Claims anti-ageing products are “scientifically proven” or “8 out of 10 women saw results” are almost falling off the shelf in the beauty aisle. You can pay top dollar for a cream promising to restore your skin to its former glory. But how do you sort the real science from the junk? We’ve looked at claims touted by 9 anti-ageing products and what you should be sceptical of when you next hit the beauty aisle.
$108 for 60
The claim: “There are over 15 independently published and reviewed studies confirming Imedeen’s skin-perfecting effects and research is ongoing.”
The science: The company sent us information on the 15 studies mentioned in the ad — most were on skin cells, just 5 were on people and used a placebo. The latter studies found the supplements improved skin appearance in the trial groups, which involved 80 to 200 people. But results were based on dermatologists’ assessments rather than on objective measures, such as wrinkle depth. When we looked at other research, we found a trial of 171 people that failed to record a difference between the supplement and the placebo.
$13 for 60ml
The claim: “Its unique formulation is also highly effective for ageing and dehydrated skin. For comprehensive product information and results of clinical trials, please visit bio-oil.com.”
The science: In Bio-Oil’s independent trial, assessors analysed changes to 67 participants’ facial wrinkles. Assessors didn’t know who’d applied the oil but objective measures of wrinkle depth weren’t used and there was no placebo. Bio-Oil says a placebo oil isn’t suitable but other skin research contradicts this.
Trilogy Rosapene Radiance Serum
$44.99 for 30ml
The claim: “Independent clinical studies show 84% overall improvement in skin appearance (double-blind independent trial by Ozderm, tested on 31 subjects over 6 weeks).”
The science: The ad contains scientific jargon, but Trilogy’s evaluation simply asked participants to use the cream for 6 weeks and rate its effects. No placebo was used, but the ad’s phrasing may lead consumers to think one was. Trilogy says it will change how research is described in advertising.
Antipodes Avocado Pear Nourishing Night Cream
$62.50 for 60ml
The claim: “Key Antipodes anti-ageing skincare products are returning extremely impressive scientific results.”
The science: While Antipodes employed an independent evaluator to test its anti-ageing night cream, the trial involved only 10 women and didn’t use a placebo.
Elizabeth Arden Advanced Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum
$112 for 45 capsules
The claim: “In just two weeks 84% of women showed a clinical reduction in lines and wrinkles (US clinical test, 44 women).”
The science: Elizabeth Arden says this test was run by an independent company using “expert ratings” but wouldn’t send any results from the lab or answer further questions. As the test didn’t use a placebo, the results Elizabeth Arden touts in its adverts may be purely psychological.
Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery Eye Mask
$92 for 4
The claim: “Bursts on to skin with 20X more of our proven soothing, hydrating and ChronoluxCB repair ingredients (one eye mask compared to one application of eye gel creme).”
The science: Estee Lauder sent us 2 self-evaluation studies, both involving 100 women; 97% and 99% of participants thought their skin looked better after using a mask. But without the use of a placebo, it’s far from definitive proof.
Sothys BX wrinkle corrector
$179 for 15ml
The claim: “Botox partner or alternative. You choose. Improves the efficacy of the injection in 87% of cases (overall impression among dermatologists).”
The science: Sothys says this test, using subjects who had received Botox, was done by an independent lab in France and used a placebo. While there’s some indication the product works if you’ve undergone Botox, there’s little supporting its use as an alternative.
Snowberry New Radiance Face Serum
$40 for 30ml
The claim: “The serum may also be the only anti-ageing serum in the world proven by gold-standard clinical trial. This trial, carried out by Dermatest Medical Research Institute in Germany, showed the serum helped to reduce wrinkle volume by an average of 25.6%.”
The science: Snowberry sent us the research report prepared by the independent lab for this serum. The double-blind clinical trial used an objective measure (wrinkle volume). While it was restricted to 39 people, a statistically significant difference between the placebo and cream was recorded in a peer-reviewed journal.
MitoQ Cellular Energising Cream Serum
$149 for 50ml
The claim: “MitoQ’s breakthrough skincare is scientifically proven to re-energise your skin cells and slow the ageing process.”
The science: MitoQ sent us a lab test indicating the signature ingredient in the serum was absorbed into the skin. But the only independent study done was small (13 people) and didn’t use a placebo. It has updated its website to make its claims clearer.