Does StriVectin Work?

Vilma Ruddock
woman applying face cream

Determining whether StriVectin® products are effective is an important first step in deciding whether these products are right for you. Similar to many other companies with an array anti-wrinkle ingredients and products, StriVectin® offers no clinical studies to prove its claim that its products can "transform" skin. However, you can get a sense of the effectiveness of StriVectin® by examining its ingredients.

Not Endorsed by Doctors

StriVectin® is one of the numerous cosmeceutical skin care products that manufacturers claim can penetrate to the deeper layers of skin to keep it 'ageless'. The company claims that ingredients in its products can reduce fine lines, wrinkles, crow's feet and stretch marks. However, there are no clinical studies to show that the StriVectin® products, as formulated, are effective as claimed. In the absence of these studies no physician experts have endorsed StriVectin.

Science of the Ingredients

Because there are no clinical studies on StriVectin® products, it can be helpful to examine studies on the ingredients to try to find supporting evidence for the claims.

Peptides - Conflicting Opinions

The peptide palmitoyl oligopeptide is one of the main ingredients in StriVectin® products. Peptides may increase collagen and elastin in the skin's dermis to revert the effects of aging, but scientists are not in agreement about the studies that have been conducted.

There are a few clinical studies that show the potential of these oligopeptides in skin recovery:

  • In 2005, the International Journal of Cosmetic Science published a study in which 93 Caucasian women age 35-55, applied palmitoyl oligopeptide moisturizer base (also containing niacinamide, panthenol and Vitamin E) twice a day for eight weeks to half the face. Researchers compared this half against the moisturizer base on the other half of the face. The treated side of the face showed improvement in fine lines and wrinkles.
  • A poster presentation at the 2005 American Academy of Dermatology's Annual Meeting discussed a study in which 180 women between the ages of 36 and 65 applied the peptide palmitoyl oligopeptide in a moisturizer base (containing niacinamide, panthenol and vitamin E) twice a day for eight weeks to one side of the face, compared against the moisturizer base on the other side. The treated side showed improvement in texture, fine lines and wrinkles. (Osborne, R., Robinson, L., Mullins, L., Raleigh, P., Li, J. and Miyamoto, K. "Use of a Facial Moisturizer Containing Pal-KTTKS Peptide." 63rd American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting, New Orleans, 2005.)
  • In a placebo-controlled eight-week study reported in the British Journal of Dermatology in 2009, 196 women were randomized as follows: Half the women were given a cosmetic cream containing a moisturizing sunscreen and a moisturizer with peptides, niacinamides, antioxidants plus an anti-wrinkle preparation of peptides, niacinamide and retinyl palmitate. The other half were given a treatment cream of a moisturizer containing 0.02% tretinoin in a sunscreen moisturizing base. The authors reported that the cosmetic regimen improved fine lines and wrinkles as well as tretinoin, the standard anti-wrinkle treatment, and caused less skin irritation.

However, in an extensive review of the oligopeptide written in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science the authors criticized available studies for the following:

  • Not showing how the ingredient in the products work
  • The lack of high quality studies with larger numbers of patients
  • Having other skin care ingredients in the peptide test preparations such as niacinamide and vitamin E

NIA-114™ - No Clinical Studies

NIA-114™, is the key ingredient in the latest line of StriVectin® products. The company says it is "an active derivative of Niacin" (vitamin B3) and that it "power(s) each StriVectin® formula." NIA-114 is said to penetrate the stratum corneum of the skin to reach the dermis where it repairs DNA and skin damage and increases collagen to fight deep wrinkles, crow's feet and stretch marks.

There is evidence that niacinamide and other niacin derivatives may repair sun damage and help to reduce wrinkles and fine lines. The company, however, reveals no clinical study that shows that NIA-114 does this.

Company researchers claim that NIA-114 is comparable to tretinoin, the standard anti-aging ingredient that is clinically proven to reverse signs of aging. However, the StriVectin® company has not shown proof that the derivative NIA-114™ in their products produces similar results.

Additional Ingredients - Favorable Effects

As reviewed on SkinTherapyLetter.com, in addition to niacin derivatives, the following ingredients have known favorable effects on the skin. The presence of these additional ingredients in StriVectin® products could lead to some of the changes consumers perceive:

  • Humectants can lock in moisture and give temporary appearance of smoothness.
  • Retinoids are proven to stimulate collagen production and refresh cells to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and keep the skin smoother. Over-the-counter (OTC) retinols, however, are weaker retinoids than those found in prescription formulations.
  • Vitamin C evens and brightens skin tone and can reduce age spots.
  • Alpha-hydroxy and glycolic acids can help to exfoliate and brighten the skin's surface.

Company Claims of Proof

StriVectin® makers say that the product's effectiveness is backed by science. On their website they claim proven results and mention years of research and clinical studies to indicate that their products "rejuvenate and transform" skin and keep it "ageless."

However, the company posts no clinical studies for review. The 'proof' they show comes from mentions in, and awards from, beauty magazines and beauty bloggers.

Specifically, the company has not shown any studies to prove its claim that StriVectin might be "better than Botox" and retinoids.

FDA Warning

Cosmetic companies are not required to show scientific proof if they don't claim their products provide medical benefits. Some cosmeceuticals straddle the border between cosmetics intended to act on the skin's surface and pharmaceuticals (medicines) in their claims.

Because of its claims and lack of proof, in 2005 the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning letter to the StriVectin® company asking for proof of the effectiveness of its products. In the FDA's opinion, the company's claims of the product's clinical effects on collagen production to reduce wrinkles moved the product from a cosmetic to a drug.

No proof has been submitted as of December 2014, but the company continues to make claims for which it was issued a warning.

Informed Purchases

Studies indicate that some of StriVectin®'s ingredients have beneficial effects on aging skin. It is possible that StriVectin® works, but the company shows no proof of the effectiveness and safety of these ingredients in their specific products.

With the variety of expensive skin care products and miracle claims, it is difficult to find the ones you can trust. Look beneath the surface of the appealing marketing claims to make informed purchases. Search for products made by reputable known companies that are scientifically proven to effective and safe.

Does StriVectin Work?