Q. Some creams, dietary supplements and even teas say they can protect or rejuvenate the skin. Is there anything to this at all?


A. Mathew M. Avram, MD, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Dermatology

Laser & Cosmetic Center, answers: “When it comes to so-called “cosmeceutical” products that claim to improve the health or appearance of your skin or prevent skin aging, the honest answer is we just don’t know if they work or not.

“A lot of skin products make claims that can’t be verified, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not true. That said, some creams contain substances that on a microscopic level are too large to penetrate through the top layer of the skin.

“However, some cosmeceuticals contain ingredients that are more plausible as active ingredients. Antioxidants are one example. But without scientific data, it’s hard to know if these products actually work.

“The same applies to dietary supplements that claim to “support” skin health. But having an overall healthy diet and getting exercise will certainly be reflected in your skin. When outdoors and exposed to the sun, make sure to use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, because exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays definitely damages and ages the skin and raises the risk of skin cancer.”


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