Are anti-ageing creams merely a marketing gimmick?

By Louise Prance

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Skin, Gerontology

The authenticity of anti-ageing creams have come under further
scrutiny with the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons
(BAAPS) claiming they are merely a misleading advertising ploy.

In a press release from Age Concern, the charity working with and for older people, the honorary secretary of BAAPS, Kevin Hancock dismissed anti-ageing creams as simply being 'expensive moisturisors'. The creams are said to merely be a cheaper, less reliable version of botox surgery, a cosmetic procedure that has become more and more popular as an everyday treatment to counteract the onslaught of fine lines and wrinkles. "Nothing that you can buy in a cream in the high street is going to have the effect that Botox will,"​ Hancock said. Hancock went on to claim that many female consumers could be fooled into buying the creams by believing misleading advertising campaigns. However, he warned that there is very little evidence that any of the creams would in fact be significantly effective. The market for anti-aging products is continuing to grow at well into double figures every year, defying far lower growth figures for other areas of the skin care segment. The anti-aging market has hit such heights that it is now the leading segment within skin care, having an annual growth rate of 11.3 per cent expected by 2010 - one of the highest growth rates for the whole cosmetics industry. However, in parallel with the growth of anti-aging creams, dermal fillers have also grown tremendously. Botox was seen as the pioneering dermal filler and continues to grow tremendously in popularity, both in North America and Europe. The most successful advertising campaign for an anti-ageing cream this year will no doubt go to UK's leading health and beauty store Boots's No7 Protect and Perfect anti-ageing serum. Sales for the product rose by 2000 per cent following an independent study showing that it 'visibly reduces wrinkles' - having a TV appearance on a BBC Horizon programme. Following this many stores had to draw up waiting lists to cater for the growing demand for the product. However, contradicting Hancock's claims that the creams are not significantly effective, researchers from the University of Manchester say the £17 could be just as, if not more, effective than products that are only available from doctors on prescription. Lesley Regan, a professor of Obsterics and gynaecology at St Mary's hospital in London, studied the difference between many creams that claim to turn back the signs of ageing from sun damage, such as wrinkles. In order to do this Regan compared the effects of the No7 serum on collagen production against the effects of retinoic-acid or tretinoin, both prescription drugs. Results showed that the serum was just as effective, despite claims that no over-the-counter formula could match the results of the drugs. Indeed, it was said to be more effective than products such as La Prairie anti-wrinkle products, priced at £229 for a smaller amount than the No7 serum.

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