Saving Face: Dr. Oz escorts us into a wrinkle-free world
The stupidest remark I've ever heard Dr. Mehmet Oz make was this:
 Dove, a major Oz sponsor, wants women to rethink their abhorrence of wrinkles. Paradoxically, a reporter who interviewed Oz in 2010 said the doctor looks youthful on TV, but he more than looks his age when he isn't "expertly lit and wearing makeup."
"His skin is really quite wrinkled, and he has dark circles and bags under his eyes," the reporter said.
"Eat just one cucumber a day (peeling and all) to look five years younger!" he exhorts his ever-trusting fans.
You eat one, sir!
I have never heard Oz suggest that women can be beautiful while simply letting nature takes its course. He characterizes wrinkles, as I noted earlier, as "embarrassing."
This is cruel, clueless and irresponsible.
GROW UP, OZ: WRINKLES ARE NOT THE DEVIL
Why can't he be an adult, and a chivalrous man, about this frivolous obsession, and help women enjoy the quite interesting, normal process of aging? It's ironic that one of his most faithful commercial sponsors, Dove, ran a classy, artfully designed "campaign for real beauty," encouraging women to embrace each phase of their lives with grace and self-acceptance.
(Dove has since switched its commercial allegiance to "Katie," which was launched by Katie Couric in September 2012.)
(Update: As of May 2013, Dove has abandoned its commitment to the "pure" products ethic and has launched a "tranquil" line of products that contain untested and unapproved synthetic chemical fragrances, such as almond creme, nectarine and "harmonious plum." No actual fruits were harmed -- or used in any way! -- in the formulation of these aromas.)
 Wrinkles, gray hair and a little bit of loose skin don't bother Dove.
(Even so, Perricone has made millions selling creams, lotions, toners, serums and other "cutting edge" products. His latest is "Cold Plasma," $155 per ounce, which "helps correct the ten most visible signs of aging: wrinkles, enlarged pores, dryness, redness, discoloration, uneven skin tone, impurities, loss of firmness, loss of smoothness, and loss of radiance.") (He also sells a month's worth of skin-friendly vitamins for $85.) (I'm going to keep eating my chard.)
He promises to tell you how to "trick your face into thinking it's had a facelift. You'll lose 10 years instantly!"
 It's a show that's largely about his breathtaking ambition. 'MIRACLE PILL' HAS THE BITTER AFTERTASTE OF ABSURDITY
"The miracle pill to stop aging -- even reverse it -- is l-carnosine," Oz declared majestically. This supplement "not only reduces wrinkles -- it also improves brain function, energy and vision and may prevent Alzheimer's," he added.
Nutrition powerhouse Puritan's Pride didn't offer it among its huge inventory of supplements until weeks after Oz mentioned it, and it remained "on back order" for several more weeks, until its first shipment arrived.
GNC has carried carnosine for some time, at $66 for a month's supply, and states only that it "protects cell membranes" (with a disclaimer that this is an unproven effect).
 Age is something we should erase, not embrace, in Oz's world. OZ IS ROUNDLY OUTVOTED ON THE CARNOSINE ISSUE
Oz regularly refers to his rigorous "medical research team," which he claims thoroughly studies every product and procedure he recommends. Yet time and again, he peddles pills that are flatly repudiated by his own favorite guest experts and by online databases, including those of the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine NCCAM), Linus Pauling Institute, WebMd, Natural Standard, and several prestigious university medical schools.
So where is his "team" getting its information?
After naming carnosine the "fountain of youth," Oz switched gears (as always) to another anti-aging miracle. (start your engines, ladies!)
 Oz keeps stumbling upon fountains of youth everywhere he turns. Astaxanthin, he said, is “the No.1 supplement you’ve never heard of that you should be taking."
The FDA has approved it as a coloring agent for fish and animal feed. It also has antioxidant properties. This is one of dozens of formerly unheard-of supplements that was suddenly, out of the blue, in huge demand.
The National Standard database of herbs and supplements doesn't even acknowledge its existence.
