A dermatologist recently said that the worst thing a woman could buy is a magnifying mirror. You know the kind. The kind of mirrors we use to pluck our eyebrows and that quickly become the unkind mirrors that highlight every blemish, bump, scar or God forbid, wrinkle.

Wrinkles are caused by our skins exposure to the sun, time, gravity and genetics. Sometimes we crinkle our own skin by smoking. As we age, our skin gets thinner, drier, less elastic and less firm. Wrinkles are maps of our lives detailing every smile, laugh, worry and frown. However, wrinkles are a natural part of our facial history. But if you don’t want your facial past hanging out for all the world to see, then fortunately there are options. Botox is one viable alternative, and now thanks to a combination of serendipity and scientific breakthrough, there is a new product on the market called StriVectin-SD™.

According to Klein-Becker™, StriVectin’s exclusive distributor in Salt City, Utah, women are buying the stretch mark reducing cream and using it as an anti-wrinkle cream was "dumb luck," says Gina Gay, spokesperson for the firm. "When we first handed out samples of the StriVectin formula to employees and customers as part of our market research, the sample tubes were simply marked 'topical cream' with the lot number underneath," Ms. Gay explains. "As the samples were passed to friends and family, the message became a little muddled and some people used this 'topical cream' as a facial moisturizer.”

Shortly after Klein Becker’s discovery, clinical study data detailing the wrinkle reducing properties of a patented oglio-peptide (called Pal-KTTKS) versus retinal, vitamin C and a placebo was presented at the 20th World Congress of Dermatology in Paris France in July of 2002. The subjects who applied the cream once a day for 2 months, and then twice a day for the next 2 months had ‘significant improvement’ in wrinkle depth, length, wrinkle volume, and skin roughness. It turns out that the oglio-peptide is a key active ingredient in the StriVectin cream.

Even better, at the 2-month halfway point, the peptide solution thickened skin nearly 1.5 times faster than retinol. Further results confirmed that the solution’s effectiveness also exceeded both C and the placebo. The directions for StriVectin-SD™ are clear and easy to follow; However, there is an explicit warning that it is not to be used by pregnant or nursing women or for those under 18 years of age. Also, consult your healthcare provider before using this product. Be sure to test the topical cream on a small area of your forearm. If an extreme rash or redness occurs then discontinue use and call Klein-Becker’s customer service department at 1-800-898-5153.

While some women are seeing results, there are others who are not. For these women, Stri-Vectin didn’t work as a stretch mark cream, much less a wrinkle reducing topical. Until Stri-Vectin, however, BOTOX® injection treatments for eliminating wrinkles, crow’s feet and forehead lines were the latest discovery in the anti-wrinkle arsenal.

BOTOX® treatments involve the injection of small quantities of the chemical formulation of Botulinum Toxin type A into the tiny facial muscles that lie under the skin. The targeted wrinkles are caused by contractions of the delicate underlying facial muscles every time we smile, laugh, or frown. The more emotions we show, the deeper these wrinkles and lines tend to be. The injection blocks impulses from the nerve to the facial muscles that are related to these lines. After treatment, the overlying skin remains smooth and unwrinkled while the untreated facial muscles contract in a normal fashion, allowing normal facial expression to be unaffected. The treatment lasts for 3 to 4 months, after which, another BOTOX® injection is needed.

Dr. Nathalie Chevreau, Director of Women's Health at Salt Lake City based Basic Research®, explains, "Many researchers believe less invasive cosmetic alternatives are more effective than BOTOX®. That's because 'cosmeceutical' creams and gels offer gradual, continual results, while the effects of BOTOX® wear off within a few months.

"On the other hand," Dr. Chevreau continues, "the cumulative effects of using a topical cream product become more noticeable every day, and ultimately last longer than Botox.®"

At $99.00 for a 6 oz. tube of StriVectin-SD™ and a minimum of $500 for BOTOX® treatments; depending on the targeted area, the anti-wrinkle battle is not for the slim-of-wallet. While wrinkle reduction treatments are not something I choose, (ask me in 20 years), I like choices: To wrinkle or not to wrinkle. That’s what choice is. Choosing includes not succumbing to cultural biases that women must look young at all costs. It also means that if you have the resources and desire to go the Stri-Vectin or Botox® route, then by all means GO GIRL!



© Melt Magazine 2003