Cosmetics, oxygen and Kate Middleton

DISCLAIMER: Although I wish I was, I do not stand to gain anything from Karin Herzog UK. Fans of Ben Goldacre may be pleased to know that this blog contains a healthy dose of scepticism. Additionally, I have only scraped the surface in the debate.

There are probably many things that mymum and the Duchess of Cambridge have in common (such as a fondness for acertain Prince!). But one that I recently discovered was her promotion of KarinHerzog. 

My mum’s main selling point isthe oxygen in the products. They are supposedlybased on the research of Dr Paul Herzog, who died before the turn of thecentury. After he retired from being a doctor and scientist, he opened alaboratory to begin research on his lifelong belief that oxygen could bestabilised within an emulsion.

As a result, he discovered the associationbetween vitamin A and oxygen (the nature of which I don’t know, no thanks tothe plethora of vitamin supplements that flood the page on performing a Googlesearch). He discovered that the aging process was partly due to decreasingcollagen and oxygen pressures in the skin as we age. He also realised hisambition to stabilise oxygen in an emulsion and patented his new product. Aclosely-guarded secret by the family Herzog, no one has as yet been able toreplicate the method to stabilise active oxygen, a usually highly volatileelement.

Naturally, his beautician wife, Karin Herzog, applied this product toher face and had the ‘Eureka’ moment. Within a few days, her face appeared morerefreshed and had a luminescent complexion. Isn’t it strange how so manyinventions are based upon an accidental event?

On the Karin Herzog UK website thereare plenty of products with differing oxygen concentrations. The highest is 4%,only in preparations designed for the body. The face creams, targeting a moresensitive area, allow a maximum of 3% oxygen, with people of ethnic origin, thosewith acne, smokers and men recommended a maximum of 2%. The rationale behind thisis unclear to say the least. Did they base the recommendations on research?

The reasoning behind use of oxygen therapy is thatanaerobic bacteria cause a fair few problems for the skin, including acne whichis caused by Proprionibacterium acnes. Most of the products contain oxygen,vitamins to supplement the body’s supplies and water to clear the dead bacteriainto the lymphatic system. Oxygen is also heavily involved in the production ofcollagen. Additionally, the conditions said to be alleviated by the products, which contain lovely-sounding ingredients such aschocolate and fruit oils, includecellulite, acne and aging.

So that all sounds pretty promising,right? Well aside from the fact that I couldn’t find information on Herzogresearch and products anywhere other than the Herzog website, the price tagsare something to be desired. Even though I’m now earning money as opposed topaying tuition fees, price is still a huge factor in everything I buy and it’salways a bad sign when the prices aren’t displayed on the product pages. Onchoosing a random product, 2% oxygen face cream, and clicking through to theorder page, the price eventually comes up as £36 for a 50mL bottle. Yikes.

Finally, these products may not be regulated.The MHRA doesn’t regulate cosmetics yet does regulate oxygen cylinders and thelike. But do they regulate oxygen-containing cosmetics? I shall have to reportback to you. In fairness, the company provide an authenticity guarantee.

I still haven’t bought anything fromthem. If I’m being honest it’s the price more than the other problems. Maybe when I’m a band 8 hospital pharmacist!

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