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第4册 - Unit 8, Section B - Why Are Women Afraid of Wrinkles

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When I casually mentioned to a colleague that I was looking into skin cream that claimed to beat back the destruction that comes with age, her worries poured out. A month ago, she told me, she had suddenly noticed wrinkles all over her face. Fingering her beautiful but finely-lined features, she explained that, although she knew that her discovery had more to do with the shock resulting from the sudden end of a six-year relationship than early ageing, she just had to do something about it.

Giving her the painful facts concerning her chance to renew herself, I told her I thought the claims of such miracle cures were ridiculous. Despite my remarks, however, she begged to know where she could get the treatments I had mentioned. When it comes to beauty who wants to know the truth?

Our ability to believe what we want to has, in the past, made life easy for the beauty industry. Fuelled by the immense value attached to youth, it has made millions out of vacant promises of renewing faces and bodies. To give skin care scientific authority, beauty counters have now stolen a thin covering of respectability from the hospital clinic. Sales staff in white coats 'diagnose' skin types on 'computers' and blind customers with the science of damaged molecules and DNA repair. Providing the 'drugs' for this game, the industry has created new skin therapies which, they say, don't just sit on the surface but actually interact with the cells.

Is this really just a harmless game, though? The increasingly exaggerated claims made by manufacturers about their products' ability to get rid of wrinkles have worried doctors. The advertisements declare that active ingredients stimulate cells deep in the skin's layers to divide, so replacing old cells and effectively renewing the skin.

If these claims are true, could the effects be harmful? If normal cells can be stimulated to divide, then abnormal ones could also be prompted to multiply, so causing or accelerating skin cancer. A new arrival on the anti-wrinkle front claims to be a more natural way to avoid those terrible lines. As a pill rather than a cream, Imedeen works from the inside out, providing the skin with nutritional and chemical support to encourage the body's own self-repairing process.

First developed in Scandinavia, it contains extracts of fish, marine plants, and shrimp shells, which provide a formula including proteins, minerals, and vitamins. According to a published study, visible improvements appear in the skin texture after two or three months of treatment. The skin is softer, smoother, wrinkles decrease but are not eliminated, and marks and fine brown lines disappear.

One woman admits she was doubtful until she tried Imedeen herself. Women, she believes, should take responsibility for the natural balance of their body chemistry. Careful care of the body chemistry, she says, not only improves looks but also enhances energy processes and even expands awareness and mental function. Imedeen fits this concept by providing for the skin's needs. But can shrimp shells really do the trick with wrinkles?

Offering a more scientific interpretation, Brian Newman, a British surgeon who has studied Imedeen, explains that the compound has a specific action as food is digested, preventing the destruction of essential proteins in the diet and allowing them to be absorbed in a state more easily utilized by the skin.

On the other hand, a different doctor who specializes in the study of the skin is unimpressed by the data and questions the methods used in the study. In addition, the medical journal in which the study of Imedeen is published is a 'pay' journal - one in which any studies can be published for a fee. According to the doctor, any attempt to play by the medical world's rules of research has been a failure.

Such controversy is familiar ground to Brian Newman, who used a type of oil from flowers for years before it was generally accepted. In no way discouraged, he insists the most important point to establish is that Imedeen actually works.

Ultimately, however, the real issue is why we are so afraid of wrinkles in the first place. Sadly, youth and beauty have become the currency of our society, buying popularity and opportunity. The value of age and experience is denied, and women in particular feel the threat that the visible changes of ageing bring. According to one psychological expert, when men gain a little gray hair, their appeal often increases because, for them, age implies power, success, wealth, and position. But as a woman's power is still strongly perceived to be tied up with the ability to bear children, ageing demonstrates to the world her decline, her uselessness for her primary function. Wrinkles are symbolic of the decline of her ability to reproduce.

Until we appreciate the true value of age, it is difficult to do anything but panic when the signs of it emerge. While the media continues to show men of all ages alongside young, smooth-skinned women as a vision of success, women will go on investing in pots of worthless rubbish. Let's see more mature, wrinkled women in attractive, successful, happy roles and let's see men fighting to be with them.

我无意中向同事提起我正在研究那种自称可以消除岁月痕迹的护肤霜时,她向我大吐烦恼。

她告诉我,一个月前,她突然注意到脸上布满皱纹。

她一边用手指抚摸着漂亮但有些细小纹路的面孔,一边解释说,尽管她知道这一发现主要是因为那段历时六年的感情关系突然结束给她带来了打击,而不是由于早衰,但她还是得采取些措施。

在向她说明岁月无情,要改变现实可能性不大之后,我告诉她我认为这些灵丹妙药的宣传都很荒谬。

但不管我说什么,她仍求我告诉她哪儿能做我所说的那些护理。

只要是关于美容,谁还管真相如何?

