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Tuesday, 15 August, 2000, 10:21 GMT 11:21 UK
Beauty products - are they worth it?
Hundreds of women spend vast amounts of money buying the latest lotions and potions that claim to combat the tell-tale signs of ageing, but they could be wasting their money.

The future of anti-wrinkle creams is coming under the spotlight as the European Commission is considering new restrictions on some of the ingredients. There are concerns they actually work by peeling off the outer layer of skin.

Does the sign of laughter-lines and crow's feet send you running for the nearest chemist for the latest jar of miracle cream? Do you spend a lot of time and money preserving your youth? Or do you think we should grow old gracefully?

Your reaction.


It is well known fact that northern women stay beautiful for longer than southern women do

Elena, Sweden
I think also that the problem is not only with creams and drinking plenty of water. We forget that our faces depend on weather and climate where we live. It is well known fact that northern women stay beautiful for longer than southern women do. It is better to live in North than in South if you want to look young!
Elena, Sweden

There is always money to be made out of human vanity in its many guises. Wrinkles, laughter lines etc are a manifestation of a life well lived. I would rather see a face full of character than a perfect specimen of narcissism.
S Elliott, UK

People do not seem to realise that they need to drink water (at least 1.5 litres per day) in order to have good skin. Wearing any cream cannot help in itself.
Salma, UK


Where is the harm after all in wanting to look your best - we are not discussing plastic surgery here!

Clare, Netherlands
You have all also forgotten that a lot of the way you age is genetic. I agree that some products make unrealistic and extravagant claims, but skin needs moisture and with the additional stresses placed on it by living as many of us do in polluted cities, a little help is also often required.
Many of these formulations contain as their bulk ingredients, plants and organic materials; something our grannies used to whip up at home is now bought on the high street. Where is the harm after all in wanting to look your best - we are not discussing plastic surgery here!
Clare, Netherlands (Ex Scotland)

Wake up beauty perfectionists. Beauty is a billion dollar industry. Does it make sense that one product would ever be enough. It is all about getting women to constantly strive for perfection false hopes that don't actually exist.
Leslie, USA

I think anti-ageing creams are a complete waste of time. You spend all your money on all these products and they hardly ever work anyway.
Rachel, England


Is it too late to live a natural life?

Dr H Bhogal, UK
Look around you and see what we are doing? Reluctant to get old gracefully or look how God meant us to look until we depart this world. Ultimately either it is going to be living forever and get bored to "death" or all the plastic surgery is going to fall off and all the creams are going to be useless and we will find side effects that only time will unmask. Is it too late to live a natural life?
Dr H Bhogal, UK

Beauty products are a waste of money. Not to mention they stink.
Allison, Norway

Most beauty products use animal products, potentially harmful chemicals, and many are still tested on animals. Things are just as sad as the 18th century when women took arsenic to make themselves pale. But beauty products pale into comparison with the modern scourge of cosmetic surgery. The amount of sad old women with faces stretched so tight their ears meet if they pucker their lips is evidence enough that you can't cheat nature. Looking after yourself your whole life is the only answer to a "youthful" old age.
Graeme, England


I'm amazed that people will pay to chemically attack their own skin with treatments

Vince Summers, Scotland
I'm amazed that people will pay to chemically attack their own skin with treatments which may have damaging long term effects on skin structure. We wouldn't allow these to be used if they were prescribed medicines! More money than sense, I reckon
Vince Summers, Scotland

When men prefer women who are young and beautiful, then women will begin to accept themselves as they are. A man can be ugly but a woman cannot.
Veronica Pollack, USA

I disagree strongly with Mikko from Finland who says that women only use beauty products for men! What rubbish, I use them for MYSELF and no one else!
Hannah, UK


Men are increasingly buying into the beauty-experience

Jose Fernandez, Netherlands
Let's get rid of the idea that women are the only consumers of beauty-products; men are increasingly buying into the beauty-experience. And who ever came up with the idea of growing old gracefully. What is gracefully anyway?
Jose Fernandez, Netherlands

It is unfortunate that we all want to live long but nobody wants to age. To me aging is natural and there is nothing anybody can do about it. I do not spend my money on expensive cream, and I thank God that I am black as I only need good food to look fresh and without those lines.
Ugochi Ikeora, Nigeria

I don't use any fancy skin creams - just stuff to remove the city grit - but I do colour my hair. Unfortunately, greying hair is a mark against you in the job market.
Maria Gatti, Québec, Canada

