Expert's Opinion

What's the Problem with Skin Care?

By Zoe Diana Draelos, MD, Dermatologist | August 30, 2010

Dermatologist Zoe Diana Draelos provides a succinct answer.

Hope in a jar was a euphemism 100 years ago for the myriad of powders, creams, and potions available for appearance improvement. Have formulations progressed in the last millennium? Most definitely, yes!

The number of botanical raw materials for incorporation into the latest silicone-based polymers is staggering. The improved safety of skin care products and the development of excellent testing methodologies have made the incidence of allergic and irritant contact dermatitis minuscule. Most of the products of old were moisturizers designed to reduce transepidermal water loss from the skin.

Interestingly, most of the new products are moisturizers designed to reduce transepidermal water loss from the skin. The development of modern sunscreens has enhanced anti-aging claims, even though sunscreens have never been proven to decrease aging.

Perhaps this highlights the biggest problem with modern skin care products. Outside of cleansers, moisturizers are the only other major skin care product category that has established efficacy.

In summary, the biggest problem with skin care products is that there is nothing new. Skin care is patiently waiting for the next breakthrough, but the horizon seems endless.


About the Author
Zoe Diana Draelos, MD, is a practicing board-certified dermatologist and a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology with a research interest in cosmetics, toiletries and biologically active skin medications. She is in solo private practice in High Point, North Carolina, and a Consulting Professor of Dermatology at Duke University. In 1988, she founded Dermatology Consulting Services to provide education, develop formulations, and conduct clinical studies in association with industry. Prior to pursuing a medical career, Dr. Draelos completed an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering and was elected a Rhodes Scholar. A member of Sigma Xi research honorary and Alpha Omega Alpha medical honorary, she is author of the textbooks Cosmetics in Dermatology and Hair Cosmetics, as well as the editor of Cosmeceuticals, now in its second edition and translated into five languages. She has contributed chapters to 32 textbooks, served as the principle investigator on 274 studies, written 270 published papers, serves on 8 journal editorial boards, functions as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, and was a past member of the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. She is presently serving on the Council for Scientific Affairs for the Society of Cosmetic Chemists. Recently, she received a lifetime achievement award for her research from Health Beauty America and the DermArts award for her contributions to the practice of dermatology.

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