Dr. Andrew Weil's assessment is: "I've seen no human study that has shown that astaxanthin as an isolated dietary supplement delivers any of the claimed benefits."
But Oz was already off on his Next Big Thing: He decided that "the SECRET ORGAN that's sabotaging your skin is your pituitary! Your growth hormone is falling off a cliff! That's where the wrinkles come in!"
(Oz also urges viewers to use l-arginine for weight loss.)
Later, though, Oz found the ONE TRUE CURE that will keep you young, both inside and out. It will change everything you think and feel about your life. It is SHIZANDRA BERRIES.
Another wild goose chase, Oz -- thanks a lot. It's like he's turned life into a big, long scavenger hunt!
 (Thanks for reminding us.) THE CORNUCOPIA OF REMEDIES SPILLETHS OVER
And this is essential, Oz says: It has been determined that the most effective time to apply wrinkle cream is after 9:30 p.m.
Have you noticed that he has schedules for us to follow that affect almost every aspect of our lives? First, his big no-protein green drink (but didn't he also advocate 30 g. of protein within 30 minutes of rising?), a jolt of high-powered tea, a yoga pose, a pita wrap, a cup of berries, or some string cheese, or a banana burrito (?), five minutes of mindful breathing, a canned-pumpkin facial masque, two tablespoons of something (?), a lavender bath, some meditation or maybe gratitude journaling, a particular bedtime prelude (valerian, pistachios, so many surefire tips) -- it's all mapped out for us, with military precision.
Oz confides that black garlic strengthens your skin, jicama eliminates crow's feet, and Jerusalem artichoke will fade dark spots.
Maybe if you saw his wrinkles, you'd change your mind. Black garlic, according to Dr. Andrew Weil, may have a slightly higher antioxidant content, but it is basically for "foodies on the lookout for the next novelty item." It is also very expensive, he adds, recommending that we stick with good, old-fashioned garlic, which truly is a superfood, particularly when eaten raw.
Jicama, Oz explains, is good for your collagen due to its Vitamin C content. Of course, there are many superior sources of Vitamin C, but they aren't the NEW SUPERFOODS that Oz needs to hold your interest. It also has "more iron than potatoes!" which isn't saying much. Lots of foods have more iron than potatoes.
Jerusalem artichoke's effect is attributed to iron, but the iron content of beans, greens and grains is higher, and its bioavailability has been definitively established, unlike the Oz choice.)
 Jerusalem artichoke is crisp and has a nutty flavor. It's easy to grow.
CURRANTS ARE AU COURANT, BUT IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND
He recommends black currants to protect your vision from the ravages of aging, but while everyone was out trying in vain to find some, they could have simply purchased blueberries, cherries, raspberries, strawberries, purple grapes or red wine, all of which are excellent sources of the anthocyanosides that are thought to protect vision. Black currant extract also comes with a long list of precautions and contraindications, as I outlined earlier. Oz chose not to mention them.
Milk mixed with lemon juice and brandy is "an excellent, excellent wrinkle remover," he said a few days later.
But then what is really TOTALLY cool is red wine and agave nectar, because of all that resveratrol. Sagging and blotchiness will vanish!
An ancient remedy that's considered "a modern-day miracle for tighter skin and erasing wrinkles" is to mix one teaspoon of organic honey with two tablespoons of heavy whipping cream. (None of these will work -- ask your dermatologist.)
Or "try green clay mixed with rose oil to draw the toxins out of your skin." (It won't draw anything out, ask your geologist) (or your dermatologist, if he's willing to answer more than one question per appointment -- good luck with that).
Have you achieved a "flawless radiance" by applying these luscious concoctions to your face? Have your wrinkles "evaporated"? Has your skin's "youthful elasticity" been restored?
ALGAE FROM THE SEA MAKE WAVES IN WRINKLE WORLD
One of Oz's top picks for 2012 -- it's from the ocean deeps, how scintillating! -- is Sephora's Algenist Concentrated Reconstructing Serum, which "boosts production of skin's key structural proteins: elastin, collagen, and proteoglycans to rebuild firmness and tone the skin. Facial contours are redefined to create a more toned and sculpted appearance."
