Misleading the reader (who lets herself be mislead)

What I was taught while doing my doctorate, was to read a paper but skip the abstract and conclusions. The idea was to let the facts, as described by the authors, to tell you the story, and not be mislead by the ideas of the researchers.

Even when skipping the advertising, you can be mislead if the authors misstate their findings, but this is less common. In this case, the fake scientists know tat they are lying. If their findings are important, others will try to repeat the experiments, and if the results are different the fraudsters will be revealed, eventually.

In skin care, it is more common to find that bad research has gone past the editors of the journal. Let’s not speculate as why this happened in the case I will tell you about and just state the facts.

Taub A, Bucay V, Keller G, Williams J, Mehregan D.  (2018) Multi-Center, Double-Blind, Vehicle-Controlled Clinical Trial of an Alpha and Beta Defensin-Containing Anti-Aging Skin Care Regimen With Clinical, Histopathologic, Immunohistochemical, Photographic, and Ultrasound Evaluation. J Drugs Dermatol. 2018 Apr 1;17(4):426-441.

The title sounds “super duper” scientific. But when you read the results, the whole thing melts down.

Why? Because the “Alpha and Beta Defensin-Containing Anti-Aging Skin Care Regimen” contains two proteins, Alpha-Defensin 5, Beta-Defensin 3, PLUS the kitchen sink!

The whole thing is an exercise in futility. If you want to find out what, say, ingredient A does to the skin, you prepare a treatment containing A, plus a placebo without A. You compare A vs. No A.

In this case, it seems that the authors never learn about what an experiment is supposed to be. The treatment contained the following: proteases (in a mask), a cream containing epidermal growth factor, niacinamide, phospholipids, antioxidants, CoQ10, vitamin E plus other vitamins, and the two “magic” peptides. On top of these, there was also a serum containing epidermal growth factor, niacinamide, phospholipids, CoQ10, amino acids plus the two miracle proteins.  The control? carriers without epidermal growth factor, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, vitamins, etc etc.

Authors’ conclusions? The miracle proteins will turn upside down the world of skin care!

And there you are. If you spend money in this treatment, the joke is on you!









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