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Old 03-27-2014, 02:10 PM   #1
Potemkin
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Default Quackademic Medicine

A disturbing example of quackademic medicine at an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center

Posted by Orac on March 27, 2014

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Note: I was busy doing something last night that left me no time to compose any fresh Insolence, which will become apparent by this weekend. In the meantime, however, I’m betting quite a few of you haven’t seen this before, and those who have might want to discuss it further in a different environment.

Quackademic medicine.

I love that term, because it succinctly describes the infiltration of pseudoscientific medicine into medical academia. As I’ve said many times, I wish I had been the one to coin the phrase, but I wasn’t. To the best of my ability to determine, I first picked it up from Dr. R. W. Donnell back in 2008 and haven’t been able to find an earlier use of the term. As much as I try to give credit where credit is due, I have, however, appropriated the term “quackademic medicine” (not to mention its variants, like “quackademia”), used it, and tried my best to popularize it among supporters of science-based medicine, writing frequently about examples of how quackery has infiltrated the hallowed halls of medical academia, complete with links to medical schools that have “integrative medicine” programs and even medical schools that promoted the purely magic-based medical modalities known as reiki and homeopathy. It’s been a recurrent topic on this blog ever since, leading to a number posts on the unethical clinical trials of treatments with zero or minimal pre-trial plausibility, the degradation of the scientific basis of medicine, and the acceptance of magical thinking as a means of treating patients in all too many medical centers.

One strong candidate for quackademic ground zero, if there can be such a thing for the phenomenon like quackademic medicine, which is creeping up like so much kudzu in the cracks of the edifice of science-based medicine (SBM), is the University of Arizona. U. of A. is, of course, the home of one of the originators of the concept of quackademic medicine and one of its most famous and tireless promoters, Dr. Andrew Weil. Dr. Weil, as you might recall, has even been the driving force for creating a highly dubious “board certification” in integrative medicine. Sadly, apparently this new board certification has been so popular among physicians wanting to “integrate” a little quackery into their practices, that its first examination has been delayed from May to November 2014, so that the American Board of Physician Specialties can figure out how to accommodate the unexpectedly large number of applicants.

So what happens when a patient arrives at U. of A. for treatment? I found out last week when I received an e-mail, which led to a fairly long e-mail exchange, with a man whose son was diagnosed with leukemia and is being treated at the University of Arizona Cancer Center (UACC). Although I was given permission to use his name, I decline to do so because there is a child involved, although anyone involved in his case at U. of A. will likely quickly be able to identify who the man is. It turns out that he is a professor at U. of A. in a humanities department (which is why I’ll refer to him henceforth as the Professor, as tempted as I was to refer to him as the Real Professor, in contrast to the fake “Professor” over at a certain antivaccine website), and, even though he is not a scientist, he clearly knows how to think (which would not be surprising if you knew what department he was in). In his e-mail, he told me how appalled he was at the sorts of treatments being offered to his son:
I was appalled to discover that the center offers treatments like Reiki, Reflexology, Acupuncture, Cranial massage, etc. These treatments are advertised as “healing”–including boosting one’s immune system, complementing conventional chemotherapy etc. I wrote the the [sic] director of the center who at first expressed concern and thanked me for calling these things to her attention. She said she would convene a board of physicians to look into it. After three months went by, I wrote to her asking for an update. She told me the board was still working on it and that she was “confident they would take care of it”. I have been asking her for a timeline and she is not returning my emails.
At first I thought this was probably the pernicious influence of Andrew Weil, but I have since discovered that cancer centers around the country are offering these “treatments” including places like Sloan-Kettering. Because of this, I’ve concluded there is no point in going to the media to try to expose what’s going on.


.....

