Study: Olay PRO-X outperforms Retin A

Posted on September 20th, 2010 by Michelle

It’s no surprise when companies like Procter & Gamble blow their own horns about how effectively their products perform in clinical trials.  It is surprising, however, when the results of those trials are published in respected medical journals, which is why the latest headlines about Olay’s Pro-X products got our attention.

The study, in which P&G put its Pro-X line up against the prescription wrinkle-reducer tretinoin (aka Retin A) .02%, and won, was published in the British Journal of Dermatology.  That makes us think that the study may have been a little more independent of the product company than these things generally are.

“We believe this is the first of its kind clinical study comparing a cosmetic anti-aging regimen against a recognized prescription topical treatment for improving the appearance of facial wrinkling,” said Joe Kaczvinsky, PhD, a principal scientist at P&G Beauty & Grooming and a lead author of the study, in a press release from the company. “Having this study published in a prestigious peer-reviewed journal is a testament to the significance of these findings.”

And Joe, we do agree that’s pretty significant.

In the study, nearly 200 women were divided into two groups. Half used a daily regimen of Pro-X Repair moisturizing cream (with an SPF30) in the morning and the Pro-X Wrinkle Smoothing Cream in the evening, and Pro-X Deep Wrinkle Treatment twice a day for eight weeks. The other half used an SPF 30 sunscreen and the tretinoin 0.02 percent every other day for two weeks and then every day for the other six weeks, as per directed for the prescription drug.

After eight weeks, experts compared the participants’ fine lines and wrinkles before and after using the products, blind to which group was using what product. Olay came out ahead, with 58 percent of the people using Pro-X showing improvement, while only 41 percent of the tretinoin group saw improvement.

Two groups of 25 women used the products for an additional four months, and the women’s skin continued to show results, but the efficacy of the products was virtually even. The study authors, including Kaczvinsky, did note that limitations to the study include the small number of people in the extended study.  Others will argue that the products do different things: Pro-X being a moisturizing regimen and tretinoin being an irritant designed to generate new skin.

The bottom line is they both reduce those lines and wrinkles, but one is mass-market and the other is a prescription topical, with all the related expense. Olay is so sure about Pro-X, it guarantees you’ll be happy with the product or offers your money back.  It is also worth noting that in 2007, Consumer Reports found Olay Regenerist, at $19, was the top performer against Lancome Paris Renergie, $176 and La Prairie Cellular at $335 an ounce, as well as several other brands.

All in all, it seems to us anyway, a trip to the drugstore for our skin products doesn’t leave much to lose.

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A short history of cosmetics

150BC Romans use yellow eye shadow.

The Romans preferred to use gold-colored eye shadow which was made from saffron and painted onto the area around the sides and under their eyes. Then they used powdered wood ash to color their eyelids black. This gold color was quite significant at the time because they saw themselves as the rulers of the Mediterranean.