StriVectin Review: Effective Skincare or Misleading Claims?

StriVectin Review: Effective Skincare or Misleading Claims?


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StriVectin makes anti-aging skincare. Their products are more reasonably priced than other skincare brands we’ve recently reviewed like Nulastin, which charges nearly the price-per-pound of gold for its skincare products. StriVectin suggests that some of their products "visibly corrects signs of aging" while others can "help reduce the look of redness."

But does StriVectin contain ingredients proven in medical research to have these effects on skin or are these just marketing claims? Do their products contain any unhealthy additive ingredients? And how do real users respond to StriVectin products?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we review the ingredients in StriVectin’s most popular products (their neck cream and their eye cream) based on published medical research to give our take on whether they're likely to actually have an anti-aging effect. We'll also highlight some questionable health claims made by the brand and share results of a medical study that had unfavorable results for StriVectin's anti-wrinkle cream.

StriVectin Neck Cream Review

StriVectin neck cream ingredients

StriVectin’s neck cream is their most popular product, and is called TL Advanced Tightening Neck Cream Plus. The brand claims that this product can tighten, lift and firm skin on the neck while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

The first active ingredient in TL Advanced Tightening Neck Cream Plus is shea butter. This natural compound has been shown in medical research to help repair the skin barrier, and to have an anti-inflammatory effect.

A test tube study found that the ingredient sorghum bicolor stalk juice may have anti-wrinkle effect, but test tube studies are a much weaker standard of evidence than human studies, so we'll consider this ingredient potentially effective.

TL Advanced Tightening Neck Cream Plus contains several peptides: Tetrapeptide-21 and Dipeptide-1 Cetyl Ester. Peptides have been shown in medical studies to improve skin function, so we'll consider these ingredients likely effective.

Hyaluronic acid is another active ingredient in this product, and it’s one of the cosmetic ingredients with the most research backing. It’s been conclusively proven in clinical data to have skin rejuvenating effects when applied topically, including “remarkable anti-wrinkle” effect.

While StriVectin's neck cream has a number of effective ingredients, it also contains several ingredients we recommend avoiding.

Chlorphenesin is a synthetic preservative that induces cellular atrophy and death of human cells in test tube studies. It’s a relatively harsh preservative.

Phenoxyethanol is another preservative, and it’s included in many cosmetics products we review like Olaplex. As discussed in the linked review, this compound has questionable safety data and has been shown to cause toxicity to human cells in test tube studies.

TL Advanced Tightening Neck Cream Plus contains four other preservatives: BHT, sodium levulinate, sodium benzoate and benzoic acid. We have never reviewed a skincare product on Illuminate Health with six individual preservatives and we'd be curious to hear why the brand uses so many.

Fragrance is an additive ingredient we always recommend consumers avoid, and it's been described in a medical review published in the Medical Hypotheses journal as a “pervasive health risk.” Fragrance is a broad categorical term that could refer to any number of specific chemical compounds used to scent a cosmetics product. 

We consider this product likely to have an anti-aging effect due to the inclusion of hyaluronic acid, however we do not recommend this cream overall due to the inclusion of seven additive ingredients we recommend avoiding from a health perspective.

A YouTube creator called "TheDolldonna" published a review of StriVectin neck cream that appears unsponsored, and which includes before-and-after images:

StriVectin Eye Cream Review

StriVectin eye cream ingredients

Another one of StriVectin’s most popular products is their eye cream, called Contour Restore Firming Moisture Balm for Eyes.

This formulation is similar to the neck cream formulation. It contains peptides, which we've already established to be an effective category of anti-aging skincare ingredients. 

Pyrus malus (apple) fruit extract has been shown to improve skin hydration and skin elasticity in a 2019 clinical trial.

Sodium hyaluronate has documented anti-aging effects, as we referenced in our recent Hanacure face mask review article.

Betula alba bark extract was found in a medical review published in the Skin Pharmacology and Physiology journal to reinforce the skin barrier.

Morus nigra leaf extract is documented to be effective for treating skin hyperpigmentation.

Sesame seed oil is also included in this cream, and it’s been shown to have some anti-aging effects based on a previously-linked review of plant oils for skin function.

StriVectin’s eye cream does contain the preservative phenoxyethanol, which we recommended avoiding in the previous section.

Chlorhexidine gluconate is another preservative in this formulation that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a warning letter about, indicating risk of rare but serious allergic reactions when this ingredient is used topically.

We consider StriVectin's eye cream to be likely effective for anti-aging and improving skin quality, because it contains multiple research-backed ingredients, but we do not recommend it overall due to the inclusion of two questionable preservative ingredients.

A YouTube creator called "The Honest Channel" published a review of StriVectin's eye cream that appears unsponsored and which includes before-and-after images:

Negative Independent Testing Results

We can only identify one clinical trial published in a legitimate medical journal which tested the efficacy of a StriVectin product. The trial was published in 2006 in the Dermatologic Surgery journal, and compared the effects of botox and various commercial skincare products for treating wrinkles between the eyebrows.

