Skin Care

By Andrea Toochin

Over the past year, we’ve watched as the marketing gurus across America create sectors for every group from scruffy men to middle aged women. It’s as if all of a sudden the big ol’ boys realized baby boomers and average football-watching, tailgating men have disposable income, too. However, we’ve surpassed those days and are now in the midst of a consumer craze where metrosexual is no longer a buzz word and Latinos and Blacks are the newest groups being targeted for cosmetics sales. But, before we see our fathers getting facials and our drugstores developing separate shelf space for minority needs, we will witness advertising that targets another subset – the millions of women across the country – racial and economic orientation aside – purchasing products that promise to eradicate brown spots, lessen redness, and smooth lines. From the desks of Unilever executives and science labs across Europe, we bring you solutions for ‘mature’ skin.

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Hungarian herbalists developed Eminence over half a century ago to combat aging and rejuvenate skin. Made from spring water, fruits, vegetables, and herbs, their products, whose packaging is 100 percent recyclable, are distributed to spas and salons that promote wellness rather than extreme anti-aging.

The products are great for middle-aged women, or anyone with the skin problems stemming from overexposure to the elements. In formulating their products they keep menopausal women in mind and the impact hormonal imbalance has one the skin. When hormones shift the production of oil changes, which accounts for breakouts around menstruation; these changes are exacerbated when a women goes through ‘the change’. However, hormonal imbalances are not only to blame; free radicals and the slowing down of cell regeneration are also culprits of premature aging. Eminence works to slow down the aging process with potent vitamins, bioflavinoids, and amino acids.

The organic line utilizes anti-oxidants such as carrot and pumpkin extracts, rose canina, paprika, almond extract, wheat germ, and maize in countless products from masques and treatments to serums and creams. The Eight Greens Phyto Masque is a goopy green masque with the consistency of slimy seaweed, meant to prevent breakouts and improve elasticity. Though it’s herbal, it’s quite strong and should be used at least a day prior to any big event. The Sour Cherry Masque combats free radicals and improves firmness of skin. The Naseberry Treatment Cream employs fruit acids and naseberry, grape and apple extracts to improve the complexion and soothe skin. Finally, the Fine Thorn Treatment is a potent mix of fine thorn, germ, and carrot oils, as well as calendula and iris extracts that combat sun damage and moisturize skin.

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Since the early part of the century, Pond’s has been a mainstay for women across the country. Some boast that simply hydrating with Pond’s cold cream was enough to maintain a youthful appearance. However, modern technology and alternative treatments have given us a plethora of options from organic creams to scientifically proven cocktails.

The executives at Unilever responded to the zeitgeist by creating an extensive line of products for middle-aged women. A quick look at the ingredients and you’ll see they’ve packed in nearly everything you find in nature-inspired lines, including soy, grape seed, white tea, green tea, Chinese clay, ginseng, vitamin K, and AHAs.

The line is broken down into cleansers and toners, and treatments and moisturizers. The creamy Daily Exfoliating Cleanser, one of six cleansers, contains white tea and Chinese clay, while the Purely Polished Micro-dermabrasion Anti-aging Kit utilizes microbeads and pink quartz to complete a gentle scrub applied via a circular sponge. The Overnight Wrinkle Repair cream exfoliates via the 8 percent AHA concentration. But it’s the Pond’s Dermal-Recovery Complex, a cocktail of moisturizers, vitamins, and minerals that gives three of the six moisturizers the upper hand. In addition to the complex, The Mend & Defend Intensive Protection SPF 15 and the 5-minute Age-Defying Moisture Treatment both contain shea butter, aloe, and collagen, as well as white tea to fight free radicals, and collagen to plump skin. Also smooth and creamy, the defEYE fights dark circles and puffiness with vitamin K, and light-reflective minerals.

Studies claim that the moisturizers increase skin hydration by up to 80 percent. Overall, the products all share a light yet rich consistency that’s great under makeup and absorbs quickly.

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The well-respected French line Nuxe has long been recognized for their multi-tasking oil. However, their latest skin care line, Nuxuriance, is one that caters to a specific audience – 55+ women. Developed especially for mature skin, Nuxe scientists and product developers shares the same philosophy as the executives at Pond’s; they both believe that modern middle-aged women are empowered, successful women whose skin should match their vibrant spirit.

From a scientific perspective, they recognize that menopause causes a hormonal imbalance, which impacts the skin tonicity, density, and pigmentation. According to their research, skin tone worsens because blood vessels become more fragile and uneven patterns of melanin production often develop. But the most obvious change is that the skin becomes thinner because collagen production slows down.

During a two-month study, 100 women between the ages of 55 and 68 tested the products. The most encouraging results are not those of wrinkle reduction, because that’s not the priority here. The study showed that 81 women noticed an impact on brown spots and 93 women confirmed thicker, firmer skin.

Like many other companies, Nuxe scoured the rainforests of South America in search of the best natural ingredients to restore youth to aging skin. Of the active ingredients, Chilean pine helps foster cell duplication; Bakau Plant Cells stimulate collagen production and helps regulate melanin production; and Peruvian ginseng works on common Menopausal side effects, but the three products in the line all serve distinct purposes.

The Cellular Booster relies on Red Algae plantlets and Moth Bean seeds to stimulate the production of new cells. The Day Booster (SPF 8) uses Rose of Jericho and Meadowfoam to moisturize skin and draw in liquids. The Night Repairer employs caffeine to draw out toxins and waste, and Marvel of Peru, a seed oil, to add epidermal moisturize and encourage cellular regeneration.

The commonality among all three lines is that no one line must be used in exclusivity. They all contain products that can supplement one’s regular ritual, but they also point out that wrinkles are not the bane of our existence. The products work to erase sun spots and mend broken capillaries, in an effort to reverse environment damage, not signs of life. Perhaps, in their quest for monetary success, even the marketing teams and wealthy executives have some inkling of hope that this celebrity- and youth-obsessed nation might one day aspire to radiant skin, marked with a few celebrated lines to remind us of where we’ve been and what we’ve accomplished.

Eminence is available at Greenhouse Holistic 88 Roebling St. Brooklyn 718.599.3113
The Sports Club/LA 330 East 61st Street (Btwn First and Second Aves.) 212.355.5100
$38-$60

Pond’s is available at major drugstores $5.99-$13.99

Nuxuriance is available in January at Barneys $63-73

Originally published December 2005
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