The beauty industry - which once revolved around creams and powders, subtle agents to enhance beauty - has become the anti-aging industry, overrun with steroids, human growth hormone injections, and bio-identical hormones, all promoted as cures for getting old. Acclaimed BusinessWeek science reporter Arlene Weintraub takes us inside this world, from the marketing departments of huge pharmaceutical companies to the backroom of your local pharmacy, from celebrity enthusiasts like Suzanne Somers and Oprah, to the self-medicating doctors who run chains of rejuvenation centers, all claiming that we deserve to be forever young - and promising to show us how.
Weintraub reveals the shady practices that run rampant when junk science and dubious marketing meet consumer choice. She shows the remarkable economic and cultural impact of anti-aging medicine, on the patients who partake and on the rest of us. It's not a pretty story, but Weintraub tells us everything we need to know to avoid being duped by this billion-dollar - and dangerous - hoax.
OK, I admit I've never entered the world of plastic surgery or rubbed on hormone cream. But it was fun place to visit and now I understand the weird advertising coming from compounding pharmacies. I'm going to grow old and get wrinkles, thank you.
I would call Weintraub's style mundane, pedestrian, academic and plodding. She works diligently through reams of information on the dubious business of marketing and selling synthetic hormones and any number of other elixirs and snake oils. I found the subject fascinating and profound: can we use these substances to improve our lives? How should we balance greater youth, energy and sex now against future risks? Weintraub just seems to think that people who ask these questions are bad.
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