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New and/or Improved Skincare

The fashion industry and auto manufacturers come out with new collections every year, so they have conditioned consumers to expect something new and different every fall.  That has conditioned buyers in department stores to want everything “new and improved” even though “new” isn’t necessarily synonymous with “improved”!  A good case in point:  foam overlays for mattresses, which add some extra cushioning to the bed, were first produced in the 1970s.  Soon some company developed egg-crate foam overlays.  Other companies copied it,  so they came up with another new idea–the three-zone mattress overlay– the design of the egg-crate was square for the feet, rounded for the torso and rippled for the head. The theory that your feet define comfort any different from your head was, well, shakey at best.  But consumers bought it.  The three-zone mattress became a marketing home-run.  So what did retailers want the next  year?  A five-zone mattress overlay—so that your calf could define comfort different than your thigh, which was different from your rear end, different from your torso, and different from your head.  Of course, the concept was ridiculous, and I’m happy to report that consumers didn’t “buy” it either.

In skincare, it’s hard to know what is new and improved—or if “new” and “improved” are mutually exclusive.  So let’s face the facts.

A lot of innovations are done for the sake of marketing, and are not based on solid research. Some are voodoo science, some are marketing gimmicks, some are outright misrepresentation.    Unfortunately, the skincare industry is so huge, that it’s difficult for Federal Trade Commission (or any other industry or government watchdog) to monitor.  So how do you know what you can believe?

  • Understand the tricks that are played in “before and after” photos.  For example, in some photos, they crop out the mouth, so that you focus on the wrinkles around the eyes.  But the real difference is that in the “before” picture she was smiling (which caused all of the crow’s feet).  In the after, she had a straight face, so she didn’t induce wrinkling around the eyes.    Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Ask your dermatologist and/or aesthetician.   They read journals and attend trade shows, so should be informed about the latest advances.
  • If you’re shopping in a department store, ask to speak with the Cosmetics Department Manager, and get her opinion.  She sees a lot of brands (and returns!), so is better informed and more objective than the counter person.  It’s also likely that she has worked in the store for a longer period of time, and has had better training.
  • Before you buy a product, ask the retailer or website what their return policy is.  Do they offer a satisfaction guarantee?  If they don’t, that may be a serious red-flag!

Zein Obagi, M.D.

For more information please visit:  www.zoskinhealth.com/store

For promotions, events, discounts:  www.twitter.com/ZOSkinHealth

About the Author

Zein Obagi, MD is the quintessential maverick of skin care. Twenty years ago he pioneered the concept of skin health and developed a line of medical skin care products that transformed aging skin. At that time, he merely intended to challenge the norms of traditional skin care. Instead he shattered the status quo.

Today his old ideas about skin health are no longer surprising; they’ve become mainstream. Around the world, his name is the unofficial synonym for results-oriented skin care. Now he’s done it again with ZO Skin Health™– the first retail line of anti-aging skin care products that brings Rx-inspired, results-oriented technology to go above and beyond traditional cosmeceuticals. Today, his standards are still as high, but his philosophy isn’t quite so controversial. Because beauty–and health–are two things the whole world can agree on.

Calves Confined at Mendes Calf Ranch


























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