Are beauty products placebos?

The first episode (season 3) of ABC’s The Checkout did a fun investigation into the claims of the beauty industry. Reduces the appearance of fine lines by 90%! 95% smoother skin! Oh really? How often have we heard these sort of claims?  Well, surprise surprise, the ‘clincial trials’ this industry carries out are not based in science. The Checkout team approached some beauty industry companies and asked for the results to the trials. All but one said it was a commercial secret (so of course, you wouldn’t expect to find them publishing in dermatology

journals). One company did reveal some information.  The company in question (and most of the beauty industry)  hire companies such as Cutest Systems to run ‘trials’ and tailor the results to the beauty company’s market goals. I don’t believe in any of the claims and laugh at the funny ‘scientific’ diagrams and product names. And yet, I use beauty products. Why? I think it is all down to the placebo effect. The placebo effect is a very powerful psychological impulse/reaction and can make people feel better when all that has been taken is a fake treatment or inert substance masquarding as an active one. Marketing has a lot to do with how beauty products are perceived and there is also social pressures around ideals too. So, if I use a cream that I know is no better than sorbelene  but makes me feel good and the gives me the belief that I am looking after myself, do you think – (to paraphrase ) it’s worth it?


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