Do age creams work?

Do age creams work?

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When women reach a certain age, having eaten a certain amount of rubbish food, drunk a certain amount of wine, and cultivated a smouldering sexy suntan every year, the combined affect hits them right in the mirror.

Laughter lines stop being funny, furrows on the forehead almost need ploughing, and the mouth is highlighted by lots of tiny tributary wrinkles. But let’s not be sexist. When men reach a certain age their crumpled hound-dog faces also tell a sorry tale.

So last week instead of reviewing a theatre opening night, I took my wrinkly face along to the South African debut of a magic potion that promises to reverse the ravages of age.

Yep, another elixir claiming to make you look years younger, through the simple application of pots of money on very small pots of potions. The latest innovation is ageLoc from Nu Skin Enterprises, an American company (how did you guess?) that draws much of its ingredients from Chinese fruits and vegetables.

“Nobody minds getting older but everybody minds getting uglier. So we make sure you stay as youthful as possible,” says Chief Scientific Officer Joe Chang.
Chang is a little wrinkly himself, to be honest, but he’s got that inscrutable Oriental look that makes it impossible to tell if he’s 41 or 101. I didn’t like to ask, in case he’s only 31, in which case ageLoc isn’t working.

The company develops skin care products rather than cosmetics, to improve your skin instead of merely caking over the fault lines. The latest kit developed by its team of 100 scientists spans a cleanser and toner, a day moisturiser, a night moisturiser, and the star of the show, Future Serum.

It’s all tremendously scientific. The human genome project mapped 25,000 genes, and scientists can understand the aging process if they go hunting at the genetic level, Chang says.

When we’re young, our Youth Genes hectically churn out proteins that build collagen and elastin. But as we get older our genes, like the rest of our body, get a little lazier. AgeLoc potions are supposed to burrow into your skin tissue, find the genes that regulate how we look as we age, and reset them to their zippy hyperactive state. Nu Skin claims to stimulate youthful cell turnover by up to 85% in only five days and by 150% over time, to generate a softer, smoother skin.

“We’re not mutating the genes, we’re just switching them on or switching them off to replicate the gene profile of a young person,” Chang says. “The product of gene activation is a protein that can help build collagen and elastin, and we are turning those genes up.”

The main ingredient is Salicin, an extract from bulbs that controls the rate at which flowers bloom. Chang claims there have been spectacular clinical results.
“When people come to your funeral they’re going to look at the body and say ‘I want to look like her.’ That’s what ageLoc is all about.”

So how much will it cost to make us all look gorgeous? About R2,700 for a set of potions that will last from one to two months, depending on how thickly you lavish them on. The million-dollar question of course, or rather the R2,700 question, is does it work?

Well, I haven’t been asked to show my ID because I look too young to drink. But it’s only been three days, and nobody believes in miracles. Except the women queuing up at the beauty counters, perhaps.

For more of Lesley Stones’ reviews follow the links alongside.

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