Getting through the skincare hype: Don’t just buy mere words

SKIN CARE MANUFACTURERS use a lot of scientific sounding terms to describe simple things. The psychology behind this is all geared towards value adding. The more complex and specail a product or service seems, the more people will be willing to pay for.

Marketing research has shown that when ordinary layman’s terms are used in place of complex terms, the products do not sell for high prices. Therefore, it pays to say “hydrates your skin at a cellular level” instead of simply saying “adds moisture”.

Medical sounding affixes such as “micro” , “bio” , “pro” , “serum” and others are used widely, but they actually do not mean much. Neither do they mean that the product worla better or is superior in any way.

All these words are used to lend in air of technology and superiority to distinguish and differentiate products, while ensuring the price tag remains quite high.

Research carried out in may countres has shown that this works very well for the high-end market. It does not work as well for products aimed at the mass market.

The anti-ageing myth

Ageing is a gradual, natural and irreversible process. It is inevitable and one of the most obvious sign is the change of skin structure.

The term “anti-ageing” is brilliant marketing term that was coined several years ago. It is now widely used to describe skin care products targeted at women over the age of 30.

One of the oldest tricks used on the beauty industry is the ability of manufacturers to creat insecurities among potential consumers and then provide a solution for the insecurity. This is done via extensive media campaigns.

Many women have insecurities about looking older and this is where the anti-ageing bandwagon takes hold. The product with this phrase, together with all other pseudo-scientific ones, sell out as women sign with relief when they pick products from the shelves.

The truth is, anti-ageing products do not work. They cannot change the structure of the skin, otherwise they would be classified as drugs and would have to undergo years of vigorous testing loke any other pharmaceutical drug. To get around this, companies play around with words. Pay attention to this prase:

“Improves the appearance of fine lines”.

At first glance, this term sounds like it could provide a solution to wrinkles. However, all it really means is that it may make the skin look better. It does not claim that the wrinkles actually disappear.

Any product, even milk jelly, can improve the appearance of fine lines when applied to the skin because of its moisturising action.

It helps to be smart consumer when purchasing highly priced products because you could be paying for mere words.


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