A dicey fountain of youth?

Cosmetics companies are well aware that many men and women of a certain age would like to see their wrinkles disappear. However, it turns out that a chemical component used in anti-wrinkle creams and masks is not as good for our skin as we thought it was.

Cosmetics companies are well aware that many men and women of a certain age would like to see their wrinkles disappear. However, it turns out that a chemical component used in anti-wrinkle creams and masks is not as good for our skin as we thought it was.

According to a research team from Quebec, the chemical component 2-dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE) actually alters the skin’s cell function. This substance is used in many anti-wrinkle products touted as “instant facelift” or “facelift in a jar”. This component, and many chemically similar components, is also found in many cosmetics, moisturising creams, lipsticks, shampoos, soaps and even some baby lotions.

Researchers tested DMAE on cultured skin cells in concentrations equivalent to a normal application of the cream. Once applied, the DMAE caused massive and rapid swelling of the cells. This action provokes a thickening of the epidermal layer, giving the impression of diminished wrinkles. DMAE appears to be toxic for skin cells: the substance halts cell division and at times, altogether stops it - and inhibits certain metabolic reactions while actually killing some cells after 24 hours of exposure. But in the mean time, are these anti-wrinkle creams really good for our skin?

That is indeed the question. Lifting creams in a jar are undoubtedly safer than real facelifts and Botox injections. As many of the ingredients contained in these creams, such as triethanolamine, are not considered drugs, we have very little information on how they work and how toxic they are. This is why many scientists are campaigning for more in-depth studies on the mode of action and toxicology of these products before they are sold to the general public.

To nurture beautiful and healthy skin as we age, the best insurance policy is to prevent damages. Do not smoke, avoid sun exposure and apply sunscreen to your face and body before going outside, use moisturising lotions regularly, drink plenty of water and eat healthfully. These simple steps are still the very best low-cost, anti-wrinkle regimens available!

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