(Ah, Sephora. Oprah loves this firm's overhyped, overpriced, but beautiful and fragrant products. Now Oz -- what happened to the brandy, almond powder and honey? -- has embraced them as well. This is another "cosmeceutical" that has dubious benefits, to say the least.)
It contains a "never-before-seen anti-aging ingredient, alguronic acid," Oz says. The cream costs just $95 for one ounce, and takes only 10 days to work.
 It just 'makes sense' that an acid which protects algae can protect you. According to the New York Times, this product has been scientifically tested only in a petrie dish, and even those data have not been released for peer review. Apparently, research isn't as important as a romanticized, picturesque promotional strategy.
"A compelling 'story' about a product’s genesis can be just as important for generating sales as the product’s demonstrable efficacy," the Times added.
It may make sense to Allison, who gets paid to make sense of these things, but it's only a theory, dreamed up by a very unscientific marketing department.
AN EYE SHADOW THAT LASHES OUT AT CROW'S FEET
A new eyeshadow, which contains the "miraculous" macadamia oil, erases wrinkles while bringing lovely pastel shadings to your eyes.
 Oz loves cheating so much, you have to wonder about his medical degree. Other recent remedies and preventatives have included:
And don't wear antioxidant creams when you go into the sun.
But do use antioxidant creams when you're not in the sun, to reverse sun damage.
(My own "panel of experts" tells me this is all bogus.)
The soy in tofu, he claims, has been shown to increase collagen. Also, soy contains flavanoids that have been shown to decrease sun damage.
Neither effect has been documented via a topical application. If you want the benefits of tofu, eat it.
Putting a cucumber slice on your lips will moisturize them, Oz says, because it's 96 percent water. Or you could just pat some water on your lips and get a 4 percent superior effect. Neither is really a bona fide moisturizer, of course -- the benefits will evaporate within moments. You need a product such as Vaseline, Chapstick, or lipstick that will seal in the skin's natural moisture.
Topical applications of foodstuffs neither draw anything out of the skin nor put anything into it, according to research dermatologists. Oz repeatedly ignores this scientific fact.
THE FOOD GOES IN YOUR MOUTH, NOT ON YOUR FACE
One guest expert rightly said, "There's no point putting vitamins on the outside. You need to get them on the inside."
Nevertheless, Oz continues to whip up topical fruit concoctions because of the nutritional benefits that supposedly "seep" into your skin. There was the avocado, the berries, the grapes, the melon, the banana, the kiwi. He exuberantly rubbed papaya onto his face recently, mentioning its "softening" and antioxidant effects, and ate a slice as well.
 Papaya is a beautiful, flavorful and nutritious fruit. Papaya does contain an enzyme, papain, which is commonly used as a meat tenderizer, but it works by "hydrolyzing the fleshly proteins." Does that sound desirable (hydrolyze means "the breaking down of a chemical compound")? And it's not clear that we would want our faces to be tenderized -- having the fibers "broken down" -- which isn't the same thing as "soft." Being tenderized makes it easier for our skin to be sliced and chewed!
Dr. Oz consistently fails to mention such warnings when he is recommending various health and beauty strategies.
He recommends an equally useless remedy -- rubbing your face with tomatoes and sugar ("the lycopene will absorb right in there and bash wrinkles"), and this one at least won't hurt you, as long as your don't scrub too hard.
HAVE YOU TRIED 'POWER WASHING' YOUR WRINKLES AWAY?
After Oz had told us to eat our broccoli and apples and peppers and all those other common age-defying foods, he had to branch "way out" to keep us coming back for more and to keep the ratings on their upward trajectory.
