Alright, this is one of those topics about “things that bug me”.  If you have ever bought some kind of fancy cosmetic or hygiene product or even watched them on commercials, you will have probably noticed one major common factor; that is, they mostly have strange and exotic ingredients.  Now, why should this be a problem?  Nothing wrong with having a little something unique right?  True, but all too often I see things (especially in skin cremes and hair care products) that claim to imbue you skin with the qualities of the ingredients.  Meaning, if they use a “soft” ingredient, it will stand to reason that you skin (or hair) will also posses these qualities post use.  And while the entire holistic market does contain a great deal of misunderstandings, as many things really do work, they will however usually have a more reasonable scientific counterpart (willow bark tea will get rid of your headaches… but it’s just easier to take an asprin… it’s the same active chemical)

But here’s my point, there really are things that can improve the smoothness of your skin, however it’s usually accomplished in one of two ways: hydration (that’s #1!!) or with oils.  Personally, I hate having a film of gunk on my skin so I stay away from most of any kind of product that claims to have smoothening properties (and sometimes you can’t avoid it… even liquid hand soap has junk in it now).  So my beef with the use of strange ingredients is that most of it is absolutely useless and just a marketing ploy.  Just look at skin cremes and shampoos!  I’ve seen stuff with everything from pearls, silk, diamond dust, gold, and various other things.  I’m sorry, but just cause pearls are smooth, it doesn’t mean that grinding them up and slathering them all over yourself will make you the same.  Hell, you could accomplish the same feat with something like gypsum or some kind of other stone dust… maybe marble (hmm, maybe I should patent that…).  And really, the best thing for your skin is to drink a bottle of water.  So yeah, every time I see one of those commercials with something else that’s “soft”, all I can think is that their next logical step is to use puppies or baby chicks.

Now, I won’t say that everything on the market is pure rubbish.  But a lot of it is.  And the more the exotic the ingredient is, usually the more expensive the product.  I’d even go so far to wager that in a side by side test, the fancy pants stuff works just as well as the cheap store brand.  Then again, something can be said for the engineering of a consumer’s expectations and experience.  That is to say, the whole “if I give you an apple and tell you it’s a peach, and you believe it’s a peach, it will taste like a peach” sort of mental thing.  We can create a lot of result from just positive thinking (not so much mind over matter, but something like that).  Isn’t that the function of a lot of alternative medicines anyways?  Tricking the body into self maintenance mode with the belief in a working placebo?

So how about that?  Is the placebo effect enough to warrant it as a genuine medical practice?  A sugar pill to invigorate the body’s natural ability to heal?  Are not many of our medicines just aides in support of our body’s own mechanics?  So maybe some of this fluffy stuff isn’t so crazy after all eh?  Well, some of it is… I can’t for the life of me understand why rhinos are still hunted for their horns (among other animals) for use as aphrodisiacs when we have a surplus of Viagra all over the place.  Heck, I get like 20 emails a day trying to get me to buy the stuff.  I wonder if the ancient Chinese would get spam scrolls for ground up horns.  Hmm…

Anyways, went off topic a bit there…  Here’s this week’s topic: