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If you are reading this blog, you are well on your way to aging like a pro by learning how to make smart choices for aging well. I love talking about products and procedures that are backed by science (and that actually work!). I truly believe that what I share in this blog, on YouTube, through my book, and online academy are incredible resources to help guide you on your journey towards aging well.

I share this because digital and tv marketing, advertising, social media, or whatever you wish to call it, is bursting at the seams with “miracle creams”, “at home devices” or the “secrets to aging well” with empty promises of achieving “youthful skin” at any age.

Let me share with you how my brain works when I critically review the name of a product and the ingredient list.

Take for example The Garnier Skinactive 5-in-1 Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream Anti-Aging which retails for $12 at basically every drug store. This is not a sponsored post and I’m not intentionally picking on this product, but it is simply a readily available drug store product with unsubstantiated claims.

Let’s dig deep into this particular product and marketing tactics used in the beauty industry

“Skinactive” makes you think that there is some type of miracle ingredient or helpful skin complex that will stimulate something miraculous in your skin. This is not a “clinical” term used in Dermatology. This is an example of a “marketing” term which is simply made up terminology that sounds captivating to the consumer.

“5-in-1” is likely referring to the correction of pigmentation, fine lines, laxity, deep lines, pore size… Do you honestly think a $12 product will do all of this? The answer is no. A $500 beauty cream or serum won’t either. Let me tell you why. In order to actually address these skin concerns a multi-faceted approach is necessary including an effective skin care routine, skin/laser treatments and other non-surgical or surgical options. Click here if you wish to learn more about which products and procedures can help you reach your skin goals.

“Miracle Skin Perfector” sounds uplifting when you read this phrase, but unfortunately these types of products can’t achieve clinical results based on ingredients alone. There is literally not one single product that creates perfect skin. Rather it involves a proper skin care routine, lifestyle changes, and often treatments to address what you are really after.

“BB Cream” what is this anyways? It is a “beauty balm”. I often hear of clients using these types of products as a primer underneath their make up. Typically primers contain filler agents like silacone. These are heat-resistant and rubber-like, and are used in sealants, adhesives, lubricants, medicine, cooking utensils, and thermal and electrical insulation. Hmmm? Perhaps this isn’t the safest ingredient to apply to the skin…

Based on the title of this product alone, I personally wouldn’t trust the efficacy of this product or recommend it to client as the claims are very misleading.

Now let’s look at the ingredients for this product… SPOILER (it gets worse)

First off it contains Active Ingredients (aka Chemical Sunscreen): Avobenzone 3.0%, Octisalates 5.0%, Octocrylene 7.0%. These are “non-ideal sunscreens” because they are cheap (which is why they are still widely used), are destroying our coral reefs and interfere with our hormones. Also, they only last about 1-3 hours VS mineral sunscreens (like Zinc and Titanium Dioxide) that last at least twice as long.

It get’s worse… It also contains all 3 parabens! Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben. David Suzuki gets into detail on the Dirty Dozen Skin Care Products which you can find here.

Parabens are preservatives that have been found in multiple breast cancer tissue biopsies. I personally avoid parabens due to their link to breast cancer and I recommend you do as well. Sometimes these preservatives are helpful for rosacea but at the expense of using something that may cause other problems in the future.

Let’s look into the ingredient list for this product

I am sure that if you picked up this product you would have glazed over the extensive list of ingredients and looked for items that you can pronounce like fruit extracts or vitamins. The rest of the ingredients are “chemical names”. I have a background in Chemistry so the word chemical doesn’t ring any alarm bells. “Chemical Free” is simply a marketing ploy because even the air we breathe is considered a chemical compound as it is made up of many different elements like oxygen, nitrogen and others.

A trend I noticed in the ingredient list was how the list was laid out. It starts with “active ingredients”, then some chemicals, in the middle it contains words you may understand like kiwi extract, then more chemicals, and the list ends with things you may understand like +Lycopene ++Vitamin C +++Magnesium. These sound pretty good but chances are, they are included at the end in very low concentrations as “for show ingredients”. An ingredient list tells you what’s in the product, and goes from high to low in regards to their concentrations. One other thing to note is the bioavailability factor, or how well the ingredients enter skin cells and promote things like cell signalling, stimulating collagen, or combating free radical damage which accelerates aging.


We have found a $12 beauty product that promises the world. Sure give it a go, and if you don’t like it then try something else next time. This is a terrible way of buying items that isn’t sustainable and perpetuates product purchasing that isn’t smart for our bodies and the environment. I would recommend moving towards more medical grade products. Examples of moisturizers from medical grade lines can range from $50-$140 and will be properly nourishing the skin.

If you have any questions regarding skin care products and what actually works, you can simply book an appointment with me online.

I look forward to helping you bring your greatest version forward for many years to come!

Rachel Varga BScN, RN

Rachel Varga BScN, RN, CANS, Board Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialist