Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

No Magic in Cosmetics a Realistic Look at "Beauty Enhancers"

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

No Magic in Cosmetics a Realistic Look at "Beauty Enhancers"

Article excerpt

The following are all considered cosmetics:

* skin care creams, lotions, powders

* perfume, cologne, toilet water

* makeup (lipstick, foundation, blush)

* nail polish, polish remover, cuticle softner

* hair coloring preparations

* deodorants

* shaving cream, aftershave, skin conditioner

* shampoos (excerpt dandruff shampoos)

* bath oils and double bath

* mouthwash and toothpaste (with whiteners, toothpast is considered a drug)

Skin Care

Cosmetics can't work miracles, but they can help keep your skin clean and looking moist and soft. They also can temporarily close pores, plump up skin to make it appear smoother, and give you a rosy glow or blush.

Many cosmetics products are designed to protect the skin of people over 30 against dryness and the accompanying wrinkles. But these aren't the concerns of most teens. The biggest skin problem for most teenagers is acne. Some studies show that all adolescents have acne to some degree because when puberty hits, your skin starts secreting more oil. This contributes to blackheads and pimples, which cause your pores to stretch a little bit. Although acne cannot be avoided simply by washing your face, the oils on the surface of your skin can be diminished by frequent washing with cleasners made for that purpose. And there are many treatments available for acne both in over-the-counter and prescription strengths.

If, while trying to decrease the oily shine on your face, you make your skin overly dry, or if you're spending a lot of time outdoors in very cold weather, you may want to use a moisturizer. "Teens really should only use a water-based moisture lotion labeled 'noncomedogenic,' which means it doesn't it doesn't clog pores," says Dr. Barry Leshin, M.D., associate professor of dermatology at the Wake Forest School of Medicine. "Heavier oil-based moisturizers can cause acne cosmetica -- and [acne-like] skin condition directly attributed to the use of cosmetics."

Ingredients

What cosmetics can or cannot do for your complexion is determined by the ingredients of the cosmetics and your own complexion. Cosmetics contain ingredients from nature and from the laboratory. Some work well for cleaning; other are good for lubricating -- and some don't do very much at all.

Some ingredients, such as alcohol and mineral oil, are fairly common. Others seem more unusual may require some explanation. Here are some examples:

* Liposomes: Microscopic sacs manufactured from natural or synthetic fatty substances which include phospholipids (components of cell membranes). When properly mixed with water, phospholipids can "trap" any substance that will dissolve in water or oil. Manufaccturers say that liposomes act like a delivery system, depositing product ingredients into the skin. When the liposomes "melt," the ingredients, such as moisturizers, are released.

* Aloe vera: A plant from the lily family, aloe vera in large amounts has anti-irritant properties. Although it's an ingredient in many skin lotions, ti would take much more aloe vera than most products contain for the anti-irritant properties to work.

* Vitamins: Foods containing vitamins A, D, E, K, and some of the B complex group are necessary in diets to maintain healthy skin and hair but, according to Dr. Leshin, "There is no evidence that vitamins or other additives are advantageous when applied to the skin. …

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