Bonbons for Acne?
If your concept of the ideal way to fight acne is lying on the sofa eating bonbons, then Frutels sounds like the product for you. Frutels has launched a line of edible cosmetics including a chocolate bonbon that is designed to fight acne.
The makers of Frutels tell us that their chocolate bonbons stop acne before it starts with a vitamin-rich formula designed to fight hormones, stress, and dietary excess. Unlike vitamin capsules and vitamin pills that are hard for the body to digest and that deliver nutrients hit-or-miss in the lower digestive tract, the nutrients in Frutels are carefully mixed with antioxidant-rich dark chocolate. They are sugar-free, 100% vegetarian, suitable for people who keep kosher or hallal, and contain no artificial ingredients.
A “majority” of people who use the product, the Frutels people tell us, see their acne clear up when they start eating the bonbons. The worse your acne, the more chocolate you eat, 1 or 2 Frutels a day if you have mild acne, 3 or 4 Frutels a day if you have moderate acne, and 5 Frutels a day or more if you have severe acne.
But do the claims for Frutels really hold up?
First of all, dark chocolate really does cause acne in some people. It’s not the fat in dark chocolate that’s the culprit, it’s the theobromine, the chemical that makes you say “ahhhhh” when you eat chocolate. It’s more than a little surprising that even a sugar-free version of dark chocolate would not have this side effects.
And then there is the matter of those vitamins and minerals that are in Frutels. Each Frutels contains calcium, iron, and magnesium, but less than 1/10 of 1% of your RDA.
Each Frutels also contains a little fiber, about 6/10 of a gram, and a lot of vitamin C, E, B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (biotin), and B12 (cyanocobalamin). Just a single bonbon provides 80% of a day’s supply of vitamin C, 90% of day’s supply of vitamin E, and up to 440% of some of the B vitamins.
The problem is, that’s not necessarily a good thing. Getting more than 100 IU of vitamin E a day (the equivalent of four Frutels) can actually increase sebum production. Eating two bonbons at the same time would give you what the US Food and Drug Administration considers to be an unsafe, excessively large dose of potassium. And that “natural” sweetener isn’t stevia. It’s a synthetic sugar alcohol that can give you gas and also play havoc with your blood sugar levels, but only the day after you eat the product, so it’s harder to track down the cause of high blood sugars.
The makers of Frutels also claim that their bonbons won’t bleach or burn your skin. That’s most certainly true.
Frutels, however, are just one of many new lines of edible cosmetics. The New York Times recently ran a story on a $38 edible cosmetic called Beauty Booster.
Currently available on QVC, Beauty Booster is the creation of Australian makeup maven Sue Devitt and nutrition expert Tanya Zuckerbrot. Devitt, famous for seaweed-foundation makeup and voluptuous eye shadows, has consulted to Jennifer Lopez and Sarah Jessica Parker. Zuckerbrot is the official nutritionist for the Miss Universe Organization. They designed Beauty Booster as a beauty product you don’t brush, spread, or massage on your face. Instead, you add drops of Beauty Booster into other healthy foods.
What’s in Beauty Booster? Ms. Devitt says that she got the idea for Beauty Booster when she noticed that her skin was even more beautiful than usual when she ate raspberries and goji berries at a friend’s farm. The antioxidant elixir can be drizzled over yogurt or mixed into a smoothie without adding calories. It’s intended, however, to be used with the company’s Io eye, face, and neck creams.
There aren’t any antioxidants in Beauty Booster than can actually make acne worse. There just aren’t any antioxidants in Beauty Booster than can make acne better. If you like the flavor of raspberries, we suggest that an actual raspberry might be tastier and a lot less expensive.
Frutels and Beauty Booster are hardly alone in the market. There are also:
- Nimble, the first nutrition bar advertised as a skin nourishing,
- Deo, a rose petal candy from Bulgaria, which promises to release rose scent through your skin,
- Imedeen tan optimizer (currently not available in the United States), which promises a deeper tan with less time in the sun, and
- Sunlover, a tanning pill from Brazil.
Many edible cosmetics contain ingredients that only the most adventurous gourmet would consider eating, such as dehydrated pork placenta (which is not, we hasten to point out, in any of the products mentioned above). There are even edible beauty products from China that contain dehydrated human placenta—which one has to question from the standpoints of both ethics and sanitation. There are even beauty beverages you can take to wash down your beauty edibles:
- Crystal Light’s Skin Essentials,
- Herbasway’s Beauty Drink, and
- Votre Vu’s SnapDragon Beauty Beverage,
Not to mention the four SkinBalance beverages promoted by post-Ashton Kutcher Demi Moore boyfriend Vincent Borba.
Acne care products and skin care products are good business. The total market for skin care products has proven to be recession-proof. Driven by aging baby boomers’ insatiable urge to turn back the clock and celebrity endorsements, the cosmetics market in the US alone is expected to continue growing at a rate of 6% per year to hit $8.5 billion annually by 2015.
Edible cosmetics can be great fun. Most of them won’t do you any harm, as long as they aren’t loaded with vitamin E and sugar alcohols and they don’t contain exotic ingredients that make most people gag. And, of course, you don’t give up acne skin routines that really work for fad products that don’t. For day to day acne care, we still recommend cleansing, exfoliation, and bacterial control, especially with that old standby Exposed Skin Care.
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