Snake venom facial, anyone? The idea might look bizarre. But because of it 'Botox-like effect,' the venom is increasingly gaining acceptance. That it is far cheaper is becoming a main attraction in these financially hard times.
A new cream is being marketed as a budget alternative to Botox. It claims it too can smooth wrinkles using the synthetic form of the poison produced by Asian temple viper snakes.
For a little more than $8.00, you can buy a tube of Lacura Wrinkle Stop, which contains a compound called Syn-Ake.
The compound mimics the snake's paralyzing venom and promises to block the nerve signals which cause facial muscles to contract.
After four weeks of applying the cream twice-daily, laboratory tests showed a reduction of wrinkles by 52 percent.
Hollywood star Gwyneth Paltrow is said to be a patron of the cream.
The new moisturiser will be stocked in Aldi stores from April 20, Telegraph reported. A spokesman said: "It offers the perfect solution for wrinkle reduction without the need for spending an excessive amount of money on expensive products and painful procedures
But it is not as if there is anything new about it. For back in 2005 a Canadian skin care company Euoko launched a new anti-aging collection featuring a synthetic tripeptide protein that mimics the activity of a protein found in Temple Viper venom.
The Louvre Collection contains a protein that mimics the activity of the venom protein Walgerlin-1. The manufacturers said that the protein was totally safe and hasdbeen clinically proven to reduce the size, depth and number of wrinkles - particularly expression lines - by relaxing facial muscles.
The formulation also contains vitamins, amino acids, plant extracts, lypolysis enhancers, hermuctants and nutritive elements, all combined in what the company describes as a 'superior delivery system,' it was then reported.
Euoko then cited third-party clinical studies that testify both the efficacy and safety of the ingredients, all of which were documented.
But many are critical. They say the data presented is incomplete and not useful for drawing conclusions.
Syn-ake is supposed to act in a manner similar to a peptide in snake venom, according to its manufacturers, the Swiss-based Pentapharm. It 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.
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.
The data presented as proof that Syn-ake works raises a number of questions, says the website Beauty Brains, run by a group of cosmetic scientists.
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?
Finally the scientists assert, "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."