I can spend far too much time perusing articles on the latest and greatest cultural, beauty, and fashion trends. In fact, there are days when I spend so much time reading and deciphering what is real and what is nonsense.
One would think that some fly-by-night trends would never break ground because we are not so simple-minded that we believe everything we read. Unfortunately, consumers are all too ready to try the next best thing especially when anointed by a rock star celebrity. For example, Gwyneth Paltrow, founder of the website Goop, maintained that inserting a jade egg into one’s vagina will “increase vaginal muscle tone, hormonal balance, and feminine energy in general” and thereby the inserter could “get better connected to the power within”. For a mere $55-65 anyone could add this practice to their wellness program.
However, these claims were not backed by any real science. If there is one single truth it is that facts have no place in marketing.
According to Gwyneth’s beauty guru Shiva Rose this ancient secret (of placing jade shaped eggs into one’s vagina) practiced by Chinese concubines is a no-brainer and further points out that “This practice is nearly as old as time—many find value in it, even if modern-day research hasn’t caught up yet.” Modern day research may not have caught up with the jade egg challenge but the courts have and fined Goop $145,000 in civil penalties due to unsubstantiated claims.
History is loaded with bad advice when it comes to beauty and fashion trends. Corsets were all the rage in the mid to late 19th century and contributed to serious health problems for the wearer. The most common health problem was damaging and rearranging internal organs. In extreme cases the whale bone which gave the corset its structure would break off causing puncture wounds and even death.
In the late 19th century consuming arsenic was believed to produce a radiant complexion. However, cautions were advised when ingesting arsenic. One was to consume it only when the moon was waxing. In addition, one was to initially begin by only taking in the smallest morsel at first in order to build up a tolerance.
But there was more bad advice. It was extremely trendy in the early 20th century to apply creams containing thorium-chloride. It is worth noting that thorium is radioactive and has sometimes been used in the production of nuclear energy. These radioactive ingredients were not only added to cosmetics but cigarettes as well.
Today’s beauty trends may not be as life-threatening as they once were but much like past products, some products today can still lack any scientific evidence of their effectiveness.
The latest trend in skincare is taking supplements. It is worth noting that the vitamin industry is worth roughly $37 billion a year and is not regulated.
According to a recent article in Bazaar Magazine, “10 Big Beauty Trends To Watch Out For In 2018”, skincare supplements are marketed as the new fountain of youth. Skin specialist Dr. Sturnham is convinced that “introducing a supplement into our skincare will become commonplace”. She recommends supplements created by Sara Palmer Hussey PHD that are a “clinically-tested blend of anti-aging nutrients, helping protect against oxidative stress and damage”.
However, disputing the claim of taking beauty supplements in order to improve the look and texture of your skin writer Jen Jin interviews several dermatologists for her article, “Ingestible Beauty Is Trending. Here’s What Dermatologists Really Think About It.”
According to JIn there is no scientific based evidence that proves taking biotin will increase hair and nail growth or that taking collagen is effective. Instead dermatologist, Ashley-Kittridge states, “Until we have better evidence for collagen supplements, I tell my patients the best treatment is to prevent collagen loss in the first place by using a zinc-based sunblock and living a healthy lifestyle (i.e., skip the alcohol and tobacco).” In addition,
Gabriel Martinez-Diaz a physician at M.D. Aesthetics and Dermatology in Chicago says ‘Unfortunately, dietary intake of collagen is largely ineffective because it’s broken down by your digestive system.”
With so much conflicting advice from the medical community on whether or not we should be taking supplements it makes it easy to accept the claims of brands, influencers, and even celebrities.
However, given this climate of alternative facts I am in the mood for a little science-based evidence.