Women beyond a certain age (let’s say 40, but that “certain age” may start in the 30s) are often drawn to products that promise to banish wrinkles and tighten the sagging skin brought on by age and gravity. Fair enough. Even if the products don’t work, they probably can’t hurt.
Or can they?
A cursory examination of the label on the Olay Regenerist Anti-Aging Eye Roller reveals a confusing sentence in the warning section: “Avoid contact with eyes.”
To be fair, the Anti-Aging Eye Roller is not meant to be used in the eye, but it is a roller that you slide directly below the eye to tackle the problem of under-eye circles. The warning could be fleshed out a bit. Otherwise, the statements we process are “Anti-Aging Eye Roller” and “Avoid contact with eyes.”
And that makes us think, “Back away from the eye roller.” There isn’t much profit in that.
Then again, most people probably don’t read product warning labels very often, especially for relatively innocuous products. If they did, they might question things like KY Jelly’s warning not to use the product in the eyes, nose or ears. Of course, KY Jelly is used for reasons other than as a personal lubricant, but we just don’t find it reasonable to use this stuff in these areas. As one Twitter user put it, if you’re putting KY Jelly in your ear, you’re doing it wrong.
Noxzema Triple-Clean Anti-Blemish Astringent warns, “For external use only.”
Really? We need to be told not to treat blemishes INSIDE OUR BODIES? Who writes this stuff? And who tells them to write this stuff?
Vaseline petroleum jelly’s warning label tells us, “When using this product do not get into eyes.”
This is a reasonable statement. It doesn’t tell us not to use it in the eyes. It apparently doesn’t think we’re that stupid. But the sentence construction is a bit perplexing. “Do not get into eyes” is awkwardly written. “Do not get the product into eyes” would be better. Or heck, how about just “Avoid contact with eyes”? It actually works that simply when it’s not a product meant for your eyes.
Even when we do read warning labels, we tend to shrug over some pretty scary possibilities. Ibuprofen labels alert us to the possibilities of liver damage and stomach bleeding, for example, but our headaches and stiff necks prevail. They are in the now. We’ll worry about the possibility of life-threatening medical conditions another time.
Laurie S is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.