Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Top 5 Bogus Cosmetic Gizmos On The Market Today

Bogus Cosmetic Gizmos Are Flooding The Market, Some Of Them Based On Old Designs Like the Turn Of The Century Baldness Cure Featured In This Picture
Economic times are hard, but people still want to look good. Those who don't have the money (or don't wish to have surgery) often turn to the latest and everything-but-greatest gizmos and gadgets in the hopes that they can turn back time, sculpt better bodies and look their best. Some of these gadgets are based on pseudo-science, others claim to originate as the secrets of ancient cultures, and the rest simply rely upon the hopes that consumers will loose all common sense and go on a late night infomercial spending spree.

With that in mind, I bring you the top five most useless cosmetic gadgets on the market today. This list comprises the best of the worst in crap science, deceptive marketing and downright dirty trickery.#5 - LLLT (Low-Level Laser Therapy) or Cold-Laser Therapy Hair Combs

These plastic combs with laser pointers attached typically sell for anywhere from $75 to $700 and are based on evidence that cold laser light at low levels can stimulate cellular activity provided in the 1960's by Professor Andre Mester. Mester originally theorized that exposure to laser light would have a carcinogenic (cancerous) effect, so he shaved all of his animal subjects - he believed that skin legions would be the first and best sign, should the exposure prove cancerous - and set the cages on top of cold laser lights. Mester later discovered that, not only did none of his subjects contract cancer, the fur that he had shaved off had regrown at an accelerated rate.

All of that might sound like an impressive argument for LLLT hair growth, but one must also weight that against the notorious unreliability of animal studies - not to mention the fact that several studies have proven that, if nothing else, mice are really good at growing hair.

There are few proponents of LLLT for treatment of hair loss and most of those who boast the loudest that the treatment is effective have personal stakes in the companies that manufacture the devices. Opponents state that they've never seen any drastic change - some say they've not seen any change at all - in patients utilizing LLLT treatment. There's also a huge (and growing) list of people across the world seeking legal action against a UK-based company that offers expensive LLLT treatments that don't have anywhere near the success rate they claim.

Some might point out that one of these devices has been cleared by the FDA as the first medical device approved for treatment of hair loss. This is, however, misleading... There are many requirements involved for a medical device to be cleared for marketing by the FDA. One of those requirements is that the benefit of use outweigh the risk of side-effects and complications. In layman's terms, a device that doesn't do anything good can be approved, as long as it doesn't do anything bad.

#4 - LED (laser) and Vibration Facial Wands

Okay, so this may seem like a recap of the above article, as these even more erroneous gizmos also tout the use of cold laser therapy (along with vibration). Use of these gadgets is said to "erase the signs of aging" and one company produces them have conducted clinical trials. The problem that doctors have with this study is that it contained only 36 subjects and lasted only two months, which is really too small a portion of the population and minuscule amount of time to gage any effectiveness at all. Another major qualm is that the device is used with a gel containing hyaluronic acid, which can plump the skin temporarily.

Did we mention that it also vibrates? Well, it's unlikely to do anything good to your face, but given the "wand's" size, shape and vibrational capability, it may prove more useful... uhmmm... elsewhere.

#3 - Electric Ab Stimulators

We all want tight, ripped abs. We see them everywhere and they are the epitome of fitness and sexiness. Most of us don't have the genetic structure to get the kind of abs we want... Some turn to enormous amounts of sit-ups and crunches hoping to get those six-pack abs. A lot of us go in for plastic surgery, which can offer some incredibly tight tummies. Then, some of us like to go the extra lazy and totally crazy way and shoot electrical currents into their ab muscles to make them contract.

Websites selling ab stimulators claim that wearing one for a period of time is like doing a 1,000 sit-ups, but according to the experts, it's more like wearing a leather belt that just so happens to shock you.

While electricity does force muscles to contract, they do so with very minimal force. Electric muscle stimulators are used to keep comatose and otherwise immobile patients' muscles from completely atrophying, but they only maintain a very limited amount of muscle tissue which is why these patients must still undergo months (sometimes years) of physical therapy. In order to actually tone or grow muscle tissue from electricity-forced contraction you'd need to get very close to electrocuting yourself.

The bottom line is, if you want to look good and buy a belt, shell out for a Kenneth Cole.

#2 - Facial Exercisers

Facial muscle toning been rather popular since the early eighties when people sought an alternative to an invasive face lift. The theory goes that there are many muscles in your face that become lax from not being used on a daily basis. If you exercise these muscles in the proper way, so says this theory, you'll be able to tighten and tone your face as you do the other muscles in your body. Sounds pretty accurate, right? Wrong.

Most of the muscles in your face are very thin, so thin that they cannot be seen underneath the skin. Also, many take-up facial exercise as it is often reputed (mostly by those selling it as a cosmetic therapy) as a way to erase facial lines and wrinkles. The primary issue here is the fact that movement of your face is what caused those lines and wrinkles in the first place. More movement, even "face toning" will just cause more lines to appear and certain wrinkles to deepen.

#1 - Kinoki Foot Pads

Based on the ancient Japanese secret of highway robbery, these cotton swabs for your feet are touted to remove everything from arsenic to cellulite from your body through your feet. If the removal of toxins from your body interests you, then you may be happy to know that you have a Kinoki foot pad inside of you - best of all, this one actually works! It's called your liver and it's the reason why toxins aren't removed through your feet.

The reason these little foot-sponges turn brown/black and smell bad? They're treated with chemicals that react to your body's heat and moisture. The only thing these bogus pieces of cotton are likely to remove is your money from your wallet.

As Homer Simpson once said to an ionic air purifier, "Oh bogus gizmo, grant me eternal life!" Most manufacturers of these phony products simply mix a little science with a whole lot 'o nerve and sell it to anyone who won't attempt to verify their claims.

In case anyone was wondering, the picture at the very top of this article is for the patent of a device called the "Hoover cure", invented in 1899 for bald men to suck their follicles from the scalp.

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