Quackademic medicine at UACC

It turns out that U. of A. does indeed offer its patients tons of “supportive” care therapies not rooted in science. A quick look at its Survivorship Care page reveals:
In collaboration with the medical and psychosocial services at The University of Arizona Cancer Center, we will work with patients to:
  • Reduce physical symptoms associated with cancer and its treatment (e.g., pain, fatigue, insomnia, etc.)
  • Manage side effects of chemotherapy and radiation with therapies such as acupuncture, botanicals, and mind-body medicine
  • Examine lifestyle factors and situations (e.g., diet, risk for undernutrition, physical activity, emotional coping skills, support network, and spirituality) that may affect symptoms and/or course of disease
  • Develop and work toward goals for health, wellness, and what is most meaningful and valuable after diagnosis, as well as during and after treatment
  • Actively participate in their health care
  • Regain a sense of control and well-being despite the diagnosis
Notice the quackademic medicine “integrated” with potentially science-based modalities for supportive care: acupuncture, botanicals, “mind-body” medicine. Note how such useless modalities like acupuncture are listed as being, in essence, co-equal with various dietary, lifestyle, and coping modalities. This is basically how quackademic medicine “rebrands” what should be science-based modalities as somehow being “alternative” or outside the mainstream. It then lumps them together with modalities that are pure quackery (acupuncture, reiki, therapeutic touch, etc.), the implication being that it’s all part of a lovely “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) package that represents the “best of both worlds.” Of course, we at SBM reject the idea that there are “two worlds,” citing the oft-repeated adage that there is no such thing as “alternative medicine.” Rather, there is medicine that has been scientifically demonstrated to work. There is medicine that has not been scientifically shown to work. There is medicine that has been shown not to work. The reason “alternative medicine” is alternative is because it falls into one of the latter two categories.



What do you call alternative medicine that’s been shown scientifically to work?

Medicine.


More: http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/20...at-an-nci-ccc/

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Old 04-03-2014, 07:11 PM   #2
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Another reason not to go near a hospital.............. I havnt been near a doctor in about 15 years

Only "dentist"
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Old 04-03-2014, 07:54 PM   #3
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This article seems to be the rants of a high priest that is horrified that people are praying directly to God. I think there are several things wrong with his position.

There is a huge amount of science that shows placebos work. Most experiments have a placebo group and there are patients receiving placebos that get well almost every time. A drug company's creative chemistry is not considered worthy unless its experimental success beats out the placebo by a few percent.

Government approved and funded medical studies almost never approve "alternative" therapies.

If cancer medicine from the orthodox doctors is so good then why are so many people so desperate to try alternatives.

The current crop of liberal despots whether in government or science, think that the "science is settled" and anyone challenging their wisdom is a heretic.
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Old 11-17-2014, 02:38 PM   #4
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Where do you get your information and who can you trust. Quackwatch is a location a lot of people take as gospel. Lets check them out quack doctors the doctors who done the Tuskegee syphilis experiment did not make it there. The surgeons who cut off both arms and legs of a woman who went it hospital to have a baby and other surgeons who cut off the wrong part did not make it either. What about the doctors who prescribe drugs that cause millions of death per year they don’t make it either. What about Dr. Farid Fata who told his patience they had cancer when they did not so he could give them chemo and make 62 million dollars he did not make it either.What about the doctors who said a package of cigarettes per day is good for you they did not make it either. What about the doctors on drug or alcohol and working in the hospital they don’t make it either.
Well who make it Doctors like Lynes Pauling who has two Nobel prizes 48 honorary doctorates because he recommended vitamin C a harmless vitamin.
Dr Burzynski has been very successful in the incurable cancers he made it.
All the people attack by quackwatch are people who are looking for alternatives to drugs for curing. The drug industry is a trillion dollar business and they will get any stooges to protect that.
Seem like if you use Big Pharma your protected even though the top selling drugs that make them millions of dollars don’t cure anything. the best they do is manage systems so you need more.
There is no law that says your doctor has to cure you even if he knows the cure. The medical system is the biggest failure of the 20th century
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Old 11-17-2014, 03:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
The medical system is the biggest failure of the 20th century.
The link below has the full data set for 1900-1998.

Life expectancy in the USA, 1900-98

men and women

Year M F

1900 46.3 48.3
1950 65.6 71.1
1998 73.8 79.5

http://demog.berkeley.edu/~andrew/1918/figure2.html

On a side note, check the data for right around 1918. WWI, Spanish Flu, both?
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Old 11-17-2014, 09:20 PM   #6
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Life expectancy increased because of food and sanitation not by medical intervention.
A quick check of the people who live the longest [ blue zones] have next to no medical.
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Old 11-17-2014, 11:29 PM   #7
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So medical research around infectious disease and nutrition are the cause for a doubling of life expectancy but it is a failure?
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Old 11-18-2014, 06:17 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Exodia View Post
So medical research around infectious disease and nutrition are the cause for a doubling of life expectancy but it is a failure?
These first outstanding advances in medicine and nutrition were not American discoveries, and actually took a long time for us to adopt. Look at today's risk of coming out of the hospital with MRSA, the average number of prescriptions Americans take, and the average American diet and tell me we have the most advanced medical system in the world?

