Chris queries…I’ve seen several high end beauty lines that charge a small fortune for face creams that contain this synthetic snake venom, revered as the new Botox, sans injections. they claim it works just as well, albeit a bit slower since it requires multiple applications of the cream to see results. So my questions are: does this stuff really work? if so, how does one know how much is needed for the product to actually work? meaning is there a recognized minimum concentration needed for the claims to be true. I know that with some ingredients in creams, if they are below a certain % of the product, you are wasting your money since there’s not enough in there to do what the product claims it does.
Left Brain is venomous
We had previously written about snake venom in skin lotion because Gwyneth Paltrow supposedly was using it. Then a cosmetic raw material sales rep passed along the attached sell sheet about Syn-Ake. (A Beauty Brains commenter was kind enough to get us the link).
What is Syn-ake?
Syn-ake is an anti-wrinkle material based on a synthetic tripeptide that “mimics” the effects of a peptide found in the venom of the Temple Viper snake. It was created by Pentapharm Ltd, a Swiss based chemical company. Reportedly, they are the largest snake breeders and keepers in the world too.
What does Syn-ake do?
According to the company literature, Syn-ake acts in a manner similar to a peptide in snake venom. It supposedly blocks some receptor and keeps muscles relaxed. This is supposed to smooth out your wrinkles. The relaxation of muscles is also how Botox is supposed to work.
Does it really work?
In the chemical sell sheet, data is presented from 2 studies. The first suggests that Syn-ake can reduce muscle cell contractions in a laboratory test. That’s not in people but in a cell culture of muscle cells.
The second study shows that after 28 days of using a Syn-ake laced cream, you get a shrinkage of up to 52% of wrinkle.
That must mean something, right? Well, maybe not.
Problems with the Study
The data presented as proof that Syn-ake works raises a number of questions. For example,
- What was the placebo that Syn-ake was compared to?
- Where is the proof that Syn-ake penetrates to the lower layers of the dermis where it might possibly have an effect?
- How does the performance compare to Botox or any other anti-wrinkle treatment?
- How many subjects were tested?
- Who did the testing and was it blinded?
I could go on but there’s really no point. The data presented here is incomplete and not useful for drawing conclusions. A quick search of the medical literature revealed that there were no peer reviewed studies of this ingredient. With such thin data and such incredible claims, I remain skeptical.
Then you have to add in the Marketing speak that runs throughout their press materials. Notice they don’t claim that Syn-ake is a peptide found in snake venom. It only says that it “mimics the effect” of a peptide found in snake venom. It also says Syn-ake “acts in a manner similar to that of Waglerin 1″ (the compound in snake venom shown to block the acetylcholine receptor).
“Mimics” and “Similar to” are weasel words that cosmetic marketing companies use when they want to create the impression that two things are related even when they aren’t. You could say body wash mimics soap but that doesn’t mean they are the same thing.
The Beauty Brains bottom line
There is no credible evidence that this material works as well as Botox no matter how much you put on your wrinkles. If you want the effectiveness of Botox, save up your money for Botox. Snake venom creams just will not be as effective. And if you’re looking for an effective anti-wrinkle treatment, try out some of the products that were tested in this skin study.
Chris’ question was originally posted on the Beauty Brains forum. If you’d like to ask a question, sign up for the forum today and ask the Beauty Brains.