Recently, Johnson & Johnson released the new Aveeno Active Naturals Positively AgelessTM Lifting & Firming line, which has a Daily Moisturizer with SPF 30, a Night Cream, and an Eye Cream. The “secrets” in the formulations are wheat protein and shittake mushrooms, which the company say are to firm and rejuvenate skin, respectively. But how effective is the Aveeno Active Naturals Positively AgelessTM Lifting & Firming line? FutureDerm investigates…
Shittake Mushrooms and Skin Rejuvenation
According to the product website, shittake mushrooms are “long believed to enhance vitality and slow aging.” Although shittake mushrooms are the most scientifically studied mushrooms, the research on shittake mushrooms slowing aging is very limited compared to skin care ingredients like retinoids or even sirtuins. Still, according to this 2000 journal article, shittake mushrooms have been found to secrete a substance called lentinan that stimulates the body’s immune system and eliminates some viruses. Shittake mushrooms are even labeled an “anticancer” drug by the Japanese FDA.
At this time, due to the limited research showing anti-aging effects of shittake mushrooms on skin, I personally would not buy an anti-aging product just because it contains shittake mushrooms. However, shittake mushrooms certainly have shown promise in stimulating the immune system and as anti-bacterial and anti-viral agents, so I would not be surprised if shittake mushrooms are later shown to have beneficial effects for the skin. I present the information….the call on this one is yours. 🙂
Wheat Protein and Skin Firmness
According to the textbook Conditioning Agents for Hair and Skin, a study by Henkel Laboratories found that 1.5% active wheat protein has been shown to increase skin moisturization by 20%. In typical concentrations in skin care formulations, wheat protein combats the effects of drying detergents on the skin via its protective colloidal film-forming property. Most exciting, however, is the research that states that just 0.1% palmitoyl hydrolyzed wheat protein has been shown to stimulate protein synthesis and increase collagen cross-linking of human keratinocytes similar to vitamin C in vitro (i.e., in culture). In vivo, palmitoyl hydrolyzed wheat protein has been shown to soothe the skin. The only unfortunate part of this is that the research was demonstrated when wheat protein was attached to a palmitoyl fatty acid, which may improve the ingredient’s penetration into the skin somewhat.
As far as firming the skin goes, wheat protein is already used to firm your hair: wheat protein consists of fatty quarternary complexes with cysteine residues that are used to covalently bond to the disulfide bonds present in the hair after a permanent hair treatment (a “perm”). Whether wheat protein binds covalently to the skin, to what degree, and for how long, is questionable.
Any direct studies on the moisturizers?
The studies are from the company, and information on the studies is not publicly available (i.e., number of subjects; placebo-controlled; double-blind; multi-center; etc.) Although the information is limited, the results are shown under the review of each product below.
Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Ageless Lifting and Firming Night Cream
Aveeno Active Naturals Positively AgelessTM Lifting & Firming Night Cream ($19.99, CVS.com) is my favorite product in the line. The night cream contains wheat protein to firm the skin and shittake mushroom in fair concentrations, plus a plethora of hydrating ingredients (glycerin, dimethicone, cetyl alcohol, butylene glycol, shea butter, hydrolyzed wheat protein, and several others!)
In addition, the cream also contains hydrolyzed soy flour, which is beneficial for the skin. According to Paula Begoun, author of Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me, one isoflavone contained in soy is genistein, which has been shown in independent research studies to exhibit both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, to stimulate the production of collagen and hyaluronic acid in human fibroblasts cultured in vitro, to reduce the number of hair follicles (dermal papillae) on the skin after twice-daily use for two weeks, and to improve hyperpigmentation. Unfortunately, soy is found in lower concentration in this product than other Johnson & Johnson winners, like Neutrogena Anti Oxidant Age Reverse Eye Cream ($16.95, Amazon.com).
Another ingredient is glycolic acid. Although found in low concentration, the glycolic acid found in the product should still help to smooth the skin, accelerate the rate of cell turnover somewhat (which is reduced by up to 7% every ten years in normal skin aging), decrease small wrinkles and increase the fibroblast proliferation of collagen.
One study (results depicted below) by Johnson and Johnson shows that eight weeks’ of use of Aveeno Active Naturals Positively AgelessTM Lifting & Firming Night Cream lifts skin in about 75% of subjects, contours the jaw line in about 92%, combats wrinkles on the neck in about 90%, and increases firmness and elasticity in about 95%.
For a free sample and a $1.50 off coupon, please click here.
Water, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Tetrahydroxypropyl Ethylenediamine, Cetyl Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, PPG 2 Myristyl Ether Propionate, Squalane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Stearyl Heptanoate, Glyceryl Stearate, Polyacrylamide, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Ganoderma Lucidum Stem Extract (Mushroom), Hydrolyzed Soy Flour, Mauritia Flexuosa Fruit Oil, Algae Extract, Copper Gluconate, Lentinus Edodes Extract, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Phenoxyethanol, PEG 75 Stearate, Glycolic Acid, Stearyl Caprylate, C13 14 Isoparaffin, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Methylparaben, Fragrance, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ceteth 20, Steareth 20, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, CyclopentaSiloxane, Laureth 7, Allantoin, Zinc Gluconate, Magnesium Aspartate
Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Ageless Lifting and Firming Daily Moisturizer
Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Ageless Lifting and Firming Daily Moisturizer ($19.99, Drugstore.com) is surprisingly my least favorite product in the line. It contains wheat protein to firm and hydrate, additional hydrating ingredients, shittake mushroom, sunscreen, and not much else, unlike the night cream, which contained a couple of additional well-established anti-aging ingredients (soy, copper gluconate, and even a bit of glycolic acid).