We have the most expensive medical system in the world. I think we fall around 17th in quality throughout 1st world nations, considering mortality rates, surgeries, medications, diet, longevity. Although our top universities continue to put out incredible research which some of us follow, use, it is largely ignored in the US. S. Korea, Japan, and a dozen other countries will fund further research and develop for their own medical systems.

"Alternative" medicine is everything outside the Standard Procedures of FDA-DowPharm-Insurance Triangle. Holistic is one description, I like wholistic. Oncology treatment centers are becoming more like health spas. Providing services to lower stress goes a long way toward the ultimate goal of Healing.
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Old 11-24-2014, 12:25 PM   #9
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The main stream medical has it all backwards. Nutrition gives life and protects us and petroleum is toxic. The medical system calls nutrition alternative medicine and petroleum based drugs proper medicine. Millions of people every year get killed by prescription drugs and the system goes after raw milk and vitamins. Who is the snake oil salesman. Snake oil is something that is expensive and does not work I just described most prescription drugs as they do not cure anything.
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Old 11-25-2014, 03:05 PM   #10
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It was quackademics that gave us insurance billable maternity and birthing packages, where women could take childbirth classes, learn to breathe through for less drugs, and have the convenience of squatting the kid out in the same place where labor took place. Only by going through the packaged classes taught by people with degrees and certificates in quackademics could a woman avoid transfer to the delivery table and room where her feet go in stirrups and she must push the baby uphill for the doctors' convenience. (standard medical practice)

I am pursuing a "quackademic" degree as yet to be named. What's nice now is we grown-ups can do Designer Degrees with our pursuit of knowledge. I'm letting the doctors choose the name of my degree and what last couple of classes they'd like me to have. I know at least one dr. is going to screw me up with math. No, it won't be new age swirly crystal magic degree, but I hope for something nicer than metabolic physiology, it sounds lame.

I have a relative who goes to U.A. for cancer treatments, sent there by her regular oncologist. Yes, REGULAR oncologist, frequent treatments, chemo, surgeries, U.A. cancer center. The entire cancer racket is fear driven, emo soothing, toxic killer designed to make the Big Bucks off victims. For all their crystal twirling patient support and "cutting edge" treatments, they do not offer, allow, or speak kindly of the naturopathic therapies and treatments than can be used in conjunction with standard treatments or as successful alternatives.

What I love are the people who don't succumb to the fear manipulated upon them by oncologists. I love the energetic ladies who told the oncologist to stuff it up his nose when he told them they had 4 months to live without chemo, 2 years with chemo. 5 years later they're bouncing around town cancer free without chemo, surgery, oncologist or medical debt.

What's rather ironic is our community's "alternative" choice cancer survivors and caregivers NEVER attend Relay for Life festivities. We attend for the social activities, and I've been told to shut up and eat the Blue Cupcake.
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Old 11-25-2014, 03:31 PM   #11
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Both 'sides' have an unfortunate tendency to do a number of disservices to people. Exaggerated claims, dismissing anything not of their particular modality, insisting on 'my way or the highway' or just as bad, indulging patients in all sorts of expensive delusions.

There are no cure alls. There are some conditions that can't be helped - either a cure per se, doesn't exist or a patient is too far gone.

As with anything else, people are best served doing their own research - RESEARCH, not depending on testemonials. Look for evidence based results, check credentials... it's your health & life.
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Old 11-27-2014, 06:47 PM   #12
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The biggest problem is the ability to find the truth. For example the only people by law to treat cancer is a doctors and they have a terrible track record. The people who have a good track record can not tell you by law. When a MD does find a way to cure cancer they take is license or chase him out of the country. The FDA is very fast at chasing down people who sell raw milk or vitamins and very lacks on dangerous drugs
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Old 11-28-2014, 09:48 PM   #13
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I attribute my unusually-good-for-my-age health to avoiding Western medical treatments. Whenever a doc wants to put me on some drug for life or do an exploratory surgery, I say no and get to work researching and so far have always come up with a simple lifestyle (usually food choice) change to resolve the diagnosed problem problem instead of just covering up symptoms with expensive and side effect laden drugs.

