Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Snake Venom Skin Creams: Don’t Get Bitten By the Hype!( By Leslie Baumann)

Snake Venom Skin Creams: Don’t Get Bitten By the Hype!

The latest magic ingredient to be touted as a topical Botox alternative is Syn-ake, a synthetic tri-peptide derivative that the manufacturer, Pentapharm, claims can smooth wrinkles by inhibiting muscle contractions. Over the past few years, an increasing number of beauty companies have launched products that contain Syn-ake, including Sonia Dakar, Borba and Rodial.
Syn-ake mimics the activity of a protein found in the venom of the deadly South Asian temple viper. Temple vipers paralyze their victims by injecting them with venom through their fangs, so the theory behind Syn-ake is that the same principle can be used to relax the muscles movements that cause frown lines and other facial wrinkles.
Pentapharm bases its claims on a study it conducted in which 45 subjects were divided into three groups: one used Syn-ake, one used a placebo, and one used Argireline, another peptide said to inhibit muscle movement. After 28 days of twice-daily application, the group that used Syn-ake showed a significant reduction in wrinkle depth and increase in skin smoothness when compared to the other groups.
The problem is this research has not been peer-reviewed, and, to my knowledge, the results have not been repeated by independent research. It has not been published in any reputable scientific literature which makes me doubt the scientific validity of the claims. If this product worked that well, wouldn't the company want to do a reputable study to prove it? The skin is programmed to keep proteins out and only very small molecules can be absorbed deep enough to have any effect. That's why Botox and Insulin have to be injected. Of course, there are a few exceptions, but I am not convinced that Syn-ake is one of them.
My bottom line? Save your money until better studies are done. In my opinion, without any further data Syn-ake is just a modern version of plain old-fashioned snake oil.

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