Effects of a cosmetic 'anti-ageing' product improves photoaged skin [corrected]

Br J Dermatol. 2009 Aug;161(2):419-26. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2009.09216.x. Epub 2009 Apr 28.


Background: Very few over-the-counter cosmetic 'anti-ageing' products have been subjected to a rigorous double-blind, vehicle-controlled trial of efficacy. Previously we have shown that application of a cosmetic 'anti-ageing' product to photoaged skin under occlusion for 12 days can stimulate the deposition of fibrillin-1. This observation infers potential to repair and perhaps clinically improve photoaged skin.

Objective: We examined another similar over-the-counter cosmetic 'anti-ageing' product using both the patch test assay and a 6-month double-blind, randomized controlled trial (RCT), with a further 6-month open phase to assess clinical efficacy in photoaged skin.

Methods: For the patch test, commercially [corrected] available test product and its vehicle were applied occluded for 12-days to photoaged forearm skin (n = 10) prior to biopsy and immunohistochemical assessment of fibrillin-1; all-transretinoic acid (RA) [corrected] was used as a positive control. Sixty photoaged subjects were recruited to the RCT (test product, n = 30 vs. vehicle, n = 30; once daily for 6-months; face & hands) [corrected] with clinical assessments performed at recruitment and following 1-, 3- & 6-months of use [corrected]. Twenty-eight subjects had skin biopsies (dorsal wrist) at baseline and at 6 months of treatment for immunohistochemical assessment of fibrillin-1 (test product, n = 15; vehicle, n = 13). All subjects [corrected] received test product for a further 6-months. Final clinical assessments were performed at the end of this open period; 27 subjects received test product for 12-months [corrected].

Results: In the 12-day patch test assay, we observed significant immunohistological deposition of fibrillin-1 in skin treated by test product and RA as compared to untreated baseline (P = 0.005 and 0.015 respectively). In the clinical RCT, at 6 months, compared to baseline assessment, 43% of subjects on test product had an improvement in facial wrinkles (P = 0.013), whereas only 22% of subjects using vehicle had clinical improvement (P = ns). Between group comparison of test product and vehicle was non-significant (P = 0.10). After 12 months, there was a significant benefit of test product over that projected for vehicle (70% vs. 33% of subjects improving; combined Wilcoxon rank tests, P = 0.026). There was significant deposition of fibrillin-1 in skin treated for 6 months with test product (mean +/- SE; vehicle, 1.84 +/- 0.23; test product, 2.57 +/- 0.19; P = 0.019).

Conclusion: An over-the-counter cosmetic 'anti-ageing' product demonstrated clear benefit over vehicle in fibrillin-1 deposition over a 6-month trial period. There was a corresponding but non-significant trend towards clinical improvement in facial wrinkles. Clinical improvements in the treated group were increased after a further 6-months of use. This study demonstrates that a cosmetic may improve the appearance of wrinkles and further supports the use of fibrillin-1 as a robust biomarker for repair of photoaged dermis.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Administration, Topical
  • Aged
  • Cosmetics / administration & dosage
  • Dermatologic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Fibrillin-1
  • Fibrillins
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Microfilament Proteins / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nonprescription Drugs / administration & dosage*
  • Patch Tests
  • Pharmaceutical Vehicles / administration & dosage
  • Skin Aging / drug effects*
  • Skin Aging / pathology
  • Sunlight / adverse effects
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tretinoin / administration & dosage*


  • Cosmetics
  • Dermatologic Agents
  • FBN1 protein, human
  • Fibrillin-1
  • Fibrillins
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • Nonprescription Drugs
  • Pharmaceutical Vehicles
  • Tretinoin