Has Unilever Developed the Anti-Wrinkle Pill?

Has Unilever Developed the Anti-Wrinkle Pill?

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What if all the best skincare products could be reduced to one simple, anti-aging pill—would you pop it? New research says you may be making this decision sooner than you think.This magical pill, created by the U.K. branch of Unilever and set to launch next month in spas in the U.K., Spain and Canada, is packed with natural food extracts that the company says flips the switch on genes that build collagen in the skin. It’s the breakdown of this structural material that causes wrinkles.QUIZ: Are You Eating Nutrients for Healthy Skin?Now, how does this pill differ from every other “anti-aging pill” on the shelves of your local vitamin store and taunting you from late-night infomercials?New Scientist reports that the company conducted a series of independent, double-blind trials, which is the highest standard of efficacy testing and is rarely used by beauty companies, whose products rarely make medical claims and therefore aren’t regulated.In four separate research groups, 480 post-menopause European women were tested. In three-and-a-half months, crow’s feet became 10 percent shallower, with the best responders enjoying a 30 percent decrease. Women taking a placebo pill saw no significant improvement.In another independent study on the pill, French researchers extracted biopsies of the deep tissue dermis layer of 110 women, and found “fresh collagen” in women taking the pill.MORE: Start Your “Eat Pretty” Journey Here These results look shining to the untrained eye, but some experts question if the methods used in the studies were an effective way to measure anti-aging.“I am extremely skeptical of these types of products for a variety of reasons. A 10 percent reduction in wrinkles is very hard to document,” says surgeon Arthur Perry, M.D., F.A.C.S, You Beauty Plastic Surgery Advisor. “Biopsies are inherently flawed because the before and after biopsies are performed on different wrinkles. And as we all know, the depth of our wrinkles varies from one location to another. Scientists call these errors sampling errors.”Still, we know that the foods we eat have a profound affect on our appearance. And these pills contain nutrients proven to have benefit the skin: Vitamin C, which has been associated with a less wrinkled appearance; Isoflavones from soy, which has estrogen-like capabilities (estrogen could help promote collagen production in post-menopausal skin); Lycopene from tomatoes and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids from fish oil round out the offerings. Both are known to have anti-inflammatory effects.”Although the results of this new study are exciting, lets not forget that the contents of the capsule that is creating these beauty boosts are derived from whole foods rich in vitamins C, E, soy and omega 3’s,” says Nutrition Advisor Kristin Kirkpatrick, R.D. Not to mention, these nutrients can be taken as a supplement in addition to food.RESEARCH: Vitamin C Slows Aging“There is no question that vitamin deficiency increases wrinkles, but the real question is whether doses of vitamins above what is considered adequate for a standard diet will further improve wrinkles,” says Dr. Perry.As consumers, we’ll have to wait for the research to be published in a peer-reviewed journal before we’re sold on the results. “While you’re waiting for the capsules to hit the market, save your money on the pills and go with whole foods instead,” Kirkpatrick says. We’ll be loading our plates with wrinkle-fighting foods: a handful of almonds and a kiwi for vitamins E and C; grilled salmon with a tomato sauce ragout; edamame. The list goes on.“We must all be skeptical of ‘taking another pill’…particularly an expensive one that has ingredients that can be obtained during an enjoyable hour at a good restaurant,” Dr. Perry says.MORE: Restaurant Meals Good for Your Skin