Consider Alternative Products with Care

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Consider Alternative Products with Care

Extracts from witch hazel have long been used in skin care, but probably never had anything to do with witches. The plant's name is thought to have come from the Old English verb "wice," meaning "to bend," which is a good descriptor of the plant's branches.

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In the beauty aisle and beyond, you'll find items that are sold -- and have been sold for centuries, in some cases -- as wrinkle reducers. Science is only just starting to catch up to these old wives' claims.

For example, witch hazel -- more accurately, a water-based solution made from the herb called witch hazel -- has long been applied topically in the hopes of tightening skin. Now, laboratory studies are showing that this plant has anti-inflammatory properties similar to white tea. Inflammation is part of the immune system's response to elements, such as tobacco smoke, that damage skin cells and thus lead to wrinkles. Extracts of rose and pomegranate also provided similar benefits [source: Thring et al].

If you decide to try an alternate remedy, exercise good sense. First, do some research. Make sure the treatment isn't inherently dangerous. Don't eat or drink anything not meant to be ingested, for instance, and remember that even healthful products can be harmful in large doses. Also consider cost-effectiveness. If the remedy involves an exotic product, like extract of angelica, the financial commitment can empty your wallet before you really see results.

Our next tip invokes the sports maxim that a good defense is the best offense.

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