Women's health * Healthy living

An anti-wrinkle pill that may actually work

An anti-wrinkle cream that may actually work Activates genes

Forget Botox, facials and expensive potions – a revolutionary new pill promises to zap wrinkles from the inside.

Most remarkably, scientists say the three-a-day capsules may actually work – meaning they could spark a buying frenzy when they launch tomorrow.

Clinical studies, reports the New Scientist magazine, suggest the product, marketed as the Dove Spa Strength Within Beauty Supplement, genuinely “show[s] evidence of combating wrinkling from the deeper layers of skin.”

The results suggest that, in 14 weeks, crow’s feet became as much as 30 per cent shallower for women who took the pills, compared to no significant change for those who did not.

Examination of the dermis, the deepest skin layer, showed “significantly more fresh collagen” in some of those who received the treatment.

The wonder pill, costing £35 for a month’s supply, was created by Unilever experts, who tested the capsules on 480 post-menopausal women in the UK, France and Germany.

Using natural food extracts to improve skin tone, key to the blend are vitamins C and E, isoflavones from soya, lycopene from tomatoes and omega-3 polyunsaturated acids from fish oil.

The theory is to put back into the modern diet the ingredients that were abundant in the food of our hunter-gatherer forebears. Evidence suggests that they have “profound effects” on genes that keep tissue and organs healthy.

Unilever plans to officially launch the product next month in branches of Dove Spa, but they will go on sale on the www.dovespa.co.uk website from tomorrow.

Dr John Casey, who led the team which developed the pill, said it worked by activating 'master' genes involved in collagen synthesis, reducing wrinkles and sun damage.

He said: “We used ingredients which have been shown in the scientific literature and our own tests to combat the causes of skin ageing and kickstart old skin cells into behaving like young skin cells.

“We spent five years testing the ingredients on hundreds of women and found this combination could reduce deep wrinkles within 14 weeks. There is nothing currently on the market which can do that."

Independent experts today gave a guarded welcome to the treatment.

Christopher Griffiths, professor of dermatology at the University of Manchester, said: “They do appear to have done a pretty comprehensive study.”

Of the apparent repair of deep wrinkles, he added: “I know of no other study that has shown this before.”

However, Dr Griffiths – co-author of the 2009 clinical trials that confirmed Boots’ No7 Protect and Perfect anti-ageing cream worked - said he was reserving final judgement on the new treatment until the full findings of the trials are published and more long-term tests are carried out.

Another independent dermatologist, Edinburgh Royal Infirmary’s Richard Weller, told the New Scientist: "What matters is the clinical data, and they show there are reduced wrinkles in the treated group. I'm not aware of any [other] oral treatments that do this."

This article was published on Thu 22 September 2011

Image © markjb - Fotolia.com

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