BURNED BY A SHADY SUNSCREEN?
A review of popular facial creams that claimed sun protection and anti-aging benefits was conducted by researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, in New York, and at the Henry Ford Hospital, in Detroit. The results were published online in Archives of Dermatology.
Investigators chose 29 of the best-selling daily facial creams (on Amazon.com). The creams had SPF (sun protection factor) values of 15 to 50, and ranged in cost from $3 to $64 per ounce. Each cream was evaluated for the presence and concentration of ingredients that protect against photo-aging caused by UV-A1 radiation. These included the following: 2 percent avobenzone plus more than 3.6 percent octocrylene to prevent the photodegredation of the avobenzone and/or more than 5 percent zinc oxide.
Researchers found that regardless of their cost, popularity or advertised sun protection factor (SPF), few products provided adequate protection against UV-A1. In fact, the most expensive cream tested ($64 per ounce), was ranked number 3 in sales but contained no ingredients at all to protect against UV-A1 radiation. Neither did five other competing products! The two biggest sellers had high levels of octocrylene (the stabilizer for avobenzone), but with inadequate levels of avobenzone and with no zinc oxide.
Of the 23 creams that actually contained anti-UVA-1 ingredients, seven contained zinc oxide, but only three had concentrations of more than 5 percent. Sixteen products contained avobenzone, but only three contained the concentration of octocrylene that prevents the photodegradation of avobenzone. Seven of the 16 avobenzone products contained low levels of octocrylene, and the remaining six contained octinoxate, which protects against UV-A2 but not UV-A1.
The researchers concluded that consumers should rely on physicians to assist them in the selection of products that contain required ingredients in the appropriate concentrations necessary to ensure proper protection against UV-A1 radiation.
Dr. Yagoda's favorite: Elta MD! This medical skincare company is dedicated to developing and producing sunblocks for every specific skin type. Ask about sunblocks for babies under 6 months as well as for mature, dry and aging skin. Elta's specialty sunblocks include a tinted sunblock (as opposed to a foundation with sunblock) and sunblocks formulated for those with acne and rosacea.
A BANDAGED ECONOMY?
The number of cosmetic surgeries in the United States rose last year to their highest level since the start of the financial crisis, providing economists with another measure to gauge the economic recovery. While eye lifts and breast augmentations may never replace U.S. unemployment data or retail sales as economic indicators, analysts and investors can't help but notice this rise.
Cosmetic surgeries rose 5% in 2010 to 13.1 million procedures after falling in 2008 and 2009, reported the American Society of Plastic Surgeons in its annual report this month. Breast augmentation (296,000) and nose reshaping (252,000) were the most popular, followed by eyelid surgery (209,000), liposuction (203,000) and the tummy tuck (116,000).
Some Wall Street economists said the report was a sign that consumer confidence and spending on "big ticket" items was on the mend even though U.S. unemployment remained above 9%. Dr. Phil Haeck, a medical doctor and president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, said that the rise was due to pent-up demand for cosmetic procedures in an improving economy, where credit is easier to acquire now that many people have paid down their debts.
Dr. Yagoda believes that first impressions are lasting and that no one can afford not to refine his/her appearance. She notes that especially in a downward economy, employers who are choosing between two equally qualified candidates, may ultimately chose the one who looks happier, better-rested and content.