The Science Of Anti-Aging Still Kind Of Sucks


There’s a new anti-aging cream on the market which may work better than all the others. By which we mean: slightly better than nothing at all.

According to Catherine Saint Louis of the Times, StriVectin is releasing a new cream that costs $135 and promises “More science. Less wrinkles.” The “science” refers to a special form of niacin called NIA-114 that developers claim is better than the active ingredient in creams like Retin-A because it isn’t as irritating. The first peer-reviewed study comparing creams with NIA-114 to those without is still to come, but StriVectin researcher Myron Jacobson says the ingredient “will be the dominant skin-care molecule for the next 20 years.”

So what does it do? According to Saint Louis, the stuff “makes the top layer of the epidermis thicker and improves the skin barrier’s ability to retain moisture, which can help with modest wrinkling.” One doctor says, “If you improve the skin barrier, you inherently make skin texture softer and repair fine lines, but it does not necessarily mean you’ve made new collagen.” So basically, NIA-114 might take away some smaller wrinkles, and it might not make your skin peel like Retin-A. But if you want real results, you still have to squirt stuff into your face.

The fact that the most advanced skin cream ever is still just kind of meh should be a reminder that the science of antiaging really isn’t all that impressive. Despite all the numbers and high-tech names (Pro-X!) in ads for skin creams, they really haven’t advanced all that far from good old-fashioned Pond’s. So if you’re spending $135 on moisturizer, you’re probably wasting your money. You’re going to get old someday anyway. It’s science!

Debating The Claims Behind Wrinkle Creams [NYT]

Earlier: Sick & Twisted: “Anti-Aging” & “Cosmeceutical” Ads

Image via Valua Vitaly/

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