My impression is anything scorned on Quackwatch as "quackery" is probably worth looking into because he doesn't bother scorning the things that don't work at all, only focuses on trying to get people to stop using alternatives that actually do help people restore health.

Take a look at Dr Sarno's much higher cure rate after he switched to a very alternative way of looking at the cause of many people's back pain (and other chronic pains). I tried his method on migraines and it worked. If a procedure makes a migraine go away in 10 minutes instead of most of an afternoon, where's the quackery? Just because success comes without expensive drugs? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsR4wydiIBI Of course most orthopedic doctors refuse to consider using Dr Sarno's successful method.

Last edited by LizB; 11-28-2014 at 10:45 PM.
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Old 12-02-2014, 08:32 PM   #14
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What's astonishing is the Hegelian dialectics of practicing the art medicine and what's become "alternative" and quackery. In the 1970s our old country doctor might write you a scrip for the pharmacy, but it could also be for the winery for private stock Dego Red to build your blood, or an herb garden. He also handed out Mama Mazzatti's Healthy Recipes, complete with where to buy local grown. I loved it when he told my mom, "Learn to cook and stay out of Safeway." I heard him yell at one lady he wasn't giving her any damn pills, "Eat apples!" He'd poke his finger at us tell us to go to confession, see ya Sunday morning.

That's now called "alternative" medicine even though we've made phenomenal advances in nutritional sciences since Mama Mazzatti' garlic soup.

By the late '70s our old doctors were gone replaced by pill pushers working off 1/4 mil in student debt doing rural health care. The youngest of the old doctors practicing good health was 55 and had no health care for himself, accepted a job at a health spa on the Riviera.

And so it goes, driven from America by a 1/4 million duck bites from the pill pushers running around flapping at anyone who may cut their profit, "QUACK, QUACK, QUACK!!!"
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Old 12-08-2014, 11:43 AM   #15
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Yes, carrot soup for diarhea.

Now some school kids don't even know what a real vegetable looks like raw.
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Old 12-19-2014, 07:31 PM   #16
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It seems that the quacks are the only ones curing anything while the MD just manage symptoms
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Old 12-19-2014, 07:47 PM   #17
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That depends how you define 'quack' & bear in mind that increasingly, modern medecine is urging lifestyle changes as methods of preventing illness & managing current chronic ones when they can't be cured. Here the newer crops of doctors are not prescription heavy the way many doctors were, formerly. They make it clear to patients that better lifestyle choices prevent a lot of grief down the road & rather than whip out a prescription pad, suggest better choices in diet, exercise habits & other habits.

Her in Canada where health care is tax payer funded & is grotesquely expensive, the government has no particular interest in 'protecting' the pharmaceutical industry. They'd far rather save billions & billions in health care that is NOT necessary.
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Old 12-19-2014, 11:40 PM   #18
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FWIW my great grandfather, first generation American, worked his way through medical school -- Lehigh, IIRC. Anyway, once he'd become a doctor he lived in and practiced medicine in a working class (poor) neighborhood in Philly. The front parlor of their home was the waiting room -- The dining room / second parlor was his office / examination room.

Most of his patients worked in the steel mills and related employment .. Not much money, lots of broken bones, illness due to overwork, poor nutrition and in the women, chronic problems due to the nature of almost a baby a year.

Family lore is that he was often paid in kind --- Produce, poultry, coal, eggs, whatever they had --- In one case, a traveling circus performer paid with a macaw .... No, he didn't turn it over to my nana (his wife / great grandmother) for soup, he let it live in the waiting room and per her, it spoke German.

Anyway, while he sometimes compounded simple medications, he almost always advised that whatever the illness or injury, that the patient needed to take the medication with soup........ And said to stop in the kitchen and his wife would fill up their meal bucket with soup.

She turned the produce and poultry for payment into a basic, filling soup. And filling up the lunch bucket (and that's what they were, literally -- small buckets with lids) with her soup, they could take it home and make it go further by perhaps adding water and serving it over potatoes ...

He knew that much of what he saw needed not just a splint or plaster, it needed good food, sufficient food, to help the body heal.

My grandmother scorned her father till her death, because he died fairly young (cancer, in his early 50's) and definitely poor...... He served in the Army medical corps during WWI, never turned away any person in need and likely did die a pauper. But according to his wife, my nana, he was a good man who while never one to go to church and had little time for 'Sunday Christians', felt he'd been given a gift and it was his path in life to help heal people.

