THE ANTI-AGEING CREAM TRAP; Once They Were Only Used by the over Fifties. Now Even Teenagers Are Falling for the Wrinkle Cream Hype. but Experts Warn They Don't Work and, Worse, Are Actually Damaging Young skinI Defy Anybody to Find a Teenage Girl Who Needs an Anti-Ageing Cream

Daily Mail (London), March 7, 2005 | Go to article overview

THE ANTI-AGEING CREAM TRAP; Once They Were Only Used by the over Fifties. Now Even Teenagers Are Falling for the Wrinkle Cream Hype. but Experts Warn They Don't Work and, Worse, Are Actually Damaging Young skinI Defy Anybody to Find a Teenage Girl Who Needs an Anti-Ageing Cream


Byline: SHOSHANA GOLDBERG

SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD Harriet Osborne-Crowley runs up the stairs to her bedroom, keen to try out her latest acquisition. She removes the expensive packaging, slowly opens the tiny jar that cost [pounds sterling]80 and carefully starts to apply the anti-ageing cream to her fresh, perfectly unwrinkled face.

'I've read that the younger you start using anti-ageing cream, the better your chances of looking young when you're older,' reasons the teenager, who admits to spending far too much of her Saturday job money ([pounds sterling]310 a month) on skincare products and makeup. 'I think it's important for me to use the best creams I can,' she says.

'Youthful skin is a beautiful thing and I don't want mine to look old and damaged.' Harriet, who lives with her lecturer parents in Islington, North London, admits that most of her friends at Parliament Hill School in Kentish Town spend a fortune, too. There seems to be quite a rivalry among her peers as they covet the latest 'wonder' creams.

Harriet and her friends aren't alone.

Health campaigners believe the increasing pressure on young girls to look good is being exploited by cosmetic firms eager to cash in on a naive market.

Mainstream beauty brands have come in for particular criticism for aiming their anti-wrinkle ads directly at wrinkle-free young girls.

Channel 4's youth strand, T4, which broadcasts teenage favourites such as The OC and Hollyoaks, regularly carries advertising for anti-ageing creams and moisturisers. Products once associated with middle age have been repackaged in bright colours to attract younger buyers.

The promise of everlasting youthful skin has hit a nerve with women of all ages. Last year, British consumers spent [pounds sterling]531 million on facial skincare, a 37 per cent rise since 1999, largely due to the rising sales of antiageing products. But it is the growth of the teenage sector which is most disturbing.

At the lower end, products such as Nivea's anti-wrinkle cream ([pounds sterling]5.79 for 50ml) and L'Oreal's equivalent ([pounds sterling]12.99) are more easily affordable to most teenagers. But so taken in are these impressionable young girls by the marketing slogans promising peachy, line-free skin that they are saving up to buy the dearer creams.

Harriet talks about brands such as Creme de La Mer ([pounds sterling]145 for a 2oz tub) which she read about in a magazine. But while she continues to slather on products religiously, there remains a huge question mark over whether these creams even work. Leading British dermatologist Dr Nick Lowe, author of Away With Wrinkles, says a simple moisturiser is just as effective.

More worrying is the effect some of the active ingredients in anti-ageing products can have on young skins. Dermatology clinics across the country are witnessing a rise in allergic sensitivities.

Consultant dermatologist Dr Tamara Griffiths, spokesperson for the British Skin Foundation, says: 'Many skins can't tolerate the retinoids and peeling agents that many anti-ageing creams contain.

'They often leave skin red, sore and flaking. And the more products people use, the more likely they are to develop an allergic sensitivity.

'If the base cream is too greasy for teenage skin, this may exacerbate acne.

Normal, healthy skin requires remarkably little to keep it that way.'

Pharmacist and homeopath Margo Marrone, founder of The Organic Pharmacy, believes the long-term effects of anti-ageing creams reach even further.

'These products are loaded with toxic chemicals, such as formaldehydereleasing preservatives and parabens, both of which have been proven to be carcinogenic (potentially cancer-causing).

'The peeling agents contained in these creams also burn off a top layer of skin and this creates extra sensitivity, leaving skin more vulnerable to sun damage, pollution and the creams' chemicals. …

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THE ANTI-AGEING CREAM TRAP; Once They Were Only Used by the over Fifties. Now Even Teenagers Are Falling for the Wrinkle Cream Hype. but Experts Warn They Don't Work and, Worse, Are Actually Damaging Young skinI Defy Anybody to Find a Teenage Girl Who Needs an Anti-Ageing Cream
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