Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Nutra-Cosmetics - The Biggest Joke in Beauty

Walk into any Sephora and you'll find shelves stocked with neatly lined bottles of brightly colored water, vitamin supplements, powders and serums that are intended for drinking, not spreading on your skin. The hottest trend in skincare right now is nutra-cosmetics, ingestable products intended to improve skin from "the inside out." Americans spent $50 million on these products last year, while worldwide sales reached $1 billion.

Borba was the first, but now more established brands like Origins, Murad, Phyto, Kinerase, Dr. Brandt, N.V. Perricone and Tarte are jumping on the nutra-cosmetics bandwagon with supplements promising skin transformation. Coca Cola and Dannon are releasing beverages and yogurts that claim to improve skin, and it doesn't seem long before we'll be encouraged to take a skin supplement in addition to our daily multi-vitamin as a "necessity" for maintaining healthy skin.

But as of now, there's no scientific proof that any of these edible beauty products are beneficial to skin. Many of these companies tout claims that their products are proven to improve "clarity," "moisture levels," and "elasticity" and remove "toxins," generic terms that can't be scientifically proven. None of these brands have submitted their products for testing in peer-reviewed journals, and the FDA considers these products "dietary supplements," so they don't need FDA testing or approval before going on the market.

In this New York Times article on the subject, dematologists recommended eating a healthy diet of whole grains, fruits, veggies, lean proteins and boring old water will provide skin with the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.

A healthy diet, how boring is that? Everyone always wants a quick fix and the lure of the "latest and greatest" is hard to turn down. But in beauty, as in so many other areas of life, often the most basic routine is the best, and you're better off sticking to sunscreen, moisturizer and a well-rounded diet to keep skin healthy and beautiful.


Katie said...

i agree. i think borba is just a trick to make you drink tons of water. i mean if the package on your pricey, fruity magic skin powder tells you to, you're gonna do it - right?! i'm sure if you were to drink an equal amount of water and eat healthy foods, you'd see similar results (and save the $100 for a box of powder packets)

Fabulously Broke in the City said...

Agreed. Or just take a supplement if you feel you really need it - I don't eat enough fish or omega-3 and calcium-rich foods, so I take a supplement to take care of my bones and my heart..

Other than that, I don't buy into all that vitamin water stuff. Plain water tastes MUCH better...

Bridget S. said...

I agree - I think the nutra cosmetics is a bunch of BS however, the Tarte lipgloss "powered by Borba" is the best lipgloss I have ever had. ever. But it's mostly b/c it doesn't get gooey on my teeth, lasts a decent while, tastes good, etc. I don't think my health has much improved because of it!

Kathryn said...

makes me think of that (now) classic "Facts of Life" episode wherein Zsa Zsa Gabor (or one of the Gabor sisters) guest stars as Countess Somethingorother (essentially Mary Kay) and spouts: "you eat junk you look like junk, dahlinks" and Mrs. Garett puts cucumbers on her eyes

not such a new notion I guess, but still most relevant

Anonymous said...

I like the Borba skin care products. The Orbital Eye Rejuvenator and the drinkable waters are great! My skin never felt so great...really!