The StriVectin product tested in this study was StriVectin-SD, which is an anti-wrinkle moisturizing cream sold by the brand.

The study authors found that botox was significantly more effective than StriVectin's cream for reducing the visible apperance of these lines, and StriVectin-SD caused a small reduction in facial lines (FWS scores decreasing from 2.8 to 2.7 with treatment) that did not appear to be statistically significant.

It's also notable that the only adverse events (side effects) experienced by any patients in the trial were all experienced by patients using StriVectin's cream. Three out of the 16 total patients using StriVectin experienced side effects, which were described as flushing, erythmatous papules and one patient experienced itchy papules that caused them to discontinue treatment.

We consider this to be a relatively high number of patients experiencing side effects for such a small overall sample size.

Questionable Clinical Results

StriVectin clinical claims

Like many cosmetics brands we’ve recently reviewed, StriVectin makes a number of health claims that we consider questionable.

First, the brand argues that different products are needed for skin on different body types: “Don’t Expect a Face Cream to Do a Neck Cream’s Job.”

While it’s true that skin on the neck is somewhat different than skin on the face (it’s lower in collagen), we haven't come across any medical research suggesting that ingredients effective for improving facial skin quality are ineffective for improving skin quality on the neck, or vice versa. StriVectin provides no evidence of this claim, and we consider it a marketing claim rather than a science-based claim.

StriVectin also claims to have clinically proven results for many of their products (some shown above), even though they don't appear to publish the full studies backing these claims. 

We strongly recommend that consumers entirely disregard claims of clinical efficacy made by skincare brands unless those claims are based on studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals, which is not the case for StriVectin. This is the gold standard of product research, and this is the type of research we cite in our article when evaluating ingredient efficacy.

StriVectin Real Customer Reviews

StriVectin is sold on Amazon which is a more objective resource for customer reviews than a brand's website in our opinion. Their most popular product on Amazon is their neck cream which has been reviewed 6,000 times at the time of updating this article.

The product has a 4.1 out of 5 star rating, and a "B" grade on Fakespot, which is a software tool that detects potentially fraudulent Amazon reviews. This is a good sign that the majority of the reviews are legitimate.

The top positive review from a verified purchaser is written by a user named "joangela" who claims the product was effective but no more effective than a cheaper alternative:

"This jar was so small it looked like a free sample. It did a decent job for the two weeks it lasted, but Gold Bond Neck and Chest Firming Cream was every bit as good, if not better, and at around $12 for a 2 ounce tube, a much better option."

The top negative review from a verified purchaser comes from a user named "Erika" who claims the product is ineffective:

"I used this stuff for months. I have never seen any kind of results from it. I also felt like my skin never really was able to absorb it. It always rolled off in my fingers. I would not recommend this crap to anyone. I have found that unless you have needles inserted in your skin, nothing topical ever really delivers any kind of results as far as getting rid of the signs of aging."

Our Skincare Recommendations

There are skincare products that contain ingredients proven in clinical trials to be effective for reducing wrinkles and improving skin quality generally.

Annie Mak Vitamin C Serum is our top skin cream pick because of its effective and clean formulation. It contains hyaluronic acid which was described as a "skin-rejuvenating biomedicine" in a medical review due to its ability to reduce wrinkles and signs of facial aging. We consider this to be the most powerful topical skincare ingredient. Most importantly, this serum is entirely free of questionable additives like preservatives or fragrance.

Interested consumers can check out Annie Mak Vitamin C Serum at this link.

HydraGlow is our top moisturizer pick. It features bakuchiol as an active ingredient which was described in a 2014 clinical trial as "clinically proven to have anti-aging effects." In the linked trial, topical bakuchiol reduced wrinkles, improved skin elasticity and firmness, and reduced photodamage (damage from UV rays). There are no questionable additive ingredients in this product.

Interested consumers can check out HydraGlow at this link.

The only oral supplement we recommend for skin quality improvement is Bulletproof Collagen Powder. Oral collagen supplementation was shown in a medical review published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology to improve visible signs of skin aging as well as improve skin elasticity and skin hydration. The only ingredient in Bulletproof collagen is collagen peptides sourced from grass-fed animals. We recommend a dose of 10 grams per day.

Interested consumers can check out Bulletproof Collagen Powder at this link.

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

While both StriVectin's eye cream and neck cream contain active ingredients proven to have an anti-aging effect, we don't recommend either product overall due to the inclusion of preservatives and other additive ingredients that may have questionable health effects.

One of the preservatives in StriVectin's eye cream was the subject of a warning letter from the FDA that referenced a risk of severe allergic reaction.

StriVectin's anti-wrinkle moisturizer was found in a clinical trial to be significantly less effective than botox, and to cause side effects in three out of 16 trial participants.

StriVectin publishes favorable clinical results about their products on their website, but we cannot access the full studies and these results do not appear to be published in an independent medical journal.




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