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Tricutan®: Facelift in a Bottle?

Tricutan®: Facelift in a Bottle?

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The obsession with youth and beauty is universal and timeless. Even the most beautiful women in history needed a little help to preserve their beauty, drawing from the natural world around them to combat the effects of time and the elements. Many believe that Queen Cleopatra bathed in milk and honey. And some say that Xi Shi, one of the Four Beauties of ancient China, favored a cream made from crushed pearls.

Recently, the anti-aging powers of nature have been tapped to create a formula that works, according its creators, to counteract the effects of photoaging on the skin. Others have gone so far as to suggest that the formula is an effective, non-invasive alternative to facelift surgery. Developed by Swedish dermatologist Beatrice Sommerfeld and Swedish skin care company Adderma AB, Tricutan® has received acclaim in its native land as the key ingredient in the popular skin care product Dermyn® Active Serum.

How Does Tricutan® Work?

The makers of Dermyn® Active Serum market the product as a means of delaying the need for facelift surgery. They claim that Tricutan® works on two levels:

  1. Within the skin, Tricutan® stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, proteins responsible for the firmness and elasticity of the skin.
  2. Beneath the skin, Tricutan® causes the muscles of the face to contract. As the muscles tighten, so does the skin attached to them.

Tricutan® contains a triumvirate of herbs long used for medicinal purposes in China, India, and the Mediterranean. The fourth component, dimethylaminoethanol, more commonly known as DMAE, may account for whatever effect Tricutan® has on facial musculature.

The Fab Four

DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol)

A natural component of human nerve tissue, DMAE (or dimethylaminoethanol) is a precursor to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that stimulates muscle contraction. As we age, our natural supply of acetylcholine declines. This results in loss of muscle tone and sagging skin.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

An aromatic herb native to the Mediterranean, rosemary is prized for its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects. Legend has it that rosemary was a key component of a beauty elixir used by a notorious medieval queen. Unfortunately, the recipe for this mysterious elixir, known as Queen of Hungary water, was lost through the ages.

Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica)

In Chinese medicine, gotu kola is used for a variety of ills, including chronic skin conditions, mental disorders, memory loss, and premature aging, according to noted herbalist C.P. Khare. Some call this member of the parsley family "the fountain of youth," and it is said that Taoist herbalist Lee Ching Yuen promoted gotu kola for long life before he died at the age of 256.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa)

Also known as Haridraa, turmeric is a commonly used herb in Ayurveda, an ancient Indian medicinal practice that goes back thousands of years.  According to herbalist C.P. Khare, turmeric exhibits potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Used in Ayurveda as a blood purifier and skin-disinfectant, turmeric is currently being tested as a possible treatment for arthritis and some forms of cancer.

Okay. But does it Work?

In 2007, Dr. Sommerfeld published her research on the efficacy of Tricutan® in Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology. Conducted at the Dermatology Clinic in Lidingö, Sweden, Dr. Sommerfeld's study involved 28 women, aged 34 to 67 years, in good general physical and psychological health.

Each participant was given a bottle of Tricutan® and a bottle containing a placebo gel. The women were instructed to apply one mixture to the left side of their face and the other to the right side every morning and evening.  Three of the women developed contact dermatitis and withdrew from the study. At the end of four weeks, the researchers used ultrasound waves to measure skin firmness in the remaining participants. Overall, it was determined that the skin that had been treated with Tricutan® was notably firmer than skin treated with the placebo.

The apparent success of Tricutan® in promoting better skin tone prompted Dr. Sommerfeld to suggest further research into the possibility that treatment with Tricutan® may delay a person's need for facelift surgery.

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