Is bee venom a good anti-aging ingredient? Episode 163

Is bee venom a good anti-aging ingredient?

Monika asks…Korean Bee Venom essence but it does seem to work. My question is the bee venom really magic or is there something else that removes the spots?

RS: Thanks Monika…this gives me the perfect excuse time to remind listeners to go back to Episode 105 and listen to the story about how Perry got stung in the eye by a bee. If nothing else, just go the webpage and check out the picture of his face. It’s horrific. I’m not kidding. But let’s put my personal revulsion aside and try to figure out why this product seemed to work on Monika’s acne.

PR: We found a study published in the Journal of Integrative Medicine titled “Effects of cosmetics containing purified honeybee (Apis mellifera L.) venom on acne vulgaris.” The researchers did testing in the lab and found that bee venom can kill p acne which is the bacteria that is a contributing cause of zits. Then they did a study on real people and found that a significant decrease in inflammatory and noninflammatory acne lesions. The P value was only 0.027 which is not very statistically sound but at least there’s a reasonable chance this really works on acne.

RS: BTW, the product also contains azelaic acid and willow bark extract which is a natural source of salicylic acid. Both of these acids are drugs that are proven help acne so they could be responsible for the improvement you saw. But this raised the larger question about the trend of using bee venom in beauty products, specifically in anti-aging products.

Anyway, is bee venom a good skin care ingredient?

PR: As always when looking at functionality of cosmetic ingredients we try to answer the 3 Kligman questions.

RS: Does it penetrate? Sure it does…when you get stung by a bee. But I couldn’t find any clear evidence that it penetrates when applied topically. There are studies on bee venom as wound healing agent but of course open wounds are NOT the same as healthy intact skin. So that doesn’t tell us much. We can infer it penetrates based on some of the efficacy studies we’ll discuss in a moment but it certainly is not a clear cut YES.

PR: Is there a mechanism to describe how bee venom could theoretically reduce wrinkles or improve the appearance of your skin in any way? Again, this is murky at best. Bee venom does have some anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties and it’s been used for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and even cancer. But this has little to do with skin. Apparently it has some some antimicrobial properties which could make it beneficial for certain skin conditions. We did find a study done in vitro showing it can decrease the formation of a type II collagen (which is how it helps treat arthritis). Melittin is the majority chemical found in bee venom is SAID TO increase/boost collagen production. But we couldn’t find anything explaining how it could do this or how it could reduce their degradation which is what you’d expect in an anti-wrinkle product.

RS: Okay then, what about the third (and most important) Kligman question: Is there evidence that bee venom reduces wrinkles when applied to real people? Well, there’s some evidence but I wouldn’t call it very good. I thought we had hit the jackpot when we found the study “The beneficial effects of honeybee-venom serum on facial wrinkles in humans.” I mean how much more on point could you ask for, than that?

PR: Here’s what they did: First they got some bee venom. That in itself is not an insignificant task. Here’s how the facial study paper described it…”the bee-venom collector was placed on the hive, and the bees were given enough electric shocks to cause them to sting a glass plate, from which dried bee venom was later scraped off. The collected venom was diluted in cold sterile water and then centrifuged at 10,000 g for 5 minutes at 4°C. Purified bee venom was then freeze-dried and refrigerated at 4°C for later use. They took the bee venom and formulated it into a serum at 0.006%. There was no discussion of what else was in this serum. Which, by the way, is kind of important.

RS: Next they recruited 22 women ages 30 to 49 and asked them to apply this serum to their faces twice daily for 12 weeks. The researchers did a clinical evaluation before the test and at 4, 8 and 12 weeks. Here’s what they found: The average visual grade of all patients significantly improved with the bee-venom serum treatment: 6.64% at 8 weeks (P=0.002) and almost 12% at 12 weeks. (P=0.0003) I don’t even know what that means. They also directly measured wrinkles using a couple different techniques, one was total wrinkle count. Results showed that total wrinkles went from about 104 initially to about 100 after 12 weeks. Plus or minus 32. Huh? There were similarly confusing results for wrinkle depth and total wrinkle area.

PR: Even if these numbers showed a conclusive reduction in wrinkles the data would still be suspect because the study was done with out a proper control. The product is just tested against nothing so we don’t know if some other factor cause the change or if other ingredients in the serum moisturized skin and therefore provided a modest reduction in wrinkles. There’s just no way to know.

RS: So what’s the bottom line? There seems to be a CHANCE bee venom may be helpful in treating acne, but we have data showing how it compares to conventional treatment like sal acid or B.P. There seems to be even less evidence that bee venom has any reliable anti-aging properties. By the way, thanks you Paige DeGarmo for providing much of the research we used in answering this question.

Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence 

Snail Secretion Filtrate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glycerin, Arbutin, Human Ogliopeptide-1, Bee Venom, Plantago Asiatica Extract, Laminana Digita Extract, Dios Pyros Kaki Leaf Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Ulmus Campestris (Elm) Extract, Bacilus Ferment, Azelaic Acid, Althaea Rosea Flower Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Butylene Glycol, Beta-Glucan, Betaine, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Cross Polymer, Adenosine, Panthenol, Allantoin, Zanthoxylum Piperitum Fruit Extract, Usnea Barbata (Lichen) Extract, Pulsatilla Koreana Extract, Arginine


Is dandruff shampoo good for your face?

Vanessa asks…I just saw a video of someone saying she uses Nizoral dandruff shampoo as a face mask or face cleanser for clearing tiny bumps on her face. Would this really work?

