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Winning the Age-Old War

Barbara Bensoussan

Business in anti-aging products is booming, to the tune of over 12 billion dollars a year. Are these products all they’re hyped up to be? Can they help us maintain the golden glow of youth all the way through our golden years?

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

cream“Please don’t touch my wrinkles,” actress Anna Magnani famously told her doctor. “It took me so long to earn them.”

When it comes to antique furniture or silver, small scratches and signs of wear are called “patina,” and valued as proof of authenticity. But when it comes to facial signs of wear, few women feel as sanguine about their wrinkles as Anna Magnini, and some will go to great lengths to diminish those hard-earned wrinkles.

The most drastic and effective means of keeping a face youthful require going under the needle: submitting to injections of plumping compounds like Restalyne or Juvederm, or Botox. These block nerve signals to the muscles which hold wrinkles in place, thus smoothing the skin. The treatments cost a pretty penny, typically starting at around $500 per session, and you must be willing to undergo the minor discomfort and as-yet-unknown long-term effects of the procedures.

The average Joe-sephine, possessed of neither the means nor the time to invest in such measures, is more likely to choose the faster and cheaper route of picking up a bottle of cream at her local department store counter or drugstore. These products certainly look promising, all those pretty jars of fluffy pomades and medicinal-looking bottles labeled “serum.” If she has yet a bit more time and money, our Joe-sephine might also schedule a visit to her dermatologist, to see what sort of lower budget, non-invasive options he might have to offer.  But do any of these procedures and products, which can also run a steep tab pretty quickly, really turn back the clock? Or are they little more than “hope in a bottle?”

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