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I have been noticing a slight crease in my forehead over the last year or so, and this has sent me on a hunt to find something, anything that might help to stop it developing into a full blown wrinkle and also to stop/slow down any surprise wrinkles that may currently be developing.
I have been considering botox as a last resort, but if I can find something a bit less drastic (and cheaper) that helps then I would obviously rather use that - for now at least!
I decided that I would try a product from the Aldi Lacura range to start with as I have heard generally quite good things about the range in the media and from friends, and I was interested to see how well they do considering their bargain prices! The first product I am trying is their 'Wrinkle Stop' serum. It comes in a cannula tube with 10mls of product inside and costs £6.99.
This is the product I went looking for when I went into Aldi, as I had read about the active ingredient SYN®-AKE in the product promising great things as it apparently mimics the effect that venom from the temple viper snake has, in that it has the ability to paralyse/block nerve signals that tell muscles to contract, so it was thought that this chemical reconstruction would have the same kind of reaction if applied to the skin.
In fact I have actually heard that celebrities had been using products with this ingredient in, and were swearing by the effectiveness of it saying it was like botox but without the injection; although the products they were using were a LOT more expensive... for instance the Glamoxy that Cheryl Cole uses actually costs £125 - yes that's English pounds and not dollars. If this product could give a similar effect for this price, well let's just say I would be a very happy girl.
The claims as copied from the packaging state:
"LACURA Wrinkle Stop is a highly effective form of facial care for minimising wrinkles in problem areas on and around the forehead, eyes, mouth and nose.
The patented active agent Syn®-Ake has been proven to help:
* Reduce forehead wrinkles by 52%
* Reduce crow's feet by 24%
* Restrict 82% of muscle activity
This is the result of many years of research in the field of snake venoms, for which the Swiss manufacturing pharmaceutical company won the Swiss Technology Award 2006.
If applied regularly, Syn®-Ake has the following specific effects:
* Smoothing of the skin thanks to tripeptides.
* Long-term anti-wrinkle effect by improvement of the wrinkle surface.
* Plumping out wrinkles from inside using biospheres.
* Relaxation of facial muscles.
LACURA Wrinkle Stop smooths your skin, giving it a relaxed, fresh appearance."
These are quite impressive claims, so of course I wanted to try them for myself to see if there was any substance in them. On the packaging it advises you to use it daily in the morning and in the evening, using the precision cannula to apply it to specific areas and then massage it in.
The serum is actually creamier than I expected and has an opaque look to it rather than a clear serum, the smell is subtle but quite nice for the short time that you can smell it. To apply it is fairly easy, although the cannula can take a little more work to hold in a comfortable and accurate position. I think this would be easily solved with either more of a rubbery texture around the whole tube to give it more grip, or larger 'winged' areas at the top where you could hold on to the tube better to stop it sliding through your fingers as you apply the product.
When applying you really need to remember that less is more so be gentle when pushing the tube as you don't want to waste any product as although it is a bargain price, money wasted is still money wasted at the end of the day! I apply the product only to the specific areas as directed, as this is not a serum or moisturiser for the whole face; the areas I apply it to are the forehead, around the eyes (where crow's feet are likely to appear) and laughter lines as I thought if this product did work as it said it would that I really didn't want to end up with a wonky face from applying it in the wrong areas.
As with all my face creams and serum I tend to massage/rub upwards as much as possible to try and counteract gravity (try being the operative word); I'm not sure if this makes a difference or not but I thought I'd throw it out there as I'd heard it can help either in a magazine or on a TV show. I do leave a bit of the serum to absorb naturally rather than rubbing it in to within an inch of its life too. On the skin I found this serum to be comfortable and non greasy, even when under make up.
I didn't see any immediate effect after applying the serum but after about 6 weeks of continuous use I do feel that my skin has improved in the areas I have been using the serum; however it wasn't quite the wow factor transformation that it had lead me to believe it would be on the packaging. I think I just looked a bit more rested, a bit fresher in the face you might say. I would use the product again though, as it is such a bargain and especially if there's even a slight chance of an improvement further down the line then it's worth giving a shot. I would also feel ok to recommend it to others to give it a try as I have no doubt that it does help the skin in some way, even if it's not quite botox in cream form that I hoped it would be... maybe I was expecting too much?!
For more information please take a look at these links: http://www.wrinklestop.co.uk/ and http://www.aldi.co.uk/uk/html/product_range/product_range_13675.htm
* About the product:
Lacura is a cosmetic range sold in ALDI supermarkets. This product is a white very thin lotion/serum in a white plastic cylinder with the logo "Lacura Facial Care - Wrinkle Stop - Intensive care with SYN-AKE - Anti-ageing" on it. The cylinder is placed into what resembles a clear plastic syringe with a rubber tip instead of a needle, named "precision cannula", as you can see in the photo above. The cannula is sold inside a flexible half-clear half-green plastic tube, with two plastic and two metal lids at the ends.
