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$170 Hand Cream -What I learned at an upscale department store.

By: Dr. Wang Skincare Education Team

Jan 16, 2019

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This weekend, I walked by the cosmetic counters at an upscale department store and was greeted by a saleslady who wanted me to try a facial cream from a well-known brand.

After telling me about the benefits derived from the algae in the cream, she directed me to:

“Place a small amount of cream in your palms. Rub your hands as fast as you can to generate heat. This will activate the enzymes. Gently pat the cream on your face.”

I tried the cream on my face, and it felt fine. I was curious about the price.

“$175 for 1 oz,” replied the sales lady. I asked a few more questions, thanked her, and left the counter.

I cannot comment on the efficacy of the cream. I don’t know if the price of $175 is justified, but I question the scientific merit of the brand.


Here is my first thought. The instruction defies common sense. That cream is $175 for 1 oz; it is expensive. Ideally, I want all the cream on my face. By first vigorously rubbing the cream on the hands, I wasted most of the cream on my palms.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have a younger looking face than wrinkle free palms.


Let us keep going. If we view the instruction from a scientific perspective, here are 3 more objections:

1. Rubbing your hands may increase the temperature by <1 degree, at best. This small change in temperature will hardly improve the efficacy of the enzymes in the cream.

2. How do I know if the enzymes are not destroyed? Nearly all creams, including this one, require heating the water and oil together under a high temperature. Heat can permanently destroy the enzymes and nutrients. (That is why we do not to use heat in the making of our Nourishing Youth Serum and Radiance Facial Oil). If the enzymes are destroyed in the manufacturing process, then there is nothing left to activate.

3. How do I know if the enzymes will get into the living cells? Enzymes have large molecular sizes and they work inside of living cells. The large size prevents most enzymes from penetrating through the stratum corneum, the outermost layer of skin. That means, all the enzymes will never reach the living cells in the skin. Hence, they will have no health benefits.

Let us come back to the lady at the counter. She was sincere and patient. She was convincing and believable. And she was really nice. She honestly believed everything she said was truth.

Unfortunately, belief is not the same as facts.

What sounds good, trendy, novel, exciting, or promising in the beauty world is often not true and not backed by science. Here are some ingredients that have been touted for their benefits: snake venom, snail excretion, lobster blood, exotic berries.

Do you really think these ingredients can make you have a younger and healthy looking skin?

So, the next time you are shopping for skincare products, don’t be swayed by what sounds good. It may just be some marketing hypes.

Ask yourself: “Does the explanation make common sense and is it scientifically sound?” You will be surprised on how easy it is to spot the BS, if you just pause and think.

Your palms do not need a $175 cream that may or may not contain heat-activated enzymes.



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