'DRAGON FRUIT' REARS ITS HELPFUL HEAD
Use Irish Moss, to "eliminate dark circles under your eyes," Oz advises. (So why does he still have dark circles? Anyway, if you want to use something that's a bit more convenient, you will get high amounts of Vitamin K -- the active component of Irish Moss -- in leafy greens, such as Swiss chard, kale, parsley and spinach, broccoli and cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, liver, soybean oil and wheat bran, all of which avoid the questionable element of carrageenan in Irish Moss, which Dr. Weil says may cause ulcerations and cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.)
AN IDEA THAT MERITS AN ICY STARE
The next big thing was Black African soap (which you get from Ghana. Its secret is that it is made from plantain skins!) But maybe it's better to use olive oil soap, which "penetrates deep into the skin" (no it doesn't).
If you want more, they keep on coming -- and maybe one day, Oz will unveil a "fail-proof" remedy for aging which will actually work, and he can turn his program into the talk-show format that he's been yearning for. He wants to be the next Oprah, and I think he'd do very well in that role.
In the meantime, don't forget to chew one Acerola Cherry capsule every other day to "bring the youthful elasticity back to your skin."
OZ WOULD BE SWEETER TO ADVISE BETTER EATING HABITS
(If you have enough sugar in your system to cause wrinkles, you have more important things to worry about than your skin.)
If you do a search for chromium and wrinkles, all you'll find are references to Oz's statement; there is no corroborating evidence. Several leaps of logic, based on conflicting research, were required to make this recommendation.
It is true that a lifetime of eating excessive amounts of sugar can damage the collagen and age your skin (although, ironically, being fat seems to prevent wrinkles quite well). To reverse the damage, you need a good retinoid cream, preferably one that is prescription-strength. But the important thing -- for you skin and for your health in general -- is to slash your sugar intake, not take a pill.
To recommend the use of chromium as a wrinkle-fighter is a cavalier "take" on a very complex and still controversial aspect of our metabolism.
There are conflicting data on the effectiveness of chromium in controlling blood sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic. WebMd says its only "likely" benefit is to address chromium deficiency. Researchers are still "looking carefully" at the data to determine who might benefit from the mineral. Some experts believe that only people who are malnourished or have below-normal chromium levels should use the supplement, or have any hope of benefiting from it, WebMd adds.
"Not all studies agree, and if chromium does help reduce blood glucose, it' s not clear how big the benefit might be and who might benefit. More research is needed," according to the University of Maryland Medical School database.
There are significant contraindications and interactions pertaining to chromium. It seems prudent to lower blood sugar by eating less sugar rather than to take a supplement to clean up after one's poor dietary habits.
JUST PLAY CHINESE EMPRESS INSTEAD -- THAT'S MORE FUN
Empress Dowager Cixi kept sliced ginseng in her mouth to keep her body free of toxins, and she ate pearl powder -- yum -- to refine her skin. Pearl powder was a big deal back then, to be used both topically and internally.
TEA FOR TWO: YOUR SKIN AND YOU
PUT SOME SPICE IN YOUR STRIFE
But then he told everyone a few weeks later to use cumin and coriander in hot water to achieve the same thing. Are we all wrinkle-free yet? I don't think so! Will we ever rise up and tell Oz to cease and desist with all this hooey?
When can we start using our kitchens for cooking again, instead of spending all this time on wrinkle recipes?
Beauty problems are so embarrassing -- and so easily treated!
(Didn't he say it was the drop in growth hormone which did that? And then didn't he blame it on blood sugar? And so many other things?)
Or use a bit of Evening Primrose Oil. "It won't let you down," he said.
One of his "3 Mystery Ingredients" for a "more youthful you" is Argireline, which Oz characterizes as "a Botox alternative." It "works by inhibiting the release of neurotransmitters released by the brain that tell these facial muscles to tense."
This "remarkable cream relaxes the muscles that cause wrinkles," he says.
(So now it's muscles and neurotransmitters that are the problem! Should we still be doing the Dragon Fruit thing?)
A blog by and for pharmacists discusses the claims for Argireline, which have only been tested by scientists employed by the firm that is marketing it.
