10 Most Overhyped Health Products on the Market

May 7, 2012
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hand sanitizer

The notoriously ubiquitous “hand sanitizer”

 

 

hand sanitizer

The notoriously ubiquitous “hand sanitizer”

Health products are notorious for making bold claims that are often bold-faced lies, but it doesn’t take much for a person to get swept up in the hype of these popular products. Effective marketing strategies, like customer testimonials and word of mouth, help spread the hype and increase sales, but is it well deserved? So many of the health products we’ve come to trust and love have proven to be, well, pointless, and they may end up costing you more money and worries in the long run. Check out the 10 most overhyped health products on the market.

  1. Multivitamins

    Did you take your vitamins today? Are you pregnant? Do you have a vitamin deficiency? Those who fall into one of these categories may benefit more from taking a multivitamin versus a healthy person with a well-balanced diet. The truth is we don’t know a whole lot about multivitamin supplements, but we do know that they aren’t miracle pills. Multivitamins are extremely overhyped and may not be worth your money in the long run. Experts agree that it’s far better to get your daily intake of vitamins and minerals through food, but if your diet isn’t balanced, taking a multivitamin may not be a bad choice. Just know that multivitamins may not prevent you from having a heart attack or getting cancer, and they sure don’t replace the need for exercise and a healthy diet.

  2. Antibacterial soap

    Antibacterial soap is overhyped and overused every day. You can’t walk through the grocery store anymore without seeing “antibacterial” written on almost every single soap product, but what most people don’t know is that this war against germs could actually be more harmful than good. First off, not all bacteria is bad. No matter how often or how hard you scrub your hands and body, you’ll never be able to get rid of all the bacteria living on your body because we are constantly coming into contact with these microorganisms. The good bacteria that live on our skin protect our immune system and help fight off infections. When you strip yourself of bacteria with antibacterial soap, you may be killing the good germs that actually serve to keep you healthy. Use of antibacterial soaps may be necessary in several cases, such as in hospitals, schools, and close-quartered living environments like dormitories and shelters. But the average healthy person can simply use mild, non-antibacterial soap and water to safely wash their hands.

  3. Scented feminine products

    Ladies, think you smell down there? Chances are it’s all in your head. Just like Listerine coined the term “halitosis” to sound like a medical condition for bad breath, feminine hygiene companies have adopted a similar marketing strategy to sell their overhyped and mostly unnecessary products. They feed off of women’s insecurities about their vaginal hygiene and odor by selling scented feminine products, like perfumed tampons, sprays, powders, wipes, and douches. As great as it sounds to smell like flowers all day long, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists strongly warns against using scented feminine products because the vagina’s naturally acidic environment is generally enough to clean itself. Washing with mild soap and water, or water alone, are all most women need to do to stay fresh and healthy. Using scented products and douches can actually increase your chances of infection and irritation.

  4. Breath-freshening mouthwash

    No one will argue that having minty fresh breath is nice, but if you’re a healthy individual who brushes and flosses your teeth every day, then mouthwash may not be necessary. Swishing mouthwash might give you added protection against plaque and gingivitis, but, for the most part, it simply freshens your breath. If you have persistent bad breath, you may have a bigger problem lurking such as gum disease, tooth decay, or diabetes. Unless your dentist recommends a mouthwash or prescribes one for your cleaning routine, you can probably get by fine without one.

  5. Nasal irrigation devices

    Those suffering from sinusitis, allergies, and colds might turn to their trusty neti pot or squeeze bottle to flush their nasal passages and relieve their chronic symptoms. Although the practice of nasal cleansing has been around for centuries, these modern-day products are not free from dangers and negative side effects. In 2011, two people died from encephalitis caused by an infection with brain-eating amoebas after using neti pots that contained contaminated tap water. The microbe, Naegleria fowleri, is common in lakes, rivers, and hot springs, and may also be found in drinking water. It’s now strongly advised that people use distilled or filtered water for their nasal irrigation device and clean them thoroughly to kill potential amoebas.

eye drops

Getting the red out…but do you need to?

  1. Redness-reducing eye drops

    Redness-reducing eye drops might make your eyes temporarily whiter and brighter, but overuse of these often addicting eye drops can become problematic. Dryness and irritation are common side effects of overuse of decongestant eye drops, and it is often this very reaction that causes people to misuse and depend on these eye drops more. Not to mention, redness-reducing eye drops may be masking a bigger problem than just red eyes. You might actually have an infection, severe dryness, or irritation from allergies or other environmental elements.

  2. Toothbrush sanitizers

    There’s no doubt about it, toothbrushes do contain bacteria, but that doesn’t mean that using an expensive toothbrush sanitizer will make your toothbrush any cleaner or safer. In fact, according to the American Dental Association, there is no clinical evidence that supports the notion that using a commercial toothbrush sanitizer is better for you than letting your toothbrush air dry. Instead, the ADA recommends thoroughly rinsing your toothbrush with tap water and storing it in an upright position to air dry.

  3. Facial toner

    Facial toners might be advocated by aestheticians and cosmetic specialists for an optimal skin care routine, but this extra step is not as necessary as you may think. Facial toners can restore the pH of the skin and help increase the absorption of products, but they might be too harsh for certain skin types and end up being a big waste of money. Toner is an added perk in most skin care regimens, but it’s not as essential as cleansing and moisturizing. Most people can get by without a toner, especially if you wash your face with a gentle cleanser that does not alter the pH of your skin.

  4. Hand sanitizer

    Hand sanitizer has made a huge difference in the way we keep our hands clean and prevent the spread of bacteria. Despite the convenience and hygiene benefits of using hand sanitizer, there are some notable downsides to overusing the disinfecting gel. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are the most effective at killing bacteria, fungi, and some viruses on hands, but they have been known to cause dry skin and irritation. Those who experience this problem might opt for non-alcohol hand sanitizers that use other germ-killing agents, but these products are prone to contamination without the presence of an in-solution preservative like alcohol and may be associated with antibiotic resistance. Although hand sanitizer is a fine alternative to regular hand washing, it may come with some unpleasant side effects and should be used sparingly.

  5. Cold prevention remedies

    Cold prevention remedies like zinc-based nasal sprays and vitamin C powders might seem like a good idea in theory, but there’s little clinical evidence to back up the claims that these products actually work. You can spend hundreds of dollars on cold prevention meds, supplements, and herbs that may or may not be effective, but experts say your best preventative is to wash your hands, sanitize your belongings, and don’t share things with someone who is sick.

    by the Staff Writers of Insurancequotes.org (thanks to Liz Nutt for sending this to us)

    Posted on their blog on 4/11/2012

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