The Hemp Connection + women

Sea buckthorn…or…why it is important to read cosmetic labels too!

At Expo West, I am always as interested in the beauty care section as I am foods. I have come home with lots of great information that I've shared with all of you about how to have the healthiest skin you can. However, Expo West has also taught me that the hype in the beauty industry is as bad, if not worse than, what I work with daily in the food industry.

We are an appearance-based culture, and as a culture we fear aging. That gives the beauty industry a lot of ammunition to work with. A simple promise of younger skin, a suggestion, and magical thinking takes over.

The booths for these products are all beautiful, and the claims sound reasonable. It is only when you get home, away from the lights and the pictures of someone else's flawless skin, that logical questions start to have a chance.

For example, I was very taken by the beautiful orange and white booth of a company called Sibu Beauty. They were selling a product line based on the ingredient"sea buckthorn". This is a berry native to Tibet, with a high anti-oxidant content that helps it to survive the harsh mountain climate.

The big claim of this product line, though, is its high contents of all of the omegas — 3, 6, 9, and 7. Not real fond of omega-6…as you know, it's pro-inflammatory.

Omega-7? Yes, 7. Never heard of it, so I took as much information as I could so I could come home and research more.

Went to the company's website, clicked on the"science" link, found no links to studies specifically supporting their claims, no clinical studies, no before-after pictures.

I did see a photo of a beautiful young woman who likely had yet to see a mark of aging hit her flawless skin and who very likely couldn't point out Tibet on a map if you asked her to.

Here's what bothers me about these companies selling anti-aging programs using ingredients from exotic places like Tibet and the Amazon. If you Google Image pictures of women from these countries, you see beautiful faces like the one to the left, with the history of the elements carved into their expressions. Why do these companies who sell these supplements from these exotic places like Tibet and the Amazon, never show the faces of real people who live there. Shouldn't they be the real testimonials for how these products work?

The site proudly shared that it had been promoted on Dr. Oz. Do you know what it takes to get your product on Dr. Oz? A good PR agent, mostly.

Out of fairness to the man, however, I did watch one of the videos from his sea buckthorn segment. He didn't really talk much about skin, but rather focused on two rats, both who had eaten a high fat diet, one of which managed to stay thin because it had also been given sea buckthorn. So my takeaway here was that Dr. Oz was promoting the concept that you can eat crap as long as you can get your hands on some exotic foreign berry extract. (C'mon, Mehmet, really? I could give you a laundry list of exciting nutritional angles for your show…teaching people who to eat junk and stay thin is not one of them.) I digress. The truth is, Dr. Oz spoke about sea buckthorn in general, not the brand promoting the fact that Dr. Oz promoted the product.

Went to my favorite resource, PubMed, and looked up sea buckthorn. I did see some studies with regard to wound healing, a lot about anti-inflammatory action, and even more about it being therapeutic for ulcers. But no rave reviews for the product as an anti-aging agent. And I even found one study suggesting that skin fatty acid content did NOT respond to sea buckthorn supplementation.

Finally, contacted a good friend in the beauty industry, who has a background in library science and who deconstructs cosmetics labels like I deconstruct food labels. She'd heard of the product, even tried it herself, wasn't impressed.
So here we have a product with proven therapeutic benefit that is not being promoted, being promoted for something completely wacky by a celebrity who knows when he talks miracle weight loss his ratings stay where the advertisers want them, being sold to do something completely unrelated to either by its manufacturer and unproven in clinical studies.
If your head is spinning, it should be. This is an awful lot of smoke and mirrors. If it gets to be this confusing, your hype and fraud radars should be going crazy.

Save your money.

Yang B, Kalimo KO, Tahvonen RL, Mattila LM, Katajisto JK, Kallio HP. Effect of dietary supplementation with sea buckthorn (Hippophaë rhamnoides) seed and pulp oils on the fatty acid composition of skin glycerophospholipids of patients with atopic dermatitis. J Nutr Biochem. 2000 Jun;11(6):338-40.

antioxidants, diet, food, health, nutrition, supplements, thinking, and more:

Sea buckthorn…or…why it is important to read cosmetic labels too! + women