Since I am over 50, facial creams are a thing for me. I started the habit halfheartedly a few decades ago, but I have been paying more and more attention to it as of late (better late than never). I’ve also had the benefit of working with a professional in the organic skin care industry. Therefore I’ve learned a lot about proper skin care and am amazed about the face cream myths that are out there.
Face Cream Myths
Looking at the advertisements, anyone can be confused about what works, and what doesn’t, when it comes to face creams. Many promise to remove or reduce wrinkles. Others promise younger looking skin. Some go as far as saying they will take 10 years off your face. They key word in the ads is LOOKING. Can aging really be reversed? How much are you willing to spend to find out?
No one likes wrinkles. Call them distinguished but I don’t want them. Many of my peers spend a ton of money on skin care. In researching products, I’ve discovered that most people are overspending. They are not paying for better ingredients, but rather packaging and brand names. The consensus from dermatologists is that drug store brands are just as good as the “luxury brands”, but dermatologists have a stake in the game too. Who do you believe? I’m not sure, but I can tell you what I’ve learned and what I now do.
What causes wrinkles?
Wrinkles are caused by change in the structure of your skin. That change happens two ways. Our skin is made up mostly of proteins, collagen and elastin. As we age, they break down and we don’t produce as many of those proteins. Wrinkles occur when skin loses elasticity and breaks down over time through use. Those delightful smile lines and brow wrinkles start to wear like high traffic areas of a carpet. The good news is you must smile a lot because your skin has been flexing for so long the tissue wants to stay that way. Combine that use with the drying effect of sun exposure and the like and you have combination for tissue damage. Summary: loss of protein and using your face is what causes wrinkles.
Think of it this way: If you leave an unwrapped lemon on the counter overnight, it will dry out and look less than edible in the morning. Here’s the interesting thing: When you put that lemon in water, it can re-hydrate. So can your skin. Let’s look at how that happens.
Your skin is the largest organ in your body. It needs to breath, it needs water to survive and it needs to be well nourished. Good skin care starts from the inside. When you are dehydrated, your skin shows it. When you are feeling stress, when you don’t consume enough protein or the proper fats, your skin shows it. When you don’t get enough sleep, your skin shows it.
Start there. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, be cognoscente of the type of food you eat and snag those eight hours of sleep every night and your skin will thank you. According to the Harvard Health blog you should consume .8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. That translates into about 53 grams of protein a day for a woman who is 140 pounds. The USDA has a handy daily intake calculator that you can use for your specific needs.
I’ve become a bit of a protein freak. Breakfast is either yogurt or eggs, I drink a plant base protein shake for lunch or at least a snack, and I make sure the other foods I consume throughout the day offer me skin loving benefits.
We need to protect our skin from the outside too. Those proteins can break down from too much sun exposure, ozone, carbon monoxide and other pollutants in our air. To protect our skin from excessive break down we need to prevent bad stuff from getting on and in it and prevent it from losing too much moisture.
Face Cream Myths: Anti-Aging Claims
This is where a lot of confusing claims from manufacturers come in. Skin care producers have been hawking the anti-aging benefits of creams for a long time. What is true and what is marketing? Most anti-aging creams simply hydrate the skin, making it plump out. Your skin looks better, but it is temporary (remember the lemon?). Only products that contain retinol have been shown to help reduce fine lines and sun damage. Retinol increases the rate skin cells turnover. Side note: When it comes to retinol, more is not necessarily better. You may experience redness and irritation if you use a product that is too intense for your skin.
Face Cream Myths: Natural and Organic Labels
One would assume that natural means comes from nature and organic means without any chemical help. The regulations for natural are lenient. Natural can still contain growth hormones, antibiotics and other chemicals. Ick. Organic is stricter, but still has variations.
- Made with organic – means 70% of the product must be certified organic ingredients. These products can not have the USDA organic seal anywhere on them.
- Organic means 90% of the product is made with certified organic ingredients and may use the organic USDA seal.
- 100% Organic must be certified organic and can use the USDA seal and the 100% seal.
Here’s the kicker, per the USDA
“USDA has no authority over the production and labeling of cosmetics, body care products, and personal care products that are not made up of agricultural ingredients, or do not make any claims to meeting USDA organic standards. Cosmetics, body care products, and personal care products may be certified to other, private standards and be marketed to those private standards in the United States. These standards might include foreign organic standards, eco-labels, earth friendly, etc. USDA’s NOP does not regulate these labels at this time.”
Well now, that’s not helpful.
Our reality is, we can’t reverse aging, but we can delay it. Unlike the marketing hype manufactureres will have us belive from their face cream myths: The key comes with eating well – feeding the skin from the inside. That is truly your best offense. Your best defense is moisturizer to seal moisture in the skin and protect it from environmental hazards.
The end result for me: I’ve stopped buying $60 face creams. I spend less than $20 on a goat milk face cream that is made from aloe juice, raw goat milk and organic oils. I also use an avocado face soap that is soothing and moisturizing. While these products are made from a client, I’ve discovered they truly work. People I haven’t seen in a while have remarked on how good I look. I like that (who wouldn’t). I’m still aging (the alternative is worse), but hopefully I am doing it more gracefully.