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Medication Mythbusters – Home of the Best Science (BS) Medicine Podcast

Episode 289: Use cream that’s cheaper

In episode 289, James and Mike slip into the quagmire of moisturizers and anti-aging creams. We look at what ingredients are in moisturizers and the evidence behind the anti-aging products. At the end they both feel like they’ve aged 5 years and there’s not a cream on the market that will save them.

Show notes

1) Use Cream That’s Cheaper – a parody of the Blue Oyster Cult song Don’t Fear the Reaper

2) Deception in cosmetics advertising

J Glob Fas Mark 2015:6:194-206

3) Consumer Reports April 2012

4) Which? August 2009

5) Ingredients essential to all moisturizers


10-30% Oils/lipids/fats (emollients) – Decreases Evaporation

Typically from plants and animals – PETROLATUM (petroleum jelly), beeswax, lanolin, mineral oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, squalene

5% Emulsifiers – Allows Oils to Mix with Water

Beeswax/borax, cetearyl alcohol, polysorbate 60, PEG-150 stearate, steareth-20, lecithin, glyceryl monostearate

0.5% Preservatives  

Parabens, phenoxyethanol, MCI/MI

5% Humectants – Attracts Water

GLYCEROL (glycerin), propylene glycol, butylene glycol, alpha-hydroxy acids (glycolic acid, lactic acid), urea

1% Silicones


2% Herbal extracts – Most added with no clinical evidence they do anything and often the reason for allergic reactions

0.2% Fragrance – 100s used

Often the reason for allergic reactions

6) Interventions for photodamaged skin


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