Being an Esthetician, it is part of my job to keep up with the new trends in the skin care industry, as well as further my education. I am genuinely interested in the ingredients that go into the products that I use and recommend to my clients. I feel as if it’s my duty to steer them towards the right products for their skin.
Over the past 5 or so months I kept hearing about a product called Nerium. I never really gave it a second thought at first, because I would have a lot of clients tell me about the random assortment of skin care products they were using.
I unfortunately just assumed it was a decent line I just hadn’t researched yet (shame on me). The skin care industry is always evolving and adapting new products and treatments. Clients would tell me that Nerium was part of their skin care regime and I would just be ecstatic that they were using products at all!
However, after hearing multiple clients talk about this product in such a short period of time, I decided to look into it. I was somewhat concerned, seeing as these people were coming to me with skin conditions, yet all they could do was rave about this “magic” product.
When I finally sat down to look into Nerium, and being the ingredient enthusiast that I am, I was stunned. I know a lot of companies will use fancy “scientific” names to use on their ingredient list to make it sound greater than it actually is or to make it seem like they are the only one using this kind of ingredient.
Their first ingredient was a “NAE-8 Proprietary blend (which is just a way to show legal ownership of a specific blend) of Aloe Barbadensis Leaf and Nerium Oleander Leaf Extract.
Their second ingredient is Aloe Barbadensis Leaf.
I felt my heart stop for a second when I read the word oleander. That poisonous plant my mother was always yelling at me to stay away from? The plant which every part of it is in fact toxic? People are putting that on their faces?! I decided to look more into oleander extract and skin care later.
As for the second ingredient on the list in this supposed “liquid gold” product being the same as part of the first ingredient, this so far is just a bottle of expensive Aloe Vera..Now I am amused. Going through the rest of the ingredients, I noticed that it was full of things you would find in your typical facial cleansers and shampoos.
- Surfactants: de-greasing and wash active agents that work by breaking down oils and fats, in order for them to separate from the skin.
- Condition agents which help moisturize the skin.
- And the rest of the ingredients are just binders and fillers.
So basically, this company is riding on the fact that their anti-aging product is the best because of Nerium Oleander Leaf extract. The ingredients list does not lie, without this special “proprietary blend” Nerium AD is your average run of the mill beauty product. NOTHING SPECIAL. So now lets go back to what Oleander Leaf extract actually is and why it is being used.
Oleander extracts in -controlled doses- are in the early stages of testing to see if its effective in treating cancer. The National Cancer Institute has done test tube studies of Anvirzel (oleander extract) that appeared to slow the growth of human bladder cancer cells. But the “carefully dosed” people with cancer did not demonstrate that the Anvirzel helped them. And after many attempts, it was not approved by the FDA. In fact, Oleander Leaf is on Germany’s regulatory agency list of unapproved herbs because it has yet been proven to be either safe or effective.
Nerium Biotechnology couldn’t make their big break in the anti-cancer battle so they decided to give anti-aging a go. Nevertheless,they were unable to come up with evidence that Nerium Oleander Extract works as a wrinkle-repair ingredient, or have any anti-aging benefit for that matter.
There have been studies found on Wikipedia stating in which “a nerium oleander extract was applied to the skin of people with different dermal conditions, sensitive mass spectrometry based blood analyses were not able to detect the presence of cardiac glycosides such as oleandrin, indicating that these compounds are not readily absorbed through the skin. In layman’s terms, we are dealing with a “poisonous, failed (so far) cancer drug that doesn’t penetrate the skin and is a potential irritant”(truthinaging.com).
It is said that skin irritation from contact with oleander has occurred and allergies are very possible. After doing a ton of research on the oleander leaf extract, I couldn’t find it being used in any other skin care product other than Nerium AD. With being an unproven anti-aging agent, possible skin irritant, failed cancer treatment and showing no evidence of being able to even penetrate the skin, I was unimpressed.
Another thing that I found interesting about the Nerium AD product was the chronic low-level inflammation that occurs within the skin. Inflammation is typically visible. Signs of inflammation include redness, irritation and discomfort. Despite the contrary, inflammation can also be invisible. Without the physical indicators, people do not realize their skin is inflamed at all. The low levels of inflammation give the skin a more plumped up appearance which is mistaken for the product actually working as an anti-aging agent.
The inflammation theory of aging is known more commonly by the term ‘inflammaging’ named by Claudio Franceschi, an Italian scientist. It refers to the biological reaction between inflammation and aging. Inflammation is the process in which the immune system uses to help the body fight off damaging agents.
Inflammation itself is actually very healthy and natural, yet chronic inflammation can be bad for the body. It forces the immune system to function with an inflammatory response level that is much higher than what it was made to handle. The immune system naturally produces free radicals to help bring down inflammation. When it is chronic, the system will constantly be producing the free radicals.
Free radicals are unstable molecules trying to find an electron to bind to to become a stable structure. Free radicals will attack healthy cells in search of the electrons which result in changing the cells from healthy to abnormal. Also, when inflammation occurs, the immune system sends white blood cells to help heal. When there is constant swelling, the body puts normal body functions on the back burner. It is trying to focus on producing more cells to get the inflammation under control rather than producing cells to maintain healthy tissues throughout the body.
The continual presence of this malady can lead to premature aging of tissues and organs. The chronic low-level inflammation contributes to the cause of at least 7 of the 10 leading causes of mortality. Which include: heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and nephritis. These dangers may be silent, but they are very destructive and quite possibly deadly.
Now that we have established that Nerium AD isn’t the product that they claim to be, I want to talk about how they market themselves and how they sell their products. Nerium International is a direct sales company that is known for MLM (Multi-level-marketing). They encourage their existing distributors to recruit new ones by offering them a percent of their recruit’s sales.
Although Multi-level marketing is a legitimate strategy for businesses it can also be quite controversial. A pyramid scheme is when money from the new recruits is used to pay the people at the top. They pretend to be interested in a well-founded multi-level marketing in order to get more and more people signed up underneath them. Pyramid schemes are easy to spot by their focus more so on the recruitment than the actual product sales.
Nerium International uses their consultants to spread viral marketing propaganda like wild fire on the internet. If you try and google “Nerium AD is a scam” almost the whole entire first page will be links to sites that claim that its all a fraud. However, when you click on these links it takes you to sites that actually promote Nerium. These websites are full of “Before and After” photos that show the products efficacy. Even so, anyone with any knowledge in Photoshop can tell that a large quantity of these photos have been digitally manipulated.
Nerium AD is a classic pyramid scheme. False promises based on an irreparable product. Please do not fall victim to this horrible scam. Most of these people have no knowledge of skin care and do not have your best interest in mind. They are only looking to make money off of you. Anyone who thinks that what I do as an Esthetician is anything similar to what they do as a Nerium Consultant is a fool.
-Rachel A. Sauer, L.E.