Here we are at the International Esthetic Cosmetics & Spa Conference in Las Vegas. Something like 10,000 attendees. In between other duties, Dr. George and myself have been going around as official members of the press (we have “beauty blogger” badges). Our job has been to see what’s what, look for exciting new science, ferret out the old not-so-real science, and engage folks in discussions about scientific integrity in the industry. We are also handing out “Truth Matters” buttons to all who express agreement with the principles, or who are out there practicing it every day.
I was surprised by the number of estheticians I met who were in strong agreement with the notion that here needed to be more attention paid to scientific truths and integrity, that it was a industry-wide problem, and that everyone knows it, but nobody has ever done or said much to change the situation. Estheticians are for the most part retailers of products and services, and have little control over the manufacturers. In the realm of skin care products, and cosmeceuticals in particular, they also fell that they don’t have enough education to judge good from bad science. Taking advantage of this are entities which “sponsor” seminars at these shows which are billed as educational, but are for the most part merely live infomercials, and contain precious little objective scientific information. There are some exceptions to this rule, but they are in the minority. Some estheticians suggested that in order to change the situation, their educational process would have to be bolstered to make it more rigorous. Others pointed out that such a measure might mean that it would cost more, and many would not be able to afford it. Overall, the estheticians here seem sincere, caring about their clients, caring about the truth, and desirous of changes to the way the industry operates. All good things from our vantage point.
We cam across some of the unsavory characters we have encountered in the past. Bioeffect is still selling pure EGF formlations. Still lots of products with nonsensical ingredients like argirilene and syn-ake. We will fill you in on some of those later. But no – they did not get Truth Matters buttons.
and you and Dr. George had the benefit of wandering the booth areas and attending live infomercials knowing what was hype and what wasn’t. Even estheticians, apparently, are unreliable sources of accurate information. Imagine the pedestrian consumer walking around, collecting free samples of Brand X or Brand Z, being exposed to all that you experienced at the “conference” and trying to figure out what’s sound and true and what’s bogus. How dauntingly depressing.