RS: This is one of those practices that sounds like an urban myth..I was ready to call B.S. on this one. Until we did a little digging.

PR: First, a little background on Nizoral. The active ingredient in that formula that stops dandruff is an anti fungal agent called ketoconazole. It kills the fungus that causes dandruff. That’s unlike most dandruff shampoos, like Head and Shoulders, that use zinc pyrithione. Did Nizoral get an NDA?

RS: Second, let’s talk about face bumps. It’s like a fist bump but done with your face. What causes face bumps?

PR: Of course there is acne but that condition is caused by bacteria (among other factors) not related to fungus.

RS: There’s Milia which is a skin condition characterized by small white bumps. These are typically keratin-filled cysts that are harmless. Milia is extremely common in infants (but adults get it too) and it’s believed to be caused by oil producing glands in your skin that are not fully developed. But they have nothing to do with fungus.

RS: What about razor bumps? No, those are caused by ingrown hairs, not fungi.

PR: BUT…there is a condition called “Pityrosporum folliculitis” which is caused by a yeast that can colonize the hair follicles and cause itchy, acne like bumps.

RS: I believe it’s pronounced “Pity the forum you like to eat us”

RS: It’s not TYPICALLY found on your face…most commonly found in what is called “the cape distribution.” I had never heard that term but it refers to the upper chest and upper back. Which is wear a cape would contact your skin. The bumps are said to be pinhead sized and uniform.

PR: Everyone has this yeast but in some cases it can grow like crazy. Contributing factors including applying greasy ingredients, like coconut oil, to your skin and wearing tight clothing that doesn’t breath.

RS: Which is why all the best dressed superheroes only wear capes made from cotton.

PR: Why are we spending so much time discussing this condition? Because this particular kind of yeast can be killed by ketoconazole. And that brings us back to Nizoral. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, washing your face with Nizoral weekly can get rid of face bumps. The best practice is to apply it to your face and leave it on for about 10 minutes before rinsing it off. However, you should be aware that treatment with ketoconazole doesn’t always work.

RS: So the bottom line it that IF your face bumps are caused by “Pliny thesaurus, come and fight us” then washing your face with a dandruff shampoo containing ketoconazole MIGHT help. But if some other condition is the cause then you’re totally wasting your time. In that case, consult a dermatologist.


Is dry conditioner the next dry shampoo?

Melissa Mary asks…Have you seen some of the dry conditioner formulas lately? They seem to be sold in specialty beauty stores like Ulta and Sephora. I’m not sure if they’ve made their way to drugstores yet. Are they essentially just shine sprays? Would they work well with dry shampoo?

RS: Dry Shampoos have been popular for several years now. In fact, we worked on the first successful mass market dry shampoo, Tresemme Fresh Start.

PR: But we weren’t familiar with dry conditioners until now. Melissa Mary provided a link to a couple of example products. One is from Amika and it’s an alcohol based spray with some silicone and cationic type conditioning agents.

RS: The other is Drybar’s Detox Dry Conditioner I can’t figure it out. According to a Sephora website it’s a very light light aerosol spray that you apply to dry hair. But the ingredient list they provide must be wrong because it looks exactly like a conventional rinse out conditioner with fatty alcohol, silicones, and quats. It could even be a No Poo Spray (although that sounds like some sort of aerosol laxative.) Regardless, this kind of product couldn’t be sprayed in the way shown in the video. So I’m guessing the ingredient list is wrong.

PR: We can tell you, though, that these products appear to be more conditioning than a shine spray because shine sprays are pretty much just pure silicone. Typically Cyclomethicone is used because it evaporates and it’s paired with something like dimethicone which gives good shine.

RS: But I still don’t understand the point of these products. I don’t really see how these would work with a dry shampoo, though, because dry shampoos leave a powder in your hair. Would you really put another leave in product on after that? Or do you use them instead of a dry shampoo in which case you’re applying them to dirty hair which is just going to make it weighed down? It makes no sense! We’ll post the ingredients in the show notes.

Amika spray:
Butane, SD Alcohol 40-B, Propane, Diisopropyl Adipate, Peg-8 Dimethicone, Panthenol, Butylene glycol, Quaternium-91, Cetrimonium Methosulfate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Fragrance, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Extract, Water.

Drybar spray:
Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Cyclopentasiloxane, Isododecane, Cyperus Esculentus Root Oil, Prunus Insititia Seed Oil, Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed) Extract, Citrus Junos Peel Extract, Keratin, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Caesalpinia Spinosa Gum, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-3, Hydrogenated Coco-Glycerides, Rhodiola Rosea Root Extract, Cystine Bis-PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Jojoba Esters, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tocopherol, Trifolium Pratense (Clover) Flower Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Panthenol, Sodium Nitrate, Inulin Lauryl Carbamate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Dextran, Caprylyl Glycol, Parfum (Fragrance), Stearamine Oxide, Methoxy PEG/PPG-7/3 Aminopropyl Dimethicone, Glycerin, Amodimethicone, Cetrimonium Chloride, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Silicone Quaternium-22, Isopropyl Alcohol, Quaternium-80, Dimethiconol, PPG-3 Myristyl Ether, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Octyldodecanol, Octocrylene, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-di-t-butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Quaternium-95, BHT, Butylene Glycol, Propanediol, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Sodium Chloride, Dehydroacetic Acid, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide, Potassium Sorbate, Benzyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Citric Acid, Sorbic Acid, Tetrasodium EDTA, Disodium EDTA, Sucrose Laurate, Glyoxal, Benzoic Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Methylisothiazolinone, Linalool.

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iTunes reviews

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