What price beauty?

19 Jun 2014
POSTED BY Y Magazine

It doesn’t matter how much you spend on your skincare regime, one study has found that they all have the same effect, writes Felicity Glover

Women the world over have battled the effects of ageing for what seems like millennia.

We all know about Cleopatra, who had a thing for bathing in rose petals and milk to keep her skin soft.

But did you know that geishas used to paint their teeth black to enhance their light complexions, or that England’s Queen Victoria reportedly soaked her gloves in rose oil to mask other, well, more unpleasant smells?

Arsenic and lead were other favourite, albeit poisonous, ingredients during the Victorian era when it came to lightening and brightening the skin.

But fast-forward to the 21st century and it seems that not much has changed. Our battle to keep Mother Nature at bay continues, albeit with some formidable weapons that our sisters from previous centuries lacked: Botox, fillers, plastic surgery and a raft of other treatments.

The pressure to look younger than our years has never been more intense. Thanks to the media and its airbrushing tactics and techniques, coupled with anorexic-looking teens strutting the catwalks in luxe labels, the price of beauty has skyrocketed to the point where even the most fantastical claims and bizarre ingredients are taken seriously.

But what price beauty?

Here’s a good example. In July last year, upmarket British store Fortnum & Mason launched yet another product that is jostling for the title of the world’s most expensive face cream: Cult51, which is priced at RO81 for a 50ml jar.

Put it in context and that would be equivalent to an eye-watering RO61,221 per tonne. Not that you’d be buying it by the tonne – at least we hope not.

Made by British chemist Richard Meares, when it was released Cult51 apparently had a waiting list of 5,000 women desperate to reverse the signs of ageing by up to five years in as little as six weeks.

Harrod’s has been selling another anti-ageing product that was developed by Nasa scientists and features rare diamond dust particles. At RO390 for a 50ml jar, one would hope that it lived up to its claims.

But here’s the rub: a study conducted by research scientists from the University of Bath in the U.K. in 2012 found that nanoparticles, which are used widely in sunscreen and skincare creams, are unable to “transport and deliver active ingredients deep inside the skin.”

In other words, it doesn’t matter how much you spend on your pot of skincare cream, it’s failing to live up to its promise of reversing the effects of ageing because it is sitting on the top layers of your skin. In fact, that’s exactly what your High Street creams, which cost a fraction of the price of their big-ticket rivals, also do.

“The skin’s role is to act as a barrier to potentially dangerous chemicals and to reduce water loss from the body,” said Professor Richard Guy, who led the study.

“Our study shows that it is doing a good job of this.

“So, while an unsuspecting consumer may draw the conclusion that nanoparticles in their skin creams are ‘carrying’ an active ingredient deep into the skin, our research shows this is patently not the case.”

5 of the world’s most expensive skincare creams

La Prairie Cellular Cream Platinum Rare
Key ingredient: Platinum
Cost: RO384


Orlane Crème Royale
Key ingredient: 24-carat gold, royal jelly
Cost: RO249


Sisley Sisleya Global Anti-Age Cream
Key ingredient: Ursolic acid
Cost: RO276


Chantecaille Nano Gold Energizing Cream
Key ingredient: 24-carat gold
Cost: RO161


Amore Pacific Time Response Skin Renewal Crème
Key ingredient: Green tea   flower
Cost: RO153


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