There is nothing wrong with looking after your skin and trying to stay young but I am concerned that many of the well-known cosmetics companies test their products and their ingredients on animals. This is cruel and unnecessary. Please buy products only from companies who have a strict non-animal testing policy.
Irene, Scotland


For some people their appearance is everything and so to them it does matter, some people though have more important things to worry about

Jen, UK
For some people their appearance is everything and so to them it does matter, some people though have more important things to worry about. I would like to see test results for all products that contain biologically active substances, including the so-called powerzymes in washing powder, in the biological world we just call them enzymes.
Jen, UK

It is unfortunate that we all want to live long but nobody wants to age. To me ageing is natural and there is nothing anybody can do about it. I do not spend my money on expensive cream, and I thank God am black I only need good food to look fresh and without those lines.
Ugochi Ikeora, Nigeria

We had someone come for an interview whose job it was to retouch fashion photographs. Hair was made longer, Waists smaller, teeth whiter, skin perfect. We are constantly bombarded with women who don't exist or who are about 14 years old.
Angela, Scotland

All cosmetics are made of herbs, moss, plants etc, so why do you buy them in the shape of bottles or containers? Why not go to the jungle and look for the herbs?
Berna, Turkey


Face the facts, our physical bodies are mortal and one day you will leave this world

Marcus, UK
These "anti-ageing" creams won't give your body eternal life. Face the facts, our physical bodies are mortal and one day you will leave this world and depending upon your beliefs, you will go somewhere else where wrinkles are very unimportant.
Marcus, UK

I can believe that the anti wrinkle creams work by removing the upper layer of the skin! Ageing is a natural process and I feel by meddling with nature at least till now, we have never come better of it. Excessive or exclusive use of cosmetics has never given anyone better skin. At least that is what I feel. More so beauty that is just skin deep has never made much impression on me.
Mridula, India

There is a distinct difference between a face that has a few "life" wrinkles, and a face that tells the story of too many G and T's over the years. Putting the make up on with a trowel doesn't work either, that always looks grim. The key to everlasting beauty? Looking clean, healthy and happy, having a friendly smile and a lust for life in the eyes.
Matt, Amsterdam, Netherlands (ex. UK)

No smoking is the best treatment against ageing.
A. Degasperi, Switzerland


All these creams, oils or reduce ageing chemicals on today's market only work psychologically not physically

Anwar Annut, UK
I am only 38 years old and quite often I do get told by other people that I only look half my age. My secret behind it all is plenty of exercise, a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables and seafood and as often as possible plenty of sex. Reduce stress by watching a lot of comedy films. Make jokes and laugh a lot. All these creams, oils or reduce ageing chemicals on today's market only work psychologically not physically.
Anwar Annut, UK

I think we should adopt a legislative position like that of the American FDA. Most of these miracle products are labelled (by law) in the US as what they really are: moisturisers. That would undoubtedly reduce confusion.
Jonathan King, Switzerland (Brit)

Just to tell Chan Dai Man of HK/China that she shouldn't assume that (all) Asian women do not wear as much make up. Or is she referring to HK/China-Chinese women since she's one of them? Perhaps she should see the amount of war paint young Singaporean - and other Asian - women are putting on. The more affluent a society is, the more vain women become.
Angie, Singapore

I don't look as old as I am and I put it all down to the fact that I smear Haddock fat all over me every night before I go to bed. Usually the more make-up women wear, the uglier they are in the flesh.
Davin, UK


When will people realise that there is no cream to reverse the ageing process?

S Smith, UK
When will people realise that there is no cream to reverse the ageing process? There are certainly plenty of expensive products to cover and disguise wrinkles. Why not avoid damaging your skin in the first place?
S Smith, UK

On Saturday I went to the wedding of two very good friends of mine. For the day, as tradition demands, the bride was made up. Normally she wears minimal make-up. She is a pretty girl (although not stunning) but her inner beauty does far more for her than chemicals ever will.
Karl Peters, UK

I suppose now that I am getting on a bit (23) I should be turning to all the "wonder creams" I see eternally advertised/tried and tested in magazines aimed at my age group. Unfortunately, I'd rather protect my very fair skin by staying out of the sun - Its a cheaper and more effective way of staying young, as my mothers skin proves - 56 and hardly a wrinkle in sight. I may be paler than most this summer, but I'll have the last laugh!
Clare, UK

