Is Hydroderm All They Claim It To Be?

Hydroderm ImageHydroderm age-defying wrinkle serum is a twice a day anti-wrinkle treatment that is designed to help skin look younger by diminishing the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and other visible signs of premature aging. The key ingredients in Hydroderm wrinkle serum are collagen and the vyo-serum. It has been on the market since 2003. The idea for the product was inspired by researchers' desire to find a topical alternative to Botox.

Hydroderm is simple to use: you apply it to your face and neck twice daily. Use enough to cover with a substantial layer, and after 2-3 minutes, follow with, of course, Hydroderm Renewal Moisturizer (not reviewed here).

How Much Does This Stuff Cost?

If you buy from the manufacturer, it is $84.00 for a 1 oz. bottle, plus 5.95 shipping and handling (60 day supply). They do offer a 30 day risk free trial and you will be signed up for an autoship program and billed $84 at the end of the trial period. If you decide that Hydroderm is not for you, you just call a special phone number to receive return instructions.

Pregnant or nursing women should consult a physician before using this product.

Product Claims:

  • Helps tone skin and smooth the look of surface wrinkles
  • Instantly tightens and improves overall skin tone and texture
  • Results are apparent within 12 days of first application

Cross Examination:

Active Ingredients: Collagen – marine source (the actual animal this comes from is not listed). Vyo-serum: distilled water, synasol, serum protein, purified water, amniotic fluid, placental protein, calfskin extract, hydrolyzed collagen, sodium methylparaben, potassium sorbate, citric acid, and ascorbic acid.

Other ingredients: Distilled water, Cephene, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Synasol, Purified water, Sodium Methylparaben, Imidezolidinyl Urea, Trisodium EDTA, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid and Ascorbic Acid.

What's The "Real" Truth About Collagen?

Collagen creams have been around for decades. At the first glance, they seem useful. After all, the skin is made of collagen, so if you put on a cream with collagen, the skin should absorb it. However, this does not work. Let me give you an analogy. Imagine you live in an old, dilapidated brick house and your neighbor is throwing new bricks at it. Will your walls become stronger or smoother? Of course not! Those bricks will simply lay scattered on the ground.

The same happens when you apply a collagen cream. Collagen is a large molecule; it does not penetrate the skin, but stays idly on top of it, only to be washed off during your next shower. Traditional collagen creams are not entirely useless, because collagen can hold moisture and makes a decent moisturizer. But do not expect these creams to penetrate squamous epidermal cells and strengthen your skin.

Some cosmetic companies have resorted to using hydrolyzed collagen, that is, collagen that has been chopped up into itsy bitsy pieces. But there is little to no evidence that the pieces, even if they do penetrate the cellular barrier, integrate with skin structure.

Hydroderm claims to have patented a process whereby, with the vyo-serum, whole collagen does penetrate skin and integrates into the skin’s framework. There is no scientific evidence that I could find anywhere that backs this claim up. One good way to prove it (if the company is reading this!) is to put molecular tags on your collagen molecules and test it in vitro on human skin culture. That way, if the collagen actually assimilated into the skin cell, you could easily prove it. Done and done.

The fact that no such study exists probably alludes to the fact that the process doesn’t work.

How about the other ingredients?

Let’s examine the vyo-serum, which contains, among other things, placental protein and amniotic fluid. Whoa! What are these ingredients doing in an anti-wrinkle cream, and whose placenta and uterus did they come from?!?

Since another ingredient in the vyo-serum is calf-skin extract, and being a veterinarian, I postulate these ingredients are bovine and come from a veal calf operation (I welcome any input). I’m sure you have heard of the poor living conditions of veal calves: I have been to these places, it is all true. So, if you are interested in animal welfare, this may not be the product for you.

Furthermore, the source of animals products not used for human consumption are not regulated by the FDA or USDA, and can come from anywhere in the world. Mad cow disease and prions are a real disease, and since this product claims to infiltrate the cellular barrier, anyone concerned with the source of the bovine material and the possibility of zoonotic (that is, animal to human) disease probably should not buy this product. Again, I welcome feedback or input into the sourcing of these ingredients.

I can go on and lament the use of an unstable vitamin C derivate (ascorbic acid) or an excessive use of parabens (small amounts of these are ok, but this product goes overboard!), but it all seems a bit anti-climatic after my diatribe on amniotic fluid and placental protein.

The Bottom Line:

The idea of formulating a process by which relatively large molecules of non-human collagen can pass through the skin and assimilate with the existing skin elements is certainly unique and we would be very eager to see clinical research data to support these claims made regarding But, alas, no such study has been successful.

Furthermore, consumers should know where and why ingredients are included in a product that they are using on their bodies. I would like to see Hydroderm give full disclosure about where the collagen, placental proteins and amniotic fluid is coming from, the clinical research behind these ingredients and why we should be putting them on our faces.

Bottom line? Buy a different product.