Inexpensive wrinkle cream praised

By Meg Farris - bio | email

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WWL-TV) - Some people are describing one anti-aging product as quick, easy, inexpensive, and with no downtime. Also, it's a product that dermatologists say works.

Like most women her age, Ashley Nelson let the damaging sun rays get the best years of her fair skin. "I would go to Destin for spring break with my girlfriends. I would get burned to a crisp and then I would stay inside and my friends would spray Solarcaine on me for the rest of the week," said Ashley Nelson, a professor at Tulane University.

Doctors have long warned burns and tans cause more of what we call skin aging than birthdays.  And now at 44, Ashley wants to repair and reverse the damage. A friend told her to try Pro-X, a line of six different Oil of Olay products sold in the drug store. "I have noticed where I said the greatest reduction of wrinkles has been, mainly in my forehead area," adds Nelson.

Dermatologists are skin experts careful to recommend treatments from sound scientific evidence. They'll tell you nothing over the counter works like the well studied, FDA-approved retinoid creams and gels, those brands of prescription vitamin A creams such as Retin-A. But this time is different.

"This is probably one of the strongest non-prescription, over-the-counter, drug store products that you can get to improve the appearance of aging skin," said New Orleans dermatologist Dr. Mary P. Lupo.  "I think the thing that makes Pro-X such a big story is that it actually has multiple cosmeceuticals actives. It is a wrinkle regimen, so it's like a system that has multiple products and it has some new active ingredients," said Metairie dermatologist Dr. Patricia Farris.

The doctors say Pro-X has combined several ingredients and technologies that are scientifically known to help the skin act younger. "The combination of these three ingredients sort of work synergistically to make the line a little bit more sophisticated than anything else that is currently available over-the-counter at the drug store," adds Dr. Lupo.

Here's what Pro-X is all about.  First, three  different anti-aging peptides. "Peptides boost collagen production.  They've been shown in lots of studies to improve fine lines and wrinkles because of their ability to boost collagen production," said Dr. Farris.

Second, high levels of a type of vitamin B-3 called niacinamide.  It improves the hydration of the skin, helps keep those damaging free radicals at bay and helps keep your immune system at a stronger level to fight off skin cancer. "The rationale behind it is very sound because there is tremendous data behind niacinamide as being anti-inflammatory and barrier repair. That's got the best science," said Dr. Lupo.

Third, there's a similar ingredient to what's in those well proven anti-aging prescription retinoids like Retin-A.  It's called retinyl propionate to repair the skin. "It can help take away the brown spots. It can help stimulate new collagen. It can be used on very fine lines.  Now, it's not the same as going to get a prescription for Retin-A,  but it does offer our patients something that they can buy over the counter that's fairly easy to use," said LSU Health Sciences Center's Dr. Elizabeth McBurney, who is also a dermatologist in Slidell.

And because it's not as strong against photo aging as a prescription retinoids, more people will be able to tolerate it without the irritation. But what the doctors say is most impressive is the study that compared a regimen of three of the Pro-X creams in the line against one of those proven prescription retinoids.  "This particular system was actually tested against Renova .02% and in 8-week studies and 24-week studies, they actually demonstrated equal efficacy to Renova which as you know is sort of the gold standard in dermatology for treating photo-aged skin," said Dr. Farris.   

The study was funded by the makers of Pro-X in an independent lab and overseen by outside experts. Doctors consulted by WWL-TV say it was good science.

So the question is, if the Pro-X line is as good as the mildest prescription retinoid, should you use them both?  Some of our doctors said yes.  Use them both at night for maximum benefit.  Others say no. The highest strength prescriptions are still better. And Pro-X is a good alternative for those who can't tolerate the prescriptions.

One of the Pro-X products has a day time sunscreen. "I didn't have any redness anywhere. It just really shielded me from the sun," said Nelson.  And that's the most important anti-aging ingredient there is.

Each of the six products in the line run about $42.  The Age Repair, the Wrinkle Smoother and the Deep Wrinkle creams were the three used in the study. The line also has an eye cream that doctors say helps puffiness because there is caffeine in it.

(Editor's Note: Dr. Patricia Farris is no relation to WWL-TV medical reporter Meg Farris.)

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