Viper room: Is snake venom the cure for wrinkles?

Talk about poison control. Snake venom inspires the latest anti-aging treatment.

Nov 02, 2010
By
Dana Tye Rally
Photography
ImaxTree.com
Viper room: Is snake venom the cure for wrinkles?

The venomous strike from a Southeast Asian temple viper can kill a mouse in seconds. Now, the seriously lethal poison with the power to paralyze on contact has inspired a new needle-free way to fight wrinkles. Does this mean bye-bye, Botox?

Four years ago, the scientists at Swiss-based pharmaceutical brand Pentapharm—the keepers of a Brazilian snake farm used for medical testing—discovered a link between anti-aging and the paralysis-inducing properties of temple-viper venom. If the viper could send its victims into a permanent stupor with its venom, they reasoned, perhaps the same science could be used to tame crow’s feet and forehead furrows. So they developed SYN-AKE, a topical synthetic tripeptide that mimics the protein in venom responsible for inhibiting neuromuscular activity. When applied to the skin, SYN-AKE relaxes the “frowning and grimacing” muscles that lead to deep wrinkles.

Clinical tests with 45 women over 28 days showed that SYN-AKE reduced the depth of crow’s feet by at least eight percent and forehead lines by as much as 52 percent, reports Eric Lippay, senior skin-care marketing manager for DSM, which owns the Pentapharm brand. “Still, it’s synthetic,” he says. “Snake venom was only the inspiration.” Nonetheless, this faux poison is a hit with the Botox-shunning celebrity set. Clients of the Sonya Dakar clinic in Beverly Hills line up for snake-venom facials, while Hollywood gossip sites proclaim Gwyneth Paltrow’s and Fergie’s affection for Dakar’s UltraLuxe-9 Age Control Complex ($190), a SYN-AKE-infused skin cream. And it’s popping up in other skin-care products too. Canada’s own Euoko has already charmed 22 countries worldwide with its signature snake-venom cream— Y-30 Intense Lift Concentrate—which sells for $525 a jar. Meanwhile, Rodial’s Glamoxy Snake Serum ($195) launched waiting lists of more than 100,000 people hoping to get their hands on a bottle before it hit U.K. department stores in February.

Is snake venom the next Botox? Learn more on the next page ...

What are the biggest skin care myths? Find out here!


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