Cosmeceutical Antiaging Myths

Published on 15/03/2015 by admin

Filed under Dermatology

Last modified 15/03/2015

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Chapter 29 Cosmeceutical Antiaging Myths

The most numerous dermatologic myths relate to cosmeceuticals and their ability to improve the appearance of facial aging. Notice that the word ‘appearance’ is always used when referring to the effects of cosmeceuticals on wrinkling. This is due to the fact that improving appearance insures that claims made regarding the cosmeceutical active are perceived as cosmetic in nature and not pharmaceutical. Claims regarding improving appearance deal with how an active alters looks and not function. Yet, there are some claims and myths that seem to continue due to their consumer and marketing appeal. These cosmeceutical antiaging myths represent the most common patient questions encountered by the practicing dermatologist.


The first cosmeceutical introduced to produce an effect on facial muscles was DMAE, which is dimethylaminoethanol. It is a releaser of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter required for muscle movement. DMAE was originally introduced as a homeopathic nutritional supplement for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and children with attention deficit disorder (ADD). The highest natural food source of DMAE is salmon, which explains the recent interest in diets incorporating several servings of the fish weekly.

The idea of using DMAE to improve the appearance of the facial skin is based on the concept that the facial skin must cover a bed of facial muscles. If the underlying muscle layer is contracted and firm, the skin has a better framework over which to lay. This may create an improved facial appearance, which is sometimes characterized by the cosmetic phrase ‘better skin tone’. The first several times that DMAE is applied a skin-tingling sensation is present; however, this disappears with continued use. It is unclear whether accommodation occurs to topical cosmeceuticals intended to alter muscle function with time.

Another group of cosmeceuticals, composed of engineered peptides, claims to interrupt the neuromuscular junction and relax facial muscles, functioning in a manner opposite to DMAE. The peptide is intended to mimic the effect of botulinum toxin.

In conclusion, much research and many clinical studies remain to be done on these cosmeceuticals designed to increase or relax facial muscle tone.


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