Lines on the face, its the harbinger of old age and inevitable death. It marks the end of youth. Females panic and associate it with ugliness, where as males accept it as a sign of wisdom. Beauty products target females for this reason. The face tells you the whole story of the person. Its the face you deserve. Manipulating the face one has shows the desperation that exists in the heart to be young again. Old age, and what ever comes with it, should be accepted like you accepted the face you had all your youth.
Fayaz K, India


It does not matter what product is advertised, it is an image being sold as opposed to the actual product itself

Michael, Ireland
Today we are absolutely bombarded by advertisements telling us what image we want. It does not matter what product is advertised, it is an image being sold as opposed to the actual product itself. It is no wonder women pay out amazing fees for such products, everywhere you look or go there are billboards, slogans and pictures of these amazing beautiful people. Gillette is the worst male example: did you ever notice how all their actors are blond haired and blue eyed with muscles the size of small children. Perhaps we could have "days off" from advertising?
Michael, Ireland

What beats my understanding is that these products though very popular among our middle age women here, it usually does more harm than good. Effects range from exposing the delicate skin to quite high tropical temperatures, damage and easy to bleed, darkening in the long-run and it is also estimated that in twenty years time these women will be exposed to the deadly skin cancer!!
Grace Akello, Uganda

It's all about self-esteem really! This maybe a typical chauvinist answer but when we value ourselves enough to be happy with what we are, rather trying to project an image of what we're not, then perhaps we will no longer have a use for horrendously overpriced cosmetics. Advertising is great for lowering the self-esteem. Personally, like very many men, I prefer the natural look of women - including the 'imperfections' which everyone has.
Gary, England

Wrinkles should be seen as a status symbol. It is a privilege to get old, not a right.
Helen Jenkins, Wales, UK


Is this also a sign of inner insecurity, high disposable incomes, stupidity, or some combination of the above?

Doug, The Netherlands
This is a sad reflection of the "conditioning" we receive from the marketing campaigns of large companies. People strive to be "beautiful", thin and fashionably dressed, while also becoming intolerant of others who do not "measure-up" to themselves and/or the image promoted by the advertising. Is this also a sign of inner insecurity, high disposable incomes, stupidity, or some combination of the above?
Doug, The Netherlands

Surely it must be nearer to the truth that these so called creams remove the outer layers of the purses and wallets of the extremely gullible
S Arnold, Australia

I think that emigrating holds the secret to eternal youth. I visited the UK two years ago for the first time since emigrating to Vancouver BC in 1981, and was amazed at how old all my former work mates were looking, because I haven't changed a bit.
Graham Huckin, Canada

It appears that these "wrinkles" are inevitable as one ages. I have found that as I have grown older and have come to appreciate the truly important and worthwhile aspects of life, many of the trifles of "youth" tend to be just that. The expensive lotions and potions are not needed by a beautiful woman and will not truly help one who is not. Cleanliness, good health and good presentation are the things, regardless of the age. Come to think of it, this applies as well to men.
Jim T, USA

Only your Doctor can really treat what ails you, whether its your body or your skin. However, most dermatologists will tell you that nothing can be done about skin that has been aged by the sun. The women who spend $300 on a bottle of "miracle" moisturiser are trying to turn back the clock after a lifetime of tanning, smoking and drinking. Look at Brigitte Bardot - she should serve as a warning to any potential sun worshipper. I will gladly slather on the sunscreen and celebrate my pale self!
Sharon Langworthy, US


This lack of social integrity and coherency leaves the citizen with only one choice: to abandon the argument entirely and allow their instincts to guide them

Benj'min Mossop, Britain
Human society (particularly in the 'democratic' or economically developed world) has become so full of conflicting opinions, diagnosis and focus group pressure that it is no longer possible for the ordinary citizen, who's specialised field does not cover a discussed subject in question, to be able to decide which opinion (if any) is the truth or at least the most advantageous. This lack of social integrity and coherency leaves the citizen with only one choice: to abandon the argument entirely and allow their instincts to guide them. Of course, individuals do not always make the right choice and this is resulting in many people making damaging, uninformed decisions due to 'diagnosis overload'. Someone else will probably counter this research on cosmetic creams with a contradictory argument: life is increasingly a lottery.
Benj'min Mossop, Britain

My grandmother is eighty-four this October and still has silky smooth skin - her secret? Good old fashioned cold cream and not too much sun! She has never shelled out on pricey face creams in her life.
Emily, UK

If these creams etc work so well why does every ad have a young woman on them? Surely an older woman would be a better ad for these companies.... You have to wonder!
Nick, UK