A study by Johnson and Johnson shows about 70% of women saw results after using Aveeno Active Naturals Positively AgelessTM Lifting & Firming Daily Moisturizer SPF 30. Results reported included improvement in elasticity, skin firmness, reduction in fine lines and wrinkles, and helping skin look younger. (I personally am not thrilled with these results; similar percentages of satisfaction have been reported for well-packaged placebo products.)
Ingredients in Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Ageless Lifting and Firming Daily MoisturizerActive Ingredients: Avobenzone (3%, Sunscreen), Homosalate (12%, Susncreen), Octisalate (5%, Susncreen), Octocrylene (1.7%, Sunscreen), Oxybenzone (3%, Sunscreen)
Inactive Ingredients: Acrylates/C10 30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Algae Extract, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Arachidyl Alcohol, Arachidyl Glucoside, Behenyl Alcohol, Benzalkonium Chloride, Boron Nitride, C12 15 Alkyl Benzoate, C13 14 Isoparaffin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Citric Acid, CyclopentaSiloxane, Diethylhexyl 2,6-Naphthalate, Dimethicone, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Disodium EDTA, Ethylparaben, Fragrance, Ganoderma Lucidum Stem Extract (Mushroom), Glycerin, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Laureth 7, Lentinus Edodes Extract, Methylparaben, Methylparaben Pentaerythrityl Tetradibutyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Phenoxyethanol Polyacrylamide, Propylparaben, Silica, Sodium Hydroxide, Steareth 2, Steareth 21, Tetrahydroxypropyl Ethylenediamine, Water
Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Ageless Lifting and Firming Eye Cream
Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Ageless Lifting and Firming Eye Cream ($19.99, Drugstore.com) contains a very low concentration of shittake mushroom extract. However, there are also numerous hydrators, and, of course, hydrolyzed wheat protein.
After two weeks’ of twice-daily personal use, the skin under my eyes feels firmer, but not puffy. I have faint fine lines under my eyes, and for these, there has been no improvement. I do not have dark circles since I started to use retinol and vitamin K treatments, so I cannot assess improvement in this area.
A study (results depicted below) by Johnson and Johnson shows that eight weeks’ use of Aveeno Active Naturals Positively AgelessTM Lifting & Firming Eye Cream resulted in nearly 100% of subjects reporting an increase in firmness, about 92% reporting a decrease in fine lines and improvement in skin dryness and dark circles, and 60-70% reporting improvement in coarse wrinkles and an overall lifted appearance.
Water, CyclopentaSiloxane, Glycerin, Methylheptyl Isostearate, Tetrahydroxypropyl Ethylenediamine, Butylene Glycol, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Steareth 20, C12 15 Alkyl Benzoate, Glyceryl Stearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Triisostearin, Squalane, Cetyl Esters, Myristyl Alcohol, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Cocoglycerides, Ceteth 2, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Glyceryl Laurate, Stearyl Alcohol, Bentonite, Glyceryl Behenate, DMDM Hydantoin, Methylparaben, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Silica, Sodium Methylesculetin Acetate, Distearyl Ether, Fragrance, Picea Excelsa Bud Extract, Propylparaben, Polysorbate 60, Tyrosine, Ethylparaben, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Ganoderma Lucidum Stem Extract (Mushroom), Algae Extract, Lentinus Edodes Extract, Titanium Dioxide, Mica, May also contain: Citric Acid
If you are concerned with your skin’s laxity, I would recommend Aveeno Active Naturals Positively AgelessTM Lifting & Firming Night Cream for its proven ability to firm the skin and additional proven anti-aging ingredients, and Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Ageless Lifting and Firming Eye Cream for its proven ability to firm the skin. Although I love products with sunscreen, I would not recommend Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Ageless Lifting and Firming Daily Moisturizer, as it does not contain anti-aging ingredients other than wheat protein and shittake mushroom, and did not perform exceptionally well in the clinical trials shown above.
At any rate, a new way to improve your skin’s firmness! 🙂 For a free sample of Aveeno Active Naturals Positively AgelessTM Lifting & Firming Night Cream and a $1.50 off coupon, please click here.
Product Rating (Aveeno Active Naturals Positively AgelessTM Lifting & Firming Night Cream): 9.5/10 (-0.5 for no sunscreen, and this is only a -0.5 because it was designed for night.)
Product Rating (Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Ageless Lifting and Firming Daily Moisturizer): 7/10 (-1 for only wheat protein and shittake mushroom as anti-aging ingredients, -0.5 for relatively low concentration of these ingredients, -0.5 for lowest overall improvement from studies above)
Product Rating (Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Ageless Lifting and Firming Eye Cream): 7.5/10 (-1 for no sunscreen, -1 for only wheat protein and shittake mushroom as anti-aging ingredients, -0.5 for relatively low concentration of these ingredients) – a relatively low ranking, but I still recommend it! 🙂