Apr 3

Why do women keep using skin creams that don't work? Is it true that fear is more powerful than hope?

Facial Skin Moisturizers

We came across a recent article in the NY Times that quoted research which shows that women are more likely to keep using a product that was not effective.

After interviewing nearly 300 women, ages 27 to 65, who were trying to achieve a more youthful appearance by using creams, vitamins and other beauty treatments, researchers were surprised to find that women were more loyal to products and treatments when they didn’t work than when they did.

The research studied women who had used various beauty treatments in the past year including salon level anti-aging skin care, moisturizing products, vitamins, special diets, as well as medical treatments such as Botox or chemical peels.

They found that among women who felt that the treatments were not working, only 27 percent had stopped using the products; the rest said they wanted to continue using them. But among women who felt the treatments were successful, 55 percent had stopped using them.

So why would a successful beauty treatment spur more quitters than one that failed?

The researchers reason that maybe when people don’t feel good about themselves, fear is a more powerful motivator than success. In other words, when women fear looking older they are spurred to continue trying products even when they don’t work.

Because success, in this case younger-looking skin, dissipates anxiety, women stop worrying about it. Of course, similar-type research in men has shown similar results- the fear of looking bad was a more powerful motivator than the hope of looking good.

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