Beauty creams and lotions – what works?

The beauty business is a giant industry and billions of dollars are spent worldwide everyday on beauty creams and lotions

The beauty business is a giant industry and billions of dollars are spent worldwide everyday on beauty creams and lotions by people chasing youth and beauty. Forget it. If the dreams sold in a jar came true, the product would sell out worldwide in a day!

All moisturisers consist of a mixture of oil and water. Manufacturers tell us that the quality of the ingredients determines the price. How high can you go? To help justify the high prices, extra ingredients are added – micro algae, various herbs and plant extracts, soy, snail mucin and collagen to name a few. You have all read the inspiring words so frequently used; firming, lifting, recovery, nourishing, repair, true defence. Also, scientific sounding words; luminactiv, stimulant, bio-molecular. Hyaluronic acid microspheres is my favourite – this is described as an age support treatment cream. Sells for about AU$125. Remember Creme de laMer? Sold for US$155 a 2oz jar in 1998 and there was a waiting list of 1600 at Saks Fith Avenue. Remember Cellex-C? Another so-called cult cream – not easily available, but with a huge following and all a bit secret and under the radar; yet celebrity names seemed to be mentioned in the same breath as the product. Maybe very clever marketing was at play?

Dazzling with science is a common marketing technique. When women are recruited to test new beauty creams, they are usually asked to cease using moisturiser for some weeks leading up to the test period. Naturally there is a positive result to measure.

Whilst I have been a bit tongue-in-cheek so far, I know that we all use beauty creams and lotions; just be circumspect and use common sense when buying creams and lotions, plus oils and serums. Prices vary from mega-expensive to super cheap, so there will be a product for every budget and what you pick and what you pay is your choice.

Around age 60 you will be noticing fine wrinkles and deepening folds because less oestrogen is being produced, loss of plumpness in the cheeks and upper lip. Gravity will begin to cause a jowly appearance. By the time we are 80 our skin will be about 30 percent thinner than when we were 18. Pigment decreases and so older skin can be pale. Blotchy pigmentation marks can appear on the face and neck, muscle tone will decrease and our skin will be more fragile. Professional beauty treatments like botox and filler injections, I.P.L laser treatments, fat transfer and surgical lifting is the only way to improve some of these signs of ageing – creams and lotions can’t do it.

Now this is not to say that beauty creams and lotions are not beneficial, because they will improve the look and texture of mature skin. Wise women know that there is a limit to what they can expect from creams and lotions and select thoughtfully from the shelf – they know that a high price is of little consequence.



As our skin’s oil production slows, soap may strip away too much moisture, so move away from soap and foaming cleansers for the face. I recommend Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Lotion; ideal for mature skin – very plain, gentle and easy to use; rinses away perfectly and leaves skin fresh, clean and moist.

Home substitute: Baby oil on a make-up pad.


There are hundreds of body lotions for you to choose from – go for a perfumed lotion to give yourself a lift and to soften skin from neck to toe. Buy something that will not drip everywhere; avoid “milks” – very drippy.


Designed to target the wrinkles from crow’s feet to chin. Apply after cleansing and before moisturising. Leave to dry then pat on moisturiser. The anti-wrinkle cream will temporarily blur the lines a little. I use an Avon product and often pat on a second coat before going out at night. (I assume that the first coat has worn off). Nice under the eyes.


The ingredient to look for in face and eye moisturisers is peptide, the only additive apart from lipasomes (which are not widely used nowadays) that is really effective. The molecular structure of the peptide allows the moisturising effect of the cream/lotion to penetrate and last longer. The peptides in beauty creams and lotions are designed for external use and are quite safe. Use on the neck, face and décolletage. Their effectiveness is unsurpassed. The trade name for the most commonly used peptide is Matrixyl. Look for this on the label. I use peptide moisturising products from the Sanctuary Spa range.

TOP TIP: Pat a little peptide moisturising gel onto the face, neck and decolletage more than once a day. Spread onto palms and fingers and pat, pat, pat over make-up to refresh and moisten your complexion during the day.


Use regularly to slough away dead surface layers which make the complexion dull – reveals new, fresh skin underneath. Helps with coarseness and open pores. Exfoliation and astringent lotion can give a more refined look, but will always only be an improvement.

Home substitute: Baking powder.


Women of our age are familiar with astringent lotions having an alcohol base which worked brilliantly to minimise open pores. Alcohol based astringent lotions are no longer available. Alcohol free astringents are called toners, but you may like to use rose water or orange blossom spritz. Toners won’t be as effective as the old alcohol based astringents.

Home substitute: Very cold water.


Quite a fashionable switch and give a radiant glow. Some oils contain peptides too. Massage into the face for best results. Layer the oil on top of the serum. Serums are

lightweight, concentrated mixes of various anti-ageing ingredients. Some are for daily use, some are designed to give a boost when skin looks tired and dull. Serums are intended to be used underneath a moisturiser. They can be very potent, so experiment carefully.


Select a peptide night cream for maximum benefit. Night creams are usually heavier in texture than day creams and moisturisers. Use lavishly and remember sides and back of the neck.

We are surrounded by an ever increasing array of vitamin C creams, vitamin E lotions, non-prescription vitamin A creams, alpha hydroxy acids in face creams and I understand that in the near future skin patches will be the buzz and also oxygen creams will be out there. Pick and choose from the massive range of beauty creams and lotions. Try this and that and make your own assessment; some will stay with you, some will be discarded. Have realistic expectations despite the hype. The beauty industry is cleverly marketing directly to our vulnerability as we age.

What do you use on your face?