Not meaning to sound sexist BUT... What is it with women and bottles in the shower? There are so many beauty products in the average woman's shower - we men fear to tread in them lest they all fall on us and smoother us to death!
Eric H, UK/USA


I feel "bien dans ma peau" (good in my skin) as the French say

Holly Taylor, UK
I am 27 and I have been using more expensive face care products for the last year. Now I feel "bien dans ma peau" (good in my skin) as the French say. Before using the more expensive products I started the day putting on oil (!) AND face cream because my skin felt so dry, and before noon I would already feel my skin as dry as the Gobi desert. Now I only need a soap a lotion and a moisturiser! OK, those products are more expensive, but at the end of the day it turns out to be cheaper than experimenting with products which are not suitable and end up in the bin half full!
Holly Taylor, UK

I have in the past been stupid enough to spend money on expensive skin products, only to find that they actually irritated my skin. The best thing any of us can do to keep our skin healthy is to drink plenty of fresh water daily.
Morag Bishop, UK in USA

Why the assumption that all skin products are loaded with chemicals and products of the male dominated commercial world. There are exceptions of exceptional worth in terms of minimising the effects of biological skin ageing. These products use plant extracts such as frankincense and fenugreek that have for centuries been used in delaying the signs of ageing. In a "lookist" and "ageist" world there are products available based on recipes used for centuries .
Julie Courtis, UK


Most expensive creams are astoundingly similar to the cheapest ones

Charlene, Canada
Most expensive creams are astoundingly similar to the cheapest ones - the only differences being exotic ingredients whose inclusion is usually made so that the marketing department can sell the cream for ridiculous prices. Worse, all creams do is hold moisture in the skin. Some contain irritating ingredients that can temporarily get rid of wrinkles by swelling the skin -- but the irritation causes more wrinkles in the long run.
Collin from Canada is wrong, by the way: although smoking is a disaster for the skin, sun exposure causes far more damage. If you don't stay out of the sun or use a reliable sunscreen, the fact that you don't smoke doesn't mean very much when it comes to avoiding wrinkles.
Charlene, Canada

Beauty products are a waste of time. When you go to meet your maker they won't help regardless of how "young" you look. We would better off using the money we waste lining the coffers of cosmetics firm on charity instead.
Ash, USA

I love to use creams for my face it makes me feel good and that's what counts.
Linda Neary, UK


In reality, a lot of how we age depends on our genes, personality and exposure to the elements

Patricia van der Veer, Canada
Are these expensive products worth the money? No, but we all tend to believe in the fountain of youth. In reality, a lot of how we age depends on our genes, personality and exposure to the elements But what price should be charged for dreams!
Patricia van der Veer, Canada

If you carefully analyse the claims made for most of these products, especially on TV which is more tightly regulated, you will see they are full of weasel words and mean almost nothing. A certain well-known 'beauty fluid' used to use the phrase 'helps you stay younger-looking' - advertising-speak for 'we can't prove it does anything'!
Russell Wade, UK

Of course they're no good. The companies are playing on the insecurities of consumers to get their money. If you want to keep your skin looking OK, give up smoking. (I've always been able to tell who is a smoker by their complexion).
Mark, UK


I do believe that healthy living, exercise and meditation gives a better overall effect

P. Tapa, Nepal
If buying expensive beauty products makes you feel better then great. But I do believe that healthy living, exercise and meditation gives a better overall effect. I am 18 and my mother is 50. We are so often told that we are sisters or friends, because of her youthful appearance due to a healthy lifestyle.
P. Tapa, Nepal

Taking care of your skin will undoubtedly cause it to age less - no dermatologist would disagree. But surely this is a case of the law of diminishing returns. I use a quality brand of cleanser and moisturiser which is neither the cheapest, nor the most expensive. It is without a doubt more effective than the really cheap brands, but last time I looked, I couldn't see the point in buying anything more expensive, as the improvement was marginal.
Phil Saum, UK

Asian women have better skin than white women and do not wear as much make-up. Women who are not beautiful on the outside show their insecurity with the amount of make-up they wear. They should feel confident no matter what they look like; it is much sexier than insecurity no matter how much they paint their face.
Chan Dai Man, HK/ China

Why cheat yourself with these expensive creams when you can you can do something more beneficial by being a vegetarian, do some yoga for a change and strictly NO SMOKING please. These are the secrets of looking young.
Divyesh, Tanzania

I've been using several different types of anti-aging cream during the last five years, and can honestly say I look good.
Carl Boniface, Brazil (UK national)