IMO, good food can be your medicine, when possible, at least from a standpoint of keeping a healthy body in optimal condition - though I also think that a good doctor should be willing to see good health as a the result of getting the body and spirit, both, well nourished, neither looking down at natural practices and seeing them as a good partner with modern medications and treatments.
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Old 12-22-2014, 11:34 AM   #19
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While researching Candida I clicked on a discussion forum link that took me to a site where a really annoying woman spent 20 minutes telling me how what she was gonna tell me would change my life ... but never really got around to telling me anything of any use.

The, "Be sure to watch the entire video !" refrain should have been a giveaway ... but it's been my experience that good information can often be found in the strangest of places.

She told me she wasn't going to try to sell me anything ... then spent 10 minutes trashing the more common protocols like probiotics, enzyme therapy and bentonite clay as a big waste of money ... all the while telling me that her approach was gonna be absolutely mind-blowing.

Eventually an Order Here link popped up.
Regular Price $97.99
Today only $39.97

This was for her book which I later found on Amazon for $9.95.

Lesson learned ... quacks come in all shapes and sizes but the one thing they have in common is their hand in your pocket.

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Old 12-22-2014, 01:59 PM   #20
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That irritates me as well. You sit there waiting for 10 minutes and nothing, nothing but drivel.
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Old 12-22-2014, 02:08 PM   #21
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I go to the web site & the first thing I look for is a tab called 'research'.. NOT testimonials - research.

No research tab, forget it.
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Old 12-30-2014, 12:07 PM   #22
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I've always been into the" let food be your medicine", train of thought. It may work, as well as excercise and walking. Eat right, move and hopefully thrive.

Yesterday I was surfing the net and clicked on to one of those laughable secret solutions for aging skin. He reminded the viewers they were the priveledged few, keep it a secret, blah, blah, blah. It was so laughable, and yet people swallow these pitches and cons. I clicked off immediatly as soon as he said it was to be kept a secret. Why the heck put it on the net? When you click onto a worthwhile story, there are always these cons on the sidebars. I have never brought a product online or off the T.V. And skin creams, I buy one once in a while, use it and then ignore my skin for months till I decide another item looks interesting at the drug store at discount. I don't trust all the chemicals, even on the skin.
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Old 12-30-2014, 05:52 PM   #23
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Soo, New Years skin cure. Plain Argon oil, and coconut oil, plus a massage and pedicure. A lot cheaper than most spa cures. I'll do it for a couple of weeks and see if there is any effect. Scared myself looking at my reflextion in the computer screen, after someone flattered me shamelessly. The glow lasted all of 5 minutes till reality stared me in the face. lol.
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Old 12-30-2014, 08:09 PM   #24
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Skin lotions & potions don't really work. When they do, it's usually because they set up an irritation reaction that 'smooths out' liners by swelling the tissue in subtle fashion. The solution to great skin lies in doing all the right things when we're very young - preferably as we hit puberty. Avoid the sun, drink lots of water, no smoking, drugs or too much alcohol, no sudden weight gain or loss... Having the right genes is great too,

I'm 54 years old. I DON'T CARE! My skin is full of wrinkles, crows feet, care lines, laugh lines - pick your favourite euphemism. I've got age spots too. Skin care? I wash it & in the winter especially, I have a natural product made with vegetable oils, sea salt, very mild abrasives from natural origins & a hevenly mix of essential oils? Does it 'improve' my skin? Oh, hell no! The only real benefit comes from the vegeatbl oils - it's a nice, non-greasy concoction that prevents the skin from getting so dry that it flakes or cracks.

Even if it didn't - I love the smell of it.

The makeup & skin care agency is more than happy to take anybody's money & too many think the more expensive a product is, the better. With boomers & older into the increasingly wrinkly years & with many having a healthy chunk of disposable income & a boatload of insecurities, it's a thriving sector. Booming, if you'll excuse the pun.

Interestingly, I'm seeing an increasing number of women in my age group wearing no makeup at all. "Why should we? Men don't.", seems to be the asttitude. Many speak of the time savings, certainly the financial savings & they find as skin colour & skin tone change over the years, as well as how features 'sit' on the face, it becomes too complicated to bother. If they wear anything at all, it's a bit of lipstick & maybe a light coat of mascara. That's pretty much what I limit myself to & most of the time, I don't bother with that.
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