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Anti-aging creams are predominantly moisturizer-based skin care products marketed with unproven claims of making the consumer look younger by reducing, masking or preventing signs of skin aging. Anti-aging supplements are ingestible products promoted to diminish the effects of aging, including vitamin supplements, powders, and teas.
In the United States, anti-aging products are commonly marketed with false health claims, and are deemed to be among various scams on consumers. Since 2007, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued dozens of warning letters to manufacturers of skin care products with false marketing – including supposed anti-aging effects – about the benefits of such products, which are not authorized to be marketed as drugs that would require FDA approval to be safe and effective for treating the aging process.
Traditionally, anti-aging creams have been marketed towards women, but products specifically targeting men are common in the 21st century. Marketing of anti-aging products has been criticized as reinforcing ageism, particularly against women. Anti-aging promotions specifically reinforce the belief that older people should look like middle-aged people, and that old age comes with a loss of gender identity.
Anti-aging creams may include conventional moisturizing ingredients. They also usually contain specific ingredients claimed without evidence to have anti-aging properties, such as:
- Retinoids (for instance, in the form of retinyl palmitate).
- Epidermal growth factor, to stimulate cell renewal and collagen production in the skin, and strengthen elasticity and structure.
- Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids or other chemical peels.
- Peptides, such as acetyl hexapeptide-3 (Argireline), Matryxil, and copper peptides.
- Coenzyme Q10.
- Sunscreens provide a high level of UVA protection against the effects of UVA radiation, such as wrinkles.
- Vitamin C.
- Ganceviciene R, Liakou AI, Theodoridis A, Makrantonaki E, Zouboulis CC (July 2012). "Skin anti-aging strategies". Dermato-Endocrinology. 4 (3): 308–19. doi:10.4161/derm.22804. PMC 3583892. PMID 23467476.
- "Common health scams". Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Inspector General, US Government. January 1, 2022. Retrieved May 31, 2023.
Despite claims about pills and treatments leading to the fountain of youth, there's nothing you can buy that has been proven to slow or reverse the aging process. And many companies selling these lotions, creams, and supplements don't have sufficient scientific evidence to show they work.
- "Are Some Cosmetics Promising Too Much?". US Food and Drug Administration. March 23, 2015. Retrieved June 1, 2023.
products are being marketed with drug claims—indicating that they are intended to treat or prevent disease, or change the body's structure or functions. The agency tells companies that they need to remove any drug claims from their products' labeling or seek FDA approval to market these products as drugs.
- "Warning Letters Address Drug Claims Made for Products Marketed as Cosmetics". US Food and Drug Administration. April 1, 2022. Retrieved June 1, 2023.
products are not generally recognized as safe and effective for the above-referenced uses and, therefore, these products are "new drugs" under section 201(p) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 321(p)]. New drugs may not be legally introduced or delivered for introduction into interstate commerce without prior approval from FDA.
- "Drawing a line under men's wrinkles". BBC News Magazine. April 19, 2005. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
- Global report on ageism (Report). World Health Organization. March 18, 2021. p. 11. ISBN 9789240016866.
- Calasanti, T. (September 1, 2007). "Bodacious Berry, Potency Wood and the Aging Monster: Gender and Age Relations in Anti-Aging Ads". Social Forces. 86 (1): 335–355. doi:10.1353/sof.2007.0091. S2CID 144181351.
- "Sunscreens Explained". SkinCancer.org. Archived from the original on December 5, 2011. Retrieved February 14, 2012.