Surely it must be nearer to the truth that these so-called creams remove the outer layers of the purses and wallets of the extremely gullible
S. Arnold, Australia

I guess the more make-up you use, the more your skin tends to show the signs of ageing and wearing out. From what I have seen, I feel that aging gracefully and in time has nothing to do with what you use - it's inside you. The less you think about it the better it is. So don't worry about finding miracle cures to avert the skin's aging process because it's a natural process, which has to be taken in its own stride.
Jenny, Maldives

Despite the bravado shown so far, all of us I would believe, have a touch of vanity about us. Society sends a very clear message: young is good and old is bad. This is a message that preys on our vanity and fears and one that helps the cosmetic companies coin it in.
Gerry, Scotland


Smoking is the single worst thing you can do for your appearance

Collin, Canada
Men don't wear make-up - they usually just shave. They often look younger than same-age women in skin texture. Do creams work? Smoking is the single worst thing you can do for your appearance, it wrinkles and destroys the skin eventually.
Collin, Canada

Although aged 34, people often believe I am in my mid to late 20s. I have had a demanding career since 18 and have never shied away from spending time in the sun. I have used an "expensive" brand of cosmetics since 18 (very little make-up though) when I had bad acne. Who knows whether it's nature or the cosmetics that keeps me looking young, but I keep on buying them, just in case.....
C. Brown, Switzerland (UK national)

I'm looking forward to growing old gracefully. As far as beauty products go, I'm only interested in being clean and smelling good.
Catherine Penfold, UK in USA

I don't believe these products are any more effective than a simple moisturiser at best. Like much advertising though, they're sold on the lure of offering a short-cut to a certain lifestyle. Personally, I've always found older women much more attractive.
Tim, UK

I think it is far better to learn to reconcile yourself to your ageing face, accepting what it is as time leads you.
Kiran Kwon, Republic of Korea


We find that lager makes everybody look attractive

Justin, UK
My girlfriend Sharon doesn't buy that stuff. We find that lager makes everybody look attractive.
Justin, UK

I think laughter lines and other creases in the face are the signature of a life well lived. If a woman takes care of her skin - stays out of the sun, uses gentle cleansers and moisturisers - the exotic potions and paints are unnecessary.
Faye, USA

My fellow female species have at times left me perplexed with the way they spend their hard-earned wages on beauty products that prey on their utmost fear - visible signs of ageing. Even my own mother freaked out at the sight of my laughter lines and told me to use those potions. I have just given up, assuring her that at least people know I've got a great sense of humour.
Angie, Singapore

As long as women are stupid enough to buy these over-priced and under-performing cosmetics, major corporations will be happy to take their money. Chemists have shown that many of these products have only a few cents worth of "active ingredient". Silly and foolish!
Iris Thomas, USA

If beauty products help to raise someone's self-esteem and makes them feel better about themselves, then surely they are worth every penny?
Charlie, UK


Surely becoming stressed or worried contributes towards development of lines?

Sarah, UK
Surely becoming stressed or worried contributes towards development of lines? Therefore worrying about lines and wrinkles is a self-defeating process!
Sarah, UK

I use olive oil and flour to soften my skin; I am 68 with hardly a wrinkle to see. I will not waste money on expensive rubbish.
Ms K. Glauh, UK

"Beauty" products market their chemical substances by telling us that the human degradation process can be slowed down, or made less visible. The current market is dominated by the famous trade names which are very expensive, hence, assumed by the fanatic "stay young dreamers", to be best. Unfortunately, the ageing process will continue, and can hardly be made less visible without plastic surgery. Furthermore, the substances and ingredients used hardly work and may even damage the skin.
Han de Min, UK (was Netherlands)

This question was addressed to women but it needs a male comment because women use those soaps mostly to impress men. I as a man will not even consider a woman who is painted and levelled up with layers of skin putty. I love women as nature created them, not as walking chemical ads.
Mikko Toivonen, Finland

The pressure on all women and even young women in their 20's to look eternally young is astounding. Every magazine and advert tries to persuade and convince that these so-called anti-wrinkle creams are the key to eternal youth and perfection. It's an absolute joke. However, the power of this advertising is the real scary thing.
Catherine, UK

I am in my late twenties and "suffering" from thinning hair. I am sure any woman can live with minor skin imperfections without rushing to pretend they are physically perfect, whatever that means. Mind you, if people are so insecure they are willing to part with their money to present a false image to strangers perhaps they deserve to be fleeced.
John B, UK


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