Know Your Face Cream Terminology

Here's a newsflash: Pushers of facecreams slap lots of pseudoscientific words on their labels, leading consumers to believe said creams actually work. Terms like "nanospheres," "biotechnology," and "pro-collagen," lend a plausible veneer to claims that wrinkle treatments are going to change your life beyond the little rush of endorphins from opening a pretty package, reports the Times.

But a recent study showed that only three things improve skin quality: topical retinoic acid, carbon dioxide lasers, and injections of cross-linked hyaluronic acid (that's Restylane). Nevertheless, companies like L'Oreal, Avon and Clarins keep reaching new heights in their creative writing and sciencey myth-making. You'll be fascinated to learn, for example, that Clarins Younger Longer Balm contains "advanced neuro-cosmetic technology," which, a spokesperson clarifies, means "ingredients that can help protect nerve endings for better cell communication and, ultimately, better-looking skin." Which is uncanny, because the first thing we thought when we looked in the mirror this morning was that if only our nerve endings were better protected, our cells might start communicating more.

Buying Face Cream? Grab a Glossary [NYT]
Let's Play Buzzword: Defining Phrases Used in Skin Care Advertising
[NYT]