人们对自己想要信任的东西的信任使得美容业在过去容易生存。

青春有巨大的价值,这大大刺激了美容业,使其得以从它那些令我们面容、身体显得焕然一新的空洞许诺中赚了数百万元。

为了使皮肤护理科学、权威,销售美容品的柜台现已从医院诊所盗用了体面的外表。

推销人员穿着白大褂,在"电脑"上给消费者"诊断"皮肤类型,用修复受损分子和DNA这些技术来蒙蔽消费者。

美容业还给这一把戏提供"药物",创造了新的皮肤疗法,还说这种疗法并不是仅停留在表面,实际上还作用于细胞层。

但这真的只是一个无害的把戏吗?

制造商越来越夸张地宣称其产品的去皱能力,这令医生们感到担忧。

广告声称那些活性因子能刺激皮肤深层的细胞分裂,从而替换旧细胞,并有效地更新皮肤。

如果真是这样,其效果会有害吗?

如果正常的细胞可以因刺激而分裂,那么非正常的细胞也会加快繁殖,引起或加速皮肤癌的发生。

抗皱行列的一个新产品声称可以用一种更自然的方法来避免讨厌的皱纹。

那是一种叫做"伊美婷"的药丸,它不是一种外搽的护肤霜。它由内向外发挥作用,提供皮肤所需的营养和化学物质,促进人体的自身修复过程。

这一产品最初是在斯堪的纳维亚地区开发的。它含有鱼类、海洋植物、虾壳等的提取物,构成了一个包括蛋白质、矿物质和维生素在内的配方。根据一份已公开的研究,使用该疗法两三个月后皮肤肌理可看得出有所改善。

皮肤会更柔软、更光滑,皱纹虽非全部去除但会减少,斑点和细小的额上纹路也会消失。

一位女士承认自己在试用"伊美婷"之前是有怀疑的。

她认为女性有必要保持体内自然的化学平衡。

她说,小心维护好人体的化学平衡不仅能改善外貌,而且增加活力,甚至能增强意识和思维能力。

"伊美婷"通过提供皮肤所需的养分而做到了这一点。

但虾壳等物真能对皱纹产生这样的奇妙效果吗?

一位研究过"伊美婷"的英国外科医生布赖恩·纽曼提出了一个更为科学的解释。他说随着食物的消化,这种复合物会起到一种特别的作用,防止食物中的基本蛋白质被破坏,使其能以一种更易为皮肤所用的状态被吸收。

而另一方面,另一位专门从事皮肤研究的医生对这些数据不以为然,并对这一研究中所用的方法提出了质疑。

而且,发表关于"伊美婷"研究的那份医学刊物是一份"收费"刊物──任何研究结果只要交费都可发表。

据这位医生说,任何企图玩弄医学研究规律的做法都是徒劳的。

对这样的争论,布赖恩·纽曼已习以为常了。他用的一种从花中提取的油多年后才被普遍接受。

他毫不气馁,坚持说要明确的最重要的一点就是"伊美婷"的确是有效的。

但是,从根本上说,真正的问题是我们究竟为何那么害怕皱纹。

可悲的是,青春和美貌已成了我们这个社会的货币,可以买到人心和机会。

年龄和经验的价值被否定了。女性尤其会感受到因衰老而致的外在改变所带来的威胁。

据一位心理学专家说,男人通常因花白的头发而增添了魅力,因为对他们而言,年龄意味着权力、成功、财富及地位。

但由于女性的本领仍在很大程度上被看作与生儿育女密切相关,年龄增长向世人显示她的衰老,就她的首要作用而言她已无用了。

皱纹就象征着她生育能力的衰退。

除非我们能够欣赏年龄的真正价值,否则的话,当出现年老的迹象时,除了恐慌以外就很难有其他办法了。

只要媒体继续将成功的形象表现为各年龄层的男性身边伴着皮肤光滑的年轻女性,妇女们就会继续花钱去买一瓶又一瓶毫无价值的垃圾。

让我们期待更多成熟的有皱纹的妇女成为有魅力的、成功的、幸福的人,也让我们期待男士们争先恐后与她们为伴。

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