NEW ORLEANS ― "Electricity" and "face cream" are words you would normally not hear together in the same sentence.
But something new on the market combines those two and promises more youthful looking skin.
When dermatologist Dr. Patricia Farris learned about a new kind of anti-aging cream on the market, she asked one of her patients to try it.
"My eyelids are definitely smoother and firmer,” dermatology patient Sharon Seghers said. “And to tell the truth, in the beginning I didn't expect drastic results but after two weeks, I think I've seen really good results and it says on the box, 'Four weeks, give it four weeks,' so I'm excited about it.”
Seghers, 64, describes her eye lids as heavy. So she's trying a new product called Neutrogena Clinical, sold over-the-counter in drug stores. Doctors say this new cream acts in a completely different way than others on the market.
"This really comes out of the wound (scientific) literature which they found that, when skin was wounded, it started generating low, low levels of what we call natural electricity and this is the way the cells communicate,” said Metairie Dermatologist Dr. Patricia Farris, chairwoman of media relations for the American Society for Dermatologic Surgey.
“It tells the fibroblasts to make collagen, to heal the wound. And it tells inflammatory cells to come in and to clean up the damage that's been done. "So this sort of idea, that electricity helps the cells communicate and direct them in and out of a wound, is now being applied to aging skin and it's really a very innovative approach.”
Instructions state that the ion2 complex needs to be put on the skin first, then right after that, the activator goes on. The key ingredients are zinc and copper. We wanted to know if tests prove that the active ingredients get into the skin on the cellular level.
"Well this has all been studied really quite extensively by the Neutrogena Corporation, who holds the license or the patent on the product and they've done skin penetration studies as well as studied the amount of electricity that's generated by the product," noted Dr. Farris.
She says the studies were well done by the gold standards of scientific testing where neither the doctors nor the patients knew if they were using the real or fake cream. And she says lab studies revealed a more than two fold increase in collagen and an 11 fold increase in elastin fibers that make your skin tight.
"They found in the preliminary studies where it also causes some lightening of pigmentation, which was actually something they did not expect, but they were able to sort of shut off the pigment producing cells. So that was an exciting finding," explained Dr. Farris.
New Orleans Dermatologist Dr. Mary Lupo says there is a new buzz about this so called biomimetic technology and the theory that it can improve skin tone and texture.
"What's interesting is, is that when you think about it, photo damage or sun damage really is a wound to the skin,” Dr. Lupo said. “It damages collagen and other important proteins in the skin and the thought of doing anything that's stimulates repair by mimicking the body's natural repair mechanisms really makes a lot of sense, sort of a more natural way to encourage your body to make it's own collagen.”
Dermatologic surgeon Dr. William Coleman, who is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Dermatologic Surgery, says he believes the product is safe but doesn't feel the results will be dramatic.
"All of the tests of this are done in the cosmetic and toiletry world where the standard for benefits is very, very low compared to the clinical world,” Dr. Coleman said. “In the clinical world, for something to really be good, it needs to be as effective as Retin-A for instance or something we know really makes a difference.”
And all the doctors agree that you should never get rid of your prescription retinoids, such as Retin-A , Renova, Tazorac and the Green Cream, which have been proven to work. Some feel this new cream will make your skin less flaky from the retinoids.
And still some doctors feel the studies on the new cream were reputable and will recommend using the new Neutrogena Clinical at night about 20 minutes after putting your retinoids on.
"What patients who've used this have reported to me, is a noticeable smoothing effect to the surface of the skin and you do experience a slight tingling sensation that perhaps is the mechanism of these low level ions and the electrical activity that it is inducing," Dr. Lupo said.
"When you're applying it, it's so smooth and it makes your skin feel so soft. It just feels good," Seghers said.
When asked if she would continue to use it, she replied, "Yes, yes, definitely.
Doctors say as this technology evolves, it may be used in the future for patients who've had lasers, chemical peels, and for those who've had surgical wounds, burns and skin ulcers.
Editor's Note: Dr. Patricia Farris is no relation to Medical Reporter Meg Farris.