Nerium AD causes massive oxidative stress that kills cells (now why is that good for skin?)

“We had a eureka moment in our research labs when we stumbled upon what Nerium oleander could do for skin.” –Dennis Knocke, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Nerium Biotechnology, Inc. We suspect the real eureka moment happened when they stumbled upon what Nerium oleander could do for their pocketbooks.

What a Great idea!                                 

Holes in the story – some real black hole gapers

One need not be a rocket scientist to see the dots that when connected lead to the launch of Nerium AD.  Real science and real research at a prestigious institution having to do with a known plant toxin that shows beneficial effect in killing off cancer cells and preventing viral replication and drugs in the pipeline for eventual FDA approval (everyone hopes.)

“But that can take a decade or more and cost over a billion dollars to get to market! Can’t we make a buck faster and easier than that? ”

“Well, sure you can. Take the captivating and intriguing story about the search for a wonder drug, already cloaked in the aura of high science at an internationally renowned institution, and morph it into something that can rapidly enter a huge consumer marketplace that is growing by leaps and bounds, create a viral type marketing scheme, and presto, instant success and lots and lots of cash because there is something in it for everyone. Never mind that the science doesn’t quite hold together.”

“What did you say? The science doesn’t hold together?”

“Yeah, hate to break it to you, but there are some holes in the story”

“I’m confused.”

Let’s explain why BFT remains skeptical.

The Nerium website includes reports that oleandrin, when applied to the skin in the formulation being marketed, does not result in blood plasma levels of concern. In other words, the amount of oleandrin that is reaching the systemic circulation is well below the threshold required to cause toxic consequences. That is a good thing.

And we know that oleandrin is very likely easily absorbed through the stratum corneum of the skin because: 1) it is lipophilic (“fat loving”), and 2) it has a low molecular weight of only 576 daltons, just above the 500 dalton threshold where penetration starts to become affected by molecular weight. So what is being put on the skin is in all likelihood getting through. That would be a good thing if oleandrin actually enhances skin cell survival and function. There is information on the Nerium website that indicates this is probably not the case. Remember, oleandrin kills cancer cells. There’s a reason for that, as published by Dr. Newman.

Newman RA et al: “Oleandrin-mediated oxidative stress in human melanoma cells”; Journal of Experimental Therapeutics and Oncology, Vol. 5, pp. 167-181, 2006

While certain cardiac glycoside compounds such as oleandrin, bufalin and digitoxin are known to be associated with potent cytotoxicity to human tumor cells, the mