Are you the type of person that swears by an expensive face cream and won’t touch a drugstore product? Or do you think that all face creams contain mostly the same ingredients and would happily buy a budget cream?
There is a huge discrepancy in the pricing of face creams, with the budget end of the market starting at a few pounds or dollars, and the luxurious products costing anything up to thousands for a few weeks supply.
With this huge inconsistency in pricing you’d think there would be a massive difference in the ingredients. Well, let’s have a look shall we?
Among the most expensive products on the market is “The Essence” treatment, by Crème de la Mer, which costs £1,500 for three weeks’ worth of serum. It claims it can reduce lines and minimise pores.
This serum contains powerful anti-oxidants such as lime tea extract, Brazilian malachite and nutrient rich algae.
Another expensive face cream is Dr Perricone’s Face Lift Duo. This pair of serums is said to improve facial sagging. The ingredients of this cream include an anti-oxidant called Alpha Lipoic Acid and an organic compound called DMAE.
The Face Lift Duo bottles cost £120 for 2 x 59ml products.
At the other end of the spectrum is Boots’ No.7 Protect & Perfect Serum which costs £23.95 for 30ml.
The serum contains powerful compound made up from two peptides called Matrixyl 3000 Plus.
Even more affordable is Tesco’s Derma Intensive Plus Q10 Cream at a budget-busting £1.99.
The pot from Tesco’s contains, amongst other ingredients, retinol and a coenzyme called Q10.
So by now we know that certain products contain different ingredients called anti-oxidants, peptides and coenzymes, but which is best and how do they account for the difference in price?
First we need to know exactly how skin ages.
How does skin age?
Our cells are made up of atoms and molecules. Normal atoms have a balanced pair of electrons. Our skin ages due to several factors such as environmental pollution like smoking, radiation from the sun and other sources of UV rays.
All this exposure causes the body to produce free radicals. These free radicals are unstable as they have free, unpaired electrons and need electrons from other molecules. This is how they cause damage to other cells.
Free radicals are typically produced in the body but an excess is thought to cause cellular stress and damage to our DNA. A gradual accumulation of these free radicals is thought to contribute to the ageing process, causing a lack of skin’s elasticity and firmness.
What are anti-oxidants?
Antioxidants are naturally occurring compounds that include Vitamin C and E, Lycopene, Green Tea, Resveratrol, Niacinamide, Genisten and Coffee Berry.
Scientists have determined that they may help with the problem of excess free radicals because anti-oxidants have what the free radicals want – extra electrons.
The anti-oxidants give the free radicals the electrons, meaning that they are not taken from our all-important cells.
What are peptides?
Peptides are small proteins that have been found to stimulate collagen in our skin.
Collagen is a type of protein, and alongside other compounds, helps to give our skin its suppleness, elasticity and resilience.
Collagen is important in anti-ageing as when we are younger our skin is made up of 80% collagen. After the age of 25 this percentage drops by about 1% every year.
When we age, it is the lack of collagen that makes our skin sag, wrinkles appear and necks to become lined.
One peptide in particular – Matrixyl has been found to stimulate collagen production in skin.
What are Coenzymes?
Coenzymes (CoQ10) are another form of anti-oxidants and as such work to mop up free radicals.
So know we know a little about which compounds do what to our skin, are we any further in knowing how much to spend on anti-ageing products?
Stewart Long, the skincare scientific adviser for Boots, has some advice:
“Spending more money on skincare means that you are generally buying a formulation that uses more premium ingredients, and will use a more premium fragrance and packaging. If a basic moisturiser suits your skin and provides the benefits you need, then use that.
“Equally, spending huge sums of money on skincare does not guarantee that the performance of the product will directly reflect the price.”
We at Shoppersbase think that there are many products that use typical anti-oxidants, peptides and coenzymes, however, the prices vary widely.
If you are looking to buy a good anti-ageing cream, just look at the ingredients and make sure it contains a good anti-oxidant, peptide or co-enzyme. The amounts are hardly ever published on the ingredients list and for the difference in price you probably won’t notice the difference.
However, when it comes to compounds such as DMAE that have been scientifically tested, this comes into the realm of scientific cosmetic research. You may want to pay a lot more for products that come with this sort of scientific backing.