Natural Foods Merchandiser

Natural products provide an alternative to botox

Here are two facts according to Allergan Inc., the company that makes and markets Botox wrinkle-reduction treatment—that is, injections of a purified protein produced by the Clostridium botulinum bacterium. First, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery ranked it as the most popular of all physician-administered cosmetic procedures (surgical and nonsurgical combined) in 2002 and 2003. Second, Botox has been used to treat a million people in the United States since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved it in 2002.

That?s right—in order to look younger, a million Americans have voluntarily undergone shots of the same nerve toxin that causes botulism. Incidentally, botulinum toxin type A, the specific form used cosmetically, has been shown to be potentially beneficial for sufferers of cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, stroke, spinal cord injury, brain injury, neurodegenerative disease and even to make prosthesis use easier for amputees.

According to the Web site,, ?The botulinum toxins block the signals that would normally tell your muscles to contract. Say, for example, it attacks the muscles in your chest—this could have a profound impact on your breathing. When people die from botulism, this is often the cause—the respiratory muscles are paralyzed so it?s impossible to breathe.? Paralyzing muscles can be very effective if you wish to stop the habitual contractions that cause those nasty age-related lines called wrinkles.

Naturals companies haven?t missed the popularity of Botox and other age-defying products. If your customers aren?t interested in regular doses of nerve toxins, here are some natural options that are marketed specifically as alternatives to Botox.

The little pad that could
Frownies, adhesive pads designed to stick on the skin in problem areas, have been around in various iterations since 1889 when Margaret Kroesen developed a product called Wrinkle Eradicators. Dayton, Ohio-based B & P Co. now owns what became Frownies. Kathy Wright, current chief executive officer and general manager of B & P, says that they?re different from other facial care products in that they ?aren?t dealing with the health of the skin, they?re dealing with the shape of the muscle.?

According to the company, the facial pads work ?to gently re-educate the underlying muscles to assume their correct, relaxed and natural appearance.? Wright explains that over time, facial expressions cause the muscles to change shape and that Frownies ?attach to the skin and lift the muscles and remove sags in the muscles.?

Wright says the product ?does battle each night with what you do during the day.? She recommends Frownies be worn each night for two weeks, at which point costumers should see improvement. If they have ?really deep lines,? they may require six weeks of Frownie use to see any change.

Frownies, which Gloria Swanson wore in a scene from the 1950 movie Sunset Boulevard, continue to be called ?Hollywood?s beauty secret.? Olivia de Havilland supposedly wore them and Rene Russo recently touted them in an interview.

The creams
Wrinkle-reducing skin creams are only as good as they look. Do they actually reduce the appearance of wrinkles? Two product examples that claim clinical proof of their effectiveness are Desert Essence?s Age Reversal line and CPT Technologies? WRx line. David Pollock, Desert Essence?s director of product development and president and founder of Clinical Results, Desert Essence?s contract laboratory, says the Age Reversal line uses peptide technology that mimics the skin?s structure. Peptides are short amino acid chains; longer chains are known as proteins. The Age Reversal Face Cream boasts wrinkle reduction ?of up to 27 percent,? and Pollock claims results are nearly instantaneous. ?We created the Instant Lift and Firm Serum. It works in under 10 minutes but lasts only a day,? he says. ?Then we wanted to go further ? we created the Face Serum. Use just two or three drops and in a matter of days—I mean two or three days—you?ll see a difference to your skin.?

Christine Heathman, co-owner and vice president of CPT Technologies, says the WRx three-step ?skin nourishment? program is ?a proprietary blend of six amino acids we have found that synergistically works best in relationship to wrinkle relaxation and health for the skin.? The company claims up to 68 percent wrinkle reduction after 28 days of twice-daily application.

?Botox is a short-term fake response to aging, wrinkles and sun exposure.?
Both Pollock and Heathman say that a significant portion of customers are men. In fact, Heathman says, ?I think there are as many men as women who swear by WRx.? Industry consultant Lynea Schultz-Ela says that both pads and creams have benefits, but that both in concert may be the way to point your customers—retraining and moisturizing at the same time. ?Botox is a short-term fake response to aging, wrinkles and sun exposure,? she says. ?You can only support your skin and heal it. By injecting Botox you?re just covering [wrinkles] up.?

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVI/number 4/p. 42, 44

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