I was recently introduced to the Kaplan MD line of antiaging cosmetics and I’ll be writing more on the full range and the approach behind it in future posts. In the meantime, I have been getting acquainted with the Lip 20 Treatment, a lip plumper with Dr Kaplan’s signature tally of ten antiaging actives.

The first thing to say about Lip 20 is that it does plump the lips. Mine are thinner than a snake’s when left to their own devices and lip plumpers generally don’t work or are uncomfortable. When I looked up into the mirror after applying Lip 20, I couldn’t help but break into a big grin. My lips were pleasantly full, darker and smooth. This is a look I could get used to.

No humble lip plumper, Lip 20 Treatment has rather a lot going on. FIrst, I’ll deal with the fact that it comes in a a couple of colors as well as completely sheer. It also has a most unusual container that is twisted to flip open a hinged lid. It got me quite flustered for a few minutes and I ended up breaking the tip of the lip product. Still, it puts the packaging in the realm of gizmo and makes the versions without color eminently appealing to guys.

The plumping job is achieved by sodium hyaluronate in the form of patented molecules that easily penetrate the skin. Hyaluronate’s moisturizing power is backed up by shea butter and squalane. Another important ingredient is seabuckthorn (hippophae rhamnoides), which has loads of quercetin. The thing about quercetin is that it may be a much more of a powerful antioxidant than was previously thought. Cornell University has a new way of measuring antioxidant potency called ‘cellular antioxidant activity’ (CAA) that tests the antioxidant activities of a compound inside the cell itself. This is an approach that is deemed to be more accurate. Of all the flavenoids, quercetin had the highest CAA value.

One of Kaplan MD’s signature ingredients is black cohosh root extract. This is a source of plant-derived estrogen and is used as antiaging ingredient. Estrogen or estrogen mimicking ingredients (such as parabens) in cosmetics are a little controversial with one doctor making the link between them and cancer. This work remains uncorroborated and did not deal specifically with plant-derived estrogen.

Specifically discussing black cohosh (note that mostly it is used as an oral supplement for menstrual and menopausal issues), the Mayo Clinic says: ”The mechanism of action of black cohosh remains unclear and the effects on estrogen receptors or hormonal levels (if any) are not definitively known. Recent publications suggest that there may be no direct effects on estrogen receptors, although this is an area of active controversy.”

Talking of controversy, I always approach chemical sunscreen ingredients with caution. Of the three chosen here, octisalate seems to be perfectly safe, while the other two can be unstable and octonixate should, perhaps, be avoided by pregnant women (the estrogen issue again). You can read about octinoxate and the other two sunscreen actives in our article that summarizes some of the research.

Sunscreen actives: Octinoxate 7.5%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 3%

Other ingredients: Polyglyceryl-2 Diisostearate, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Polyethylene, Beeswax, Oleyl Alcohol, Phenyl Trimethicone, C10-30 Cholesterol/Lanosterol Esters, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, VP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Aroma (Natural Peppermint), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Squalane, Glyceryl Triacetyl Hydroxystearate, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Seabuckthorn Berry) Extract, Soy Isoflavones, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Cimicifuga Racemosa (Black Cohosh) Root Extract, Eupatorium Rebaudianum Bertoni Leaf Extract, Atelocollagen, Sodium Hyaluronate, Silica, Tribehenin, Lecithin, Water (Aqua), Polysorbate 20, Polysorbate 80, Sorbitan Isostearate, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Carbomer, Sodium Chondroitin Sulfate, Glycerin, PEG-8, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Retinyl Palmitate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Caprylyl Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid, [+/-: Mica (CI 77019), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxide (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Red 7 Lake (CI 15850:1)