Anti-aging treatments: over priced and over rated?

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Gerontology, Senescence

Scientists have criticized the anti-aging industry accusing it
of thriving on the false classification that skin aging is a
disease for which cures must be found.

The comments, published in this month's Experimental Dermatology, concentrate on the treatments and prevention of UV-induced skin aging. Too many products, devices and treatments boldly promise to fight and/or repair the perils that come with a lifetime in the sun with an absence of evidence to back up their claims, according to the comment. Furthermore, the scientists highlight light-based therapies as an area where the proliferation of new technologies may reflect clever marketing strategies rather than real technological advances. Skin aging is not a disease ​ Devinder Mohan Thappa from the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Pondicherry, India, takes exception to the definition of skin aging as a disease. "Defining aging as a disease and then trying to cure it is unscientific and misguided"​ he wrote, adding that currently the booming cosmetology and pharmaceutical industry are thriving on this premise. "Aging may not be good for your health, but it certainly is good for business"​ he writes before highlighting a number of less marketable anti-aging techniques such as a balanced diet, exercise and sun protection that may be equally, if not more, effective than today's array of treatments and products. Similarly, scientists Stephanie Ogden and Christopher Griffiths from the University of Manchester, UK, commented that: "Many over-the-counter cosmetic products claim to reduce the clinical signs of photoaged skin; however there is scant evidence from randomized controlled trials to support such claims."​ Nonetheless, all three of the dermatologists agree that topical retinoid application has been shown to provide benefits for photoaged skin by both preventing damage to collagen and repairing sun damaged collagen. Ogden and Griffiths conclude that: "despite the vast array of 'anti aging' products now available topical retinoids and sunscreens remain the most tried and tested treatments." New technologies: over rated and over priced? ​ Another popular treatment for photo-aged skin are energy emitting therapies such as lasers, LEDs and intense pulsed light treatments which have been shown to rejuvenate photoaged skin. The popularity of such treatments is growing and in 2006 it was estimated that approximately 60 million non-invasive anti-aging treatments were carried out in the US. Last year two industry giants moved into the field, with L'Oreal signing a marketing and research agreement with Light BioScience to develop anti-aging devices and P&G forming an agreement with Isreali company Syneron. However dermatologists Mario Trelles, Serge Mordon and R Glen Calderhead question the proliferation of new technologies and light-based therapies. "Is it [the dazzling range of 'new' technologies] truly patient-driven demand, or is it simply manufacturers leaping on the bandwagon and supplying the aesthetic 'fashion industry' with over-rated and over-priced new toys?"​ they ask. Trelles, Mordon and Calderhead conclude that the problem is not the technology itself, which they believe to be effective, but the significant number of poor examples of the technology that 'muddy the waters' for their reputable cousins. Source: Experimental Dermatology​ 2008, Issue 17, pages 228-240 "How best to halt and/or revert UV-induced skin ageing: strategies, facts and fiction" ​M. Berneburg, M. Trelles, B. Friguet, S. Ogden, M. Esrefoglu, G. Kaya, D. J. Goldberg, S. Mordon, R.G. Calderhead, C. E. M. Griffiths, J.H Saurat and D. M. Thappa

Related topics: Formulation & Science

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