The creams do moisturize - even the cheapest ones will do that - and that does help make the skin appear more supple and healthy. As for the other claims, few studies have been published in medical journals to show the products work as advertised or are safe to use. And the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn't require companies to prove that cosmetic products are safe or effective.
"It is a good example of how people can use science-y-ness to try and sell a product," said Dr. Ben Goldacre, who wrote about moisturizers in his book "Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks and Big Pharma Flacks." "It is used decoratively as marketing in a way that is meaningless."
Companies rarely publish studies showing their products are effective, said dermatologist Dr. Vesna Petronic-Rosic of the University of Chicago Medical Center.
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