recent study. Researchers from Germany and France found that the omega-3 and omega-6 (fatty acids) in flax and borage oils prevent skin from roughening and scaling.

Even my neighbor, a very skeptical medical research scientist, told me only last night that flax supplements are the only ones with any meaningful data demonstrating that they are good for you and he and his wife are now pill popping. OK, I know eggxactly what I'm going to be doing.
  • April 11, 2009

    by JulieK

    This is nice, since I've been taking flaxseed oil supplements for the past eight months in quite hefty doses...=) ~jk

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