Pop a Pill to get your SPF? Snail Secretion Serum to turn back time?

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Could a snail hold the key to the fountain of youth? And is it really possible now to pop a pill to protect yourself against the sun's harmful, aging rays? We came across two new products unveiled at the recent American Academy of Dermatology Convention in New Orleans, and we just had to ask ... do they really work?

The first product, Tensage, is a growth factor derived from a snail's secretion.  Biopelle, the distributor of Tensage, says it all started with a little snail in Europe.  They say it was discovered that the snail emitted a "self-healing" secretion when it was harmed or scared, and from there, the company took that concept and created a serum to help burn patients.  They say the first clinical trials utilizing this snail secretion technology were done on Chernobyl burn victims. 

Because of its success, the company decided to apply the technology to anti-aging.  Jeff Starling with Biopelle says sun damage and photo-aging damage on the skin is recognized by this entire product line as a wound, and will physically go in and raise a wrinkle depth up to 20% in about 90 days.  The company does have some pretty impressive before and after photos, and claims patients will start seeing a difference in as little as 7 days. 

We asked Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Sarah Jackson about Tensage. She says there is actually some science behind this somewhat unconventional anti-aging serum, and says it has been proven to work in some patients.  Tensage retails for about $110, which can last from 1 to 2 months, depending on how you are instructed to use it. It is not a prescription, but can only be purchased through a physician's office. 

After using the product for 7 days straight (one ampoule per night), it's recommended you do monthly maintenance, and use one of the company's 3 creams (the patient in the impressive before/after photo, which the company guarantees us was not doctored or photo-shopped, used the ampoules twice a day, and followed up with the Tensage Advanced Cream for 45 days).

For more info, go to www.Biopelle.com.  And by the way the company guarantees that no snails are ever harmed in the process!

The next product that was getting a lot of buzz at the AAD Convention is Heliocare, also known as the sunscreen pill, which by the way, is actually a bright orange capsule. 

There's good and bad news here. 

The good news is this natural fern-extract derived anti-oxidant will give you some added SPF protection that won't rub off or wash off.

The bad news is that it only provides an SPF of about 7 or 8, which is well below what dermatologists recommend. Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi says the American Academy of  Dermatology now recommends at SPF of at least 30. 

So if you do want to invest in some Heliocare for about $60 a bottle for 60 capsules, remember you will need to supplement this self-proclaimed "dietary supplement for the skin" with a good, broad spectrum sunscreen to make sure you are well protected against the sun's harmful, aging rays. 

Heliocare can be purchased through select doctors' offices. For more info go to Heliocare.com.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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