The cannula does help to keep the product clean and makes good use of it with its pump, BUT this is packaging overkill. The plastic wrapping is unnecessary and I remove a star for being totally environmentally unfriendly.
The product is only 10 ml and costs £6.99. Be aware, because I heard rumours that people buy it and resell it very expensively on Ebay.
* The promises:
The product contains a synthetic form of venom of an Asian snake, branded and patented as SYN-AKE. Allegedly, it is the product of many years of research, and the Swiss manufacturing company (but no ID provided) won the Swiss technology award for it in 2006.
It makes amazing and rather hyperbolic promises, for which ideally I'd remove half a star: that it is as good as Botox ("beauty fans can bin the Botox as the ultimate credit crunch cosmetic treatment has been found"), is popular in the US amongst Hollywood actresses, "including Gwyneth Paltrow and Hilary Swank", forehead wrinkles are reduced by 52% in 28 days, - but the website says UP TO 52%, which is not the same thing I think - crow's feet is reduced by 24% and the serum restricts muscular activity by 82% (not specifying after how long though).
The theory behind it is that the synthetic ingredient will mimic the paralysing action of real venom and will "block nerve signals telling muscles to contract, which helps to stop wrinkles forming as well as smoothing out the skin, producing a wrinkle free appearance". It is safe, as it has been thoroughly tested for cosmetic applications, it is dermatologically tested for sensitive skin, but not tested on animals.
It contains the usual preservatives and other chemicals as well as:
* Tocopheryl acetate = form of less acidic vitamin E
* Dipeptides (an amino-acid complex) although elsewhere it writes "tripeptides", so which one is true??
* Biosaccharide Gum-1 = A polysaccharide made by fermenting plants; it is a moisturising and skin soothing ingredient.
* Sodium hyaluronate or Hyaluronic acid (HA) = kind of polysaccharides, the key water maintaining substances in human skin; it can keep the skin moist and smooth. It also promotes skin blood micro-circulation and nutrient absorption. As a result, it plays a role of wrinkle removing, look improving and health protecting.
* Butyrospermum parkii butter = Karité, Shea or Shea nut butter. It is widely used in cosmetics as a moisturiser and an emollient but it is also edible.
It slightly worried me that it also contains caustic soda (!) [sodium hydroxide] but it is the very last ingredient and it is also used in food preparation. Because it is strongly alkaline, it can be used for the neutralization of acidic materials, so I suppose everything is a matter of balance.
I have sensitive skin, slight wrinkles and I have been using the product since April 09, twice a day on clean skin, under my moisturiser. Although the cannula only contains 10ml, it lasts for about 6 weeks, which is not bad I suppose. The fluid is thin and easily spreadable, so I only need 2-3 drops for the forehead, one for each eye and 2 around the nose and the lips. I don't use it on my neck as I don't think a relaxing agent would be a good idea for that area, and nothing is mentioned on the box.
It has a light smell, but it is absorbed after a couple of minutes and it has a soft texture. I said that I worried about the caustic soda, but it seems to be completely neutralised because I never experienced any irritation. Actually, as I was pressing the pump near my eye, I managed to send a small amount IN my eye a couple of times (a word of caution there) but I experienced NO irritation at all! I washed it off and that was the end of the story.
I did not see any immediate results and not much before about 6 weeks. It's not a filler, so the skin does not look plumped out upon application. However, after around 6 weeks, I did notice my skin becoming smooth, relaxed in the long-term, looking fresh as if I slept very well the previous night, even if I had a rough day, and radiant. The major improvement is around my eyes (maybe because the skin there is thinner?) and even if it is not 80 or 50%, it is still noticeable, even under harsh light!
So, ladies and gentlemen, this product DOES work in the long term. I think it is so easy to apply, no mess and no fuss, that men can use it too. The package is not 'girlie', on the contrary is kind of sterile and 'pharmaceutical', so no worries if somebody discovers it in your bathroom. Younger people are the luckiest because it is always more effective to prevent than to repair, so if you use it, you'll get less wrinkles in the future. But make sure you also use a cream with sun protection, because this is only a serum and it has none.
If they make the formula stronger and use less packaging, they'll create the most effective wrinkle-relaxing creme in the market.
We don't have an Aldi in my town, but I'll go to the next town just to find an Aldi and get this serum. I think this shows how much I like it.
* Extras *
Aldi has launched a special website for this product, where you can upload one of your photos and see the ageing results. The photo must be a passport type. I tried to crop a portrait but the result was a blur. The example on the front page gives you a scary - albeit exaggerated - idea though!
Anti Wrinkle / Helps to smooth out forehead wrinkles and crows feet /