I mentioned in an earlier post that, in my experience, StriVectin-SD seemed to work for a couple of months and then stopped being effective. I recently noticed that this was a common theme amongst reviewers on Amazon.com and in other online forums. So I decided to try to find out why StriVectin-SD shows immediate improvements in skin texture but, for some of us, has no staying power.

It turned out that researching StriVectin-SD was much more fun that I could have anticipated. This product's corporate history - involving phony doctors, spurious trials and an FDA investigation - is nothing if not colorful.

StriVectin's manufacturer Klein-Becker makes much of the doctors on its payroll to endorse the product and lend it scientific credibility. Klein-Becker's Director of Scientific Affairs is one Dr Daniel B Mowrey - he gallantly admits to using StriVectin himself after shaving. Dr Mowrey is about as qualified to comment on StriVectin as I am; he is not a medical doctor, but a PHD. Klein-Becker's other 'doctor', Nathalie Chevreau is a nutritionist.

It took the FDA three years to get Klein-Becker to change StriVectin's marketing claims to be better than botox. That tag line is now qualified by a question mark. The FDA also wrote to the company in 2005 saying that the product should be considered a drug and therefore required FDA approval. This is still not resolved.

The clinical trials that StriVectin touts were all commissioned by Klein-Becker. This is a bit like the French conducting a trial to prove that red wine is good for you. An independent study, on the other hand, found Olay's Regenerist cream to be slightly more effective than StriVectin.

And the cream itself? Well, it definitely isn't better than Botox. A good hard look at the ingredients suggests why the effects seem to be shortlived.

The secret sauce, the trademarked Strivaxil, is a concoction of herb and fruit extracts. Fine, but unlikely to be life (or even skin) changing. Aside from this, the product contains various types of silicons, emollients, and stuff that appears commonly in cosmetics such as Methylsilanol Mannuronate (a seaweed derivative). Those silicons and emollients will give a short-term and superficial sheen to the skin, but that's about it.

Our friends at StriVectin are behind Amatokin, a cream that is supposed to stimulate stem cells in the skin, and a new treatment for dark circles around the eyes called Hylexin. I will review Hylexin in a future post.