Fuzzy Yeti Winner: The “Beauty” Industry Is Destroying Our Society With Their Lies

fuzzyyeticrab.jpgSince this won a Fuzzy Yeti Crab (The Fuzzy) for 2006, I thought a repost was in order.
There is a great article at the San Francisco Chronicle on cosmeuceuticals and the extent people are distributing snake oil including this beauty…

At the highest end of the skin-care spectrum, Saks Fifth Avenue on Union Square sells Estee Lauder’s Re-Creation daytime and nighttime cream set (a store exclusive), which contains “deep sea water” for minerals and sells for $900.

So what are the purported effects of deep-sea water? I collected some claims from around the internet which range from plain wrong to distorted truth.


From Laura Mercier…

Deep Sea Water, found in only a few locations in the world, is located far below the surface where sunlight does not reach. The purity of the water is like that in the human body – it can penetrate cellular membranes easily and offers long-lasting hydration. Deep Sea Water enhances metabolic reaction within the skin and helps cell renewal.

Actually deep-sea water is the most abundant water on earth and is available on 75% of the globe (see this post) Pure like the human body…what? A quick trip over to Google News would make most rational people reconsider that humans are pure. The last statements are so wrong they do not even warrant a retort.

From Tayoma Council of Deep SeaWater…

While the temperature of surface seawater varies 8-30 degrees C from season to season, the deep seawater of Toyama Bay only fluctuates 2 degrees C all year round. As photosynthesis does not occur at depths where sunlight does not penetrate, inorganic nutrients are not consumed. As a result, in comparsion with surface water, deep seawater contans a high amount of inorganic nutrients including nitrogen and phosphorus, whic are consumed phytoplankton. The balance of minerals is also favorable. The amount of organic matter and bacteria in deep seawater is considerably less than in surface water. Deep seawater is extremely pure from both a chemical and microbiological standpoint.

Whatever magical properties cold water has would be quickly lost when bottling and distribution occured in ambient temperatures. The next statement I cannot comment on but I will assemble a crack team of deep-sea experts for evaulation. Whereas the amount of organic material and bacteria are higher in shallow water, this does not mean that bacteria are not present in the deep sea. Bacteria occurs in both deep water and sediments and are vital to the deep-sea ecosystem. Recent research suggests deep deep-sea sediments might contain a 10th of the earth’s biomass and a suprising amount of diversity (another abstract here). Thus, although there may be less bacteria in terms of numbers, there are at a minimum at least as many types of bacteria. Pure deep-sea water is a joke…one only has to smell the rotting, decomposing, gut renching, filthy, nastiness that characterizes mud and water samples (especially those from sulfide rich seeps and vents…yummy eggs!…and rotting whales) to know this.

And last from MaHaLo Hawaii Deep Sea Drinking Water…

Very often, bottled water is simply filtered tap water, or water from wells in municipal areas. Even most modern desalination plants use only surface sea water. Our water is taken from the deep sea currents, at depths which are protected from the contaminants that remain in surface water, such as those caused by acid rain, runoff from farming, industry, fertilizers, chemicals, etc., and contain no harmful additives such as chlorine or fluoride. Deep Sea Water contains abundant amounts of essential minerals like potassium, calcium and selenium, plus minute amounts of many of the trace elements such as iron, copper, zinc, manganese and chromium, which are missing from common surface water. These trace minerals help humans absorb the vitamins in food and pass these directly into the system. Without these trace minerals, we do not get nearly enough of the total nutrition we need from the foods we eat.

A reseracher here at MBARI actually uses DDT signals in deep-sea sediments to assess their age. Deep-sea systems are not isolated from suface processes and is is unlikely that contaminated materials would not make it there. I am checking on all the trace mineral garble.

In conclusion, deep-sea water has the same medicinal value as does shallow water…none. I have been working with deep-sea water and sediments for a few years and it has done nothing to prevent hair loss. You should only buy these products if you want the novelty of telling your friends that you experienced the “benefits” of the deep. If you still do not trust me on this, then for $50 I will send you 5 oz of deep-sea mud which is endorsed by a doctor (of course its me and I have no formal biochemical or medical training but that doesn’t matter). Instead spend your money here.

Dr. M (1633 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, created to facilitate research to address fundamental questions in evolutionary science. He has conducted deep-sea research for 11 years and published over 40 papers in the area. He has participated in dozens of expeditions taking him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses mainly on marine systems and particularly the biology of body size, biodiversity, and energy flow. He focuses often on deep-sea systems as a natural test of the consequences of energy limitation on biological systems. He is the author and chief editor of Deep-Sea News, a popular deep-sea themed blog, rated the number one ocean blog on the web and winner of numerous awards. Craig’s popular writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.





3 comments on “Fuzzy Yeti Winner: The “Beauty” Industry Is Destroying Our Society With Their Lies
  1. From Wikipedia…

    Selenium is toxic in large amounts, but trace amounts of it, forming the active center of certain enzymes, are necessary for the function of all cells in (probably) all living organisms.

    Trivalent chromium (Cr(III), or Cr3+) is required in trace amounts for sugar metabolism in humans and its deficiency may cause a disease called chromium deficiency. In contrast, hexavalent chromium is very toxic and mutagenic. Recently it was shown, that the popular dietary supplement chromium picolinate complex generates chromosome damage in hamster cells. In the United States the dietary guidelines for daily chromium uptake were lowered from 50-200

  2. Aren’t bottled water and cosmetics regulated by the FDA? If so, shouldn’t these claims be backed up research and data?

    $50 for 5 oz. of deep-sea mud is a hell of a deal! Considering the costs of acquiring that mud… So much you can do that too! Bacterial and protozoan diversity, abundance, inorganics quantification… There is a distinct dearth of literature in determining the diversity and taxonomy or protozoans in deep-sea environments!

    So do I make my check out to MBARI or Dr. McClain?

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