PUT A BAG OVER THAT BULKED-UP FACE
"Over the years the muscles in our face have gotten big and bulky," Konin said. "Relax the muscles and wrinkles with a cold compress of ginseng tea bag."
Are your facial muscles big and bulky? If so, I think you may need more than a teabag. A complete medical workup might be a more sensible strategy.
 Dr. Oz is such an impish, naughty boy. He loves trickery! Oz's "Anti-Aging Cheat Sheet" includes noni juice ($30 per bottle), which he says was "discovered in the farthest reaches of the globe" (actually, it was Hawaii). "It is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and can help fight the formation of wrinkles by fortifying your skin's collagen infrastructure," Oz proclaims.
But he also recommends DERMAdoctor Photodynamic Therapy Noni Lotion, which is $85 for a 30 ml container. Its marketers claim that noni somehow "specifically captures the sun's rays, then converts and emits this energy as a highly focused visible red wavelength of light...that works to firm the skin."
At last, thanks to this breakthrough product, the sun and our skin can be friends again.
Pfizer is telling Oz to just 'bag' his suggestion.
THE 'PREPARATION H' PEOPLE ARE 'HORRIFIED'
Dr. Marc Siegel, a FOX News medical contributor, told FOXNews.com that the ointment can cause uncomfortable side effects such as rashes, as well as more serious systemic problems.
Oz said he was impressed by two "cosmeceuticals" that "really cheat your age," L'Oreal Revitalift Double Lifting Treatment (yet another retinol lotion) and Brazilian Peel Professional Strength Glycolic Acid ($78 for four applications).
But if his simple yet "miraculous" homemade remedies work so well, why spend all that money on costly, chemical-filled treatments?
And why feature one segment after another on advancements in expensive, temporary cosmetic surgery -- injections, ultrasound, lasers, peels, abrasions and "lifts" -- since Oz's "wrinkle erasers from Nature" are so effective?
I would love to know how Mrs. Oz preserves her youthful beauty. Does she whip up her husband's surefire concoctions in the kitchen, or does she have another surgeon in her life?
The same dermatologist who advised women to crush the decongestant pseudoephedrine into their eye creams for an "immediate lift" nevertheless injects very expensive hyaluronic acid under her patients' eyes to address the same problem. She demonstrated on the program.
IF OZ'S 'MIRACLES' DON'T WORK, COSMETIC SURGEONS AWAIT YOU
The latest advance for facial rejuvenation a year ago was focused ultrasound (Ultherapy), but it required two to three months for the full effect to appear.
Most dismaying of all, of course, is that so much time and energy are devoted to the issue of wrinkles, which we should be encouraged to accept gracefully or ignore, and focus our energies on more important things.
STOP THE PRESSES! Toss out all those pills, potions, lotions, exotic foodstuffs and ancient remedies Oz has been enticing you to buy. ALL YOU NEED is coconut oil! Not only is it "the fat that fights fat," but it is also an unparallelled miracle for your skin (and your hair). Slather it everywhere, and watch as the wrinkles disappear and a rosy, radiant fullness flows onto your face, especially if you have given yourself a "remarkable" KITTY LITTER FACIAL beforehand. "I am astonished," Oz declares solemnly. He almost always is.
BUT THEN, HE DISCOVERED THE TRULY MIRACULOUS MIRACLE THAT WILL MIRACULUIZE YOUR SKIN FOREVER!! It was "BB Cream." Pretty boring. Now he's back to alpha-hydroxy acid lotions, which were the big thing 15 years ago. Damn that Eucerin, which seems to have pulled its commercial sponsorship of his program, along with Dove. They made it easy to decide which cream to recommend, by paying him.
The preceding article is an excerpt from Oz1, located behind the tab at the top of the page. It describes the evolution of his media empire, the elementary-school atmosphere of his TV show, and his transformation from "America's Doctor" into "America's Boyfriend" (http://kronstantinople.blogspot.com/p/oz-1.html). 
If Dr. Oz's miraculous, effort-free butt-blasting and belly-busting weight loss secrets work, why is is wife such a meaty girl? Getting rid of excess pounds isn't just for vanity, he says. FAT KILLS!
ANOTHER 'ANCIENT REMEDY' WITH A SALTY PREMISE
Oz advises that you use the Himalayan Salt Inhaler Immunity Booster if you're feeling "run down." This $30 "ancient remedy," a ceramic container filled with Himalayan salt crystals, is used as an inhaler "to calm and cleanse your airways," he says, probably quoting the package. How does it calm? How does it cleanse? (What about the Neti Pot? What about snorting garlic puree and one-nostril beathing? How do we juggle this wonderland of nasal options and still have time for our eyes, ears, noses and throats, not to mention our bellies and butts (and wrinkles!)?
The whole inhaler premise is confounding to me. How can we tell if our airways aren't "calm"? How does the inhaler moisturize our airways? Where does the moisture come from (there is no water in the inhaler)? How does the salt get into our membranes? Wouldn't salt particulates draw moisture out of our membranes rather than adding moisture?
I checked several online sites, and everyone of course -- including Amazon.com -- had sold out.
 Exotic, ancient, inscrutable -- just what we need! But Himalayan salt is pink. The salt (which is "completely pure, since it's from the Himalayas") (get real, Oz, no place is pure anymore. And do you really think the salt is from there? ) "(makes your mucus membranes) better able to clear irritants." (I wonder if Oz knows that the world-famous pashmina goats are hanging out up there, in the Kashmir region of the Himalayas, undoubtedly peeing and pooping up a storm, as they are certainly entitled to do. So much for "completely pure" salt!)  They mess up the salt, but they give us cashmere. Seems fair. Actually, a 2002 investigation by by the international nonprofit Tourist Watch and the Pakistan Holistic Health Society agreed that there are no salt mines in the Himalayas. The salt is actually mined in the Khewra mine in Pakistan, one of the largest, busiest salt mines in the world (and probably not very sanitary -- it's a big, industrial operation). The salt can contain up to 84 trace elements, some of them metals. It is unclear to me how this would benefit -- or damage -- your lungs and nasal passageways.  Himalayan salt: Is it a spiritual wonder, or just pretty? And is it true that some
of it is dyed to convey the desired magical and otherworldly radiance? "I recently reviewed the mineral content of Himalayan salt sold by several natural products companies and wholesale suppliers. I became alarmed when I saw the fluoride content at whopping 192 mg.," says a 50-year nutrition health researcher and editor of Natural Health News. "I no longer recommend it for anything except as a gourmet conversation-starter. I certainly wouldn't breathe it." Regular Oz guest Dr. Joe Mercola is peddling Himalayan salt for kitchen use, even though "the suppliers of this salt have no standard infrastructure available and we have to work through people that have no idea of how normal business operates. It has to be hauled through several countries and takes two years to get here." That doesn't sound too pure!  Mercola's 16'' x 8 '' Himalayan salt slab is $40.00. 'VIBRATIONAL ENERGIES' -- SOUNDS LIKE IT'S MANY SPLENDORED "It has vibrational energies," he adds. That doesn't sound too scientific! But it is representative of the wind-chimey, mystical benefits that are attributed to this salt by those who are trying to sell it. In fact, none of the claims for this "miracle" substance, which is used in lamps and for bathing, as well as cooking and inhaling, has been substantiated, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Medical Center. Himalayan salt, along with olive oil, has been named as one of the top ten global products that is most likely to be deceptively labeled, diluted or tainted. No health claims have been substantiated for the salt, according to a review of the literature by eHow.com, which concludes that it is yet another foodie fad. It seems that Oz would have done a bit more homework on this product and the science behind it before causing an online stampede that has yet to end. I find that irrigating my sinuses with a $1.00 turkey baster and plain old American salt works pretty well. Clean as a whistle without actually whistling. And much more thorough than a Neti pot.  When he's done, he'll be mining Himalayan salt for your inhaler.