Why there shouldn’t be anti-aging cosmetics

Come Home, Witch
6 min readNov 12, 2021


Aging is a process that any person faces. Extending and improving the quality of life (without age-specific diseases) is what science is working on now.

But besides them, a person is also faced with external manifestations of age — for example, wrinkles. Due to social pressure, women are especially sensitive to such changes.

Approximately the same is the case with gray hair, which is usually hidden, and especially for women. Poorly disguised female aging is equated with “carelessness”, and what could be a greater sentence in the world of glossy “beauty” than a “lazy” attitude to one’s own body?

We will tell you how corporations make billions from our fears and why the concept of anti-aging cosmetics is incorrect.

What does it mean to grow old?

Dermatologists distinguish two types of aging: photoaging and chronoaging. The first is not associated with age, but with damage to the skin by ultraviolet light and manifests itself in the form of age spots, increased dryness of the skin and hyperkeratosis (thickening of the stratum corneum).

The second, chronoaging, is the natural age-related changes in the skin, programmed by nature in the same way as autumn leaf fall.

With age, the synthesis of collagen and elastin, its building blocks, decreases in the skin. The amount of hyaluronic acid also decreases. The activity of the sebaceous glands decreases. Hence — wrinkles, dryness and swollen facial contours.

Subcutaneous fat in the upper part of the face is reduced, and in the lower part, on the contrary, it is added, therefore, wrinkled forehead and ptosis of the lower third of the face are also more common in people of mature age than in young people.

Due to age-related abrasion of the teeth, the volume of support for soft tissues becomes smaller, and under the influence of the force of gravity, the skin also stretches and ultimately sags.

A general deterioration in blood circulation increases the likelihood of morning swelling, even if the person has not experienced this before. A decrease in melanin synthesis affects the ability of the skin to protect itself from the sun’s rays, which means that a vacation at sea can turn into a pigmented spot on the forehead.

In general, any age-related changes in the body somehow affect the appearance, even age-related thinning of the skull bones can change our faces.

But no one promises that at least one of these points will make itself felt as soon as you blow out a certain number of candles on the cake. And some of them may never appear at all in your case.

There are no starting points when old age necessarily comes. There is a widespread belief, in part supported by science, that our bodies begin to age at twenty-five.

And even if this is true, the quality of the skin is more dependent on lifestyle, genetics, grooming routine, place of residence, financial capacity, health status and other factors.

Twenty-five is a conventional number, but with the notorious “first signs of aging” — a term that marketers like to scare us — nothing is clear either.

They say that a dull complexion is also it, but do the faces of first-year medical students glow with a blush? So there is definitely no answer to the popular Google query “when to start using anti-aging cosmetics”.

What then does anti-aging cosmetics do?

The classical division of cosmetics by the age of the audience was supposed to make life easier for customers.

Traditionally, the mark “anti-aging” was used to mark products that have either a denser texture (refers to the myth that the need for a nutritious cream occurs strictly after thirty), or with more “serious” ingredients, or simply from the more expensive price category. Or with all these signs together.

Total — the average anti-aging product is called a nourishing cream, flavored with extracts and oils, promising to eliminate all wrinkles on your faces and tighten the skin like after plastics.

Even if he really can, it is not at all clear what to do if there are no acne at the age of fifteen, but the skin is dry and thin, like parchment paper, and cosmetics “for young skin” (where they still like to put more alcohol) only makes it worse her condition?

And what if “teenage” acne has not gone anywhere even at thirty-five and not a single bank from the “anti-aging cosmetics” section offers to solve this problem?

And if the wrinkles on the horizon are still not visible, but there are age spots, from which white tea extract and hyaluronic acid will not help? And is it worth worrying if a cream marked “60+” is ideal already at nineteen?

The system that once developed was built on the principles of unification and myths that arose due to the scarce knowledge of what skin needs and what solutions the beauty industry can offer us for each such request.

As a result, attempts to typify what cannot be typed only confuse people even more. And certainly age in this matter matters much less than we thought.

But instead of starting to divide their products into categories that are more understandable for buyers, as do Korean manufacturers or brands that define themselves as cosmeceuticals, brands targeting a wide audience continue to work the old fashioned way and, as a result, lose to a new generation of brands.

Brands of “professional” cosmetics have always interacted with the audience in a quite effective way, only the cosmetologist selected the care for you, and now you do it yourself.

For example, the enviable success of The Ordinary happened precisely thanks to a fundamentally new concept, when a buyer enlightened by skincare blogs selects cosmetics for solving specific problems or is looking for a specific ingredient, and does not blindly rely on the brand’s vague promises of eternal youth or its extension.

It turns out that anti-aging cosmetics are useless?

Under advertising law, a brand cannot state that “99 out of 100 women think they’ve gotten rejuvenated through testing,” if testing hasn’t been done.

But this scheme is not transparent: the initial data of those who tested the product are not known to us, and what is included in the concept of “rejuvenated” is also not disclosed.

For example, silicones and simple moisturizing provide a quick but short-term effect that can be read by the focus group as “rejuvenation”. Wrinkles for a week of testing the cream, most likely, in fact, have not gone anywhere. And of course, no cream will change your genetics.

But science says that there are not so many components with a really powerful anti-aging effect, and this is most likely not chamomile extract.

For example, the most studied retinoids inhibit collagen-degrading enzymes and also cause fibroblasts to produce new ones. Vitamin C not only brightens pigmentation, but also improves the quality of the skin’s own collagen.

AHA acids have a similar effect, which also stimulates skin cells to renew faster. By the way, all three of these ingredients will also work great for acne without asking for a passport.

Are other cosmetics ineffective?

Another thing is that a suitable nourishing cream may be enough for you, because the old one has stopped moisturizing enough. Then don’t be confused by the 45+ badge.

Any cosmetics that can slow down the aging process of the skin or make existing age-related changes less noticeable can be attributed to the category of anti-aging.

That is, according to the logic of things, in general, all caring cosmetics are “anti-aging”. Even the simplest foam for washing is also “anti-aging”, because without washing and removing make-up, we may be wrinkled sooner than we could. And any sunscreen is also quite anti-aging.

Which of all this can be concluded: when choosing a cream, mask or serum, it is more logical to start from your specific needs, and in order to determine them, it is better to consult with a beautician, and not be guided by the number in the passport.

After all, the word “antiage” on the packaging of a cosmetic product has about the same meaning as the proud “no cholesterol” on the label of vegetable oil.



Come Home, Witch

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