Growing Younger

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Updated on Feb 08, 2012

Grade Level: 9th - 12th; Type: Consumer Science


Devise an experiment to test the effectiveness of commercial anti-aging products. The goals of this project are:

  1. To test consumer products.
  2. To assist in the marketing of anti-aging products that work, and to expose those that don't.

Research Questions:

  • Do anti-aging products really work?
  • What's the active ingredient in anti-aging creams?

People spend so much time and effort trying to look younger. Many an aging beauty longs for a Fountain of Youth. In fact, a recent internet keyword search for “anti-aging products” turned out nearly 63 million results. Marketing specialists exploit this emotional reality with thousands of commercial products “guaranteed” to make us appear younger. In this project you will examine several anti-aging creams to determine their effectiveness.


  • Computer with Internet access
  • Color printer
  • Digital camera
  • Typical office/hobby/hardware/craft supplies (paper, poster board, glue, etc.).
  • 40 adult female volunteers, each of them at least 40 years of age.

All necessary materials can be found in or around your home, at local stores, or on ebay.

Experimental Procedure:

  1. Study relevant topics (see bibliography below and terms listed above)
  2. Address all of the above terms and research questions.
  3. Search and print out interesting images relevant to your topic.
  4. Select three different brands of skin cream whose manufacturers claim it has “anti-aging” properties.
  5. Explain to each volunteer that she is agreeing to buy and use a particular skin care product for the duration of the experiment, and that she is agreeing to be photographed before and after the experiment.
  6. Photograph the face of each woman without makeup.
  7. Divide the volunteers randomly into four groups of 10. Provide a different skin cream brand to each of three groups. The fourth group is the control group.
  8. Have the volunteers use the products (as directed on the labels) for three months.
  9. Photograph the face of each woman again without makeup.
  10. Show before-and-after photos of the same woman, and ask people which photo they think “looks younger.” Do not mention anything about the photos.
  11. Carefully record all results.
  12. Analyze your findings.
  13. Include photos, diagrams, models and demonstrations in your science fair display.

Terms/Concepts: Control group; Statistical significance; Product Marketing


Judee Shipman is a Bay Area Educational Consultant and professional writer of quality educational materials. Her recent writing credits include (a popular and entertaining website about states), and a book called The Portable Chess Coach (Cardoza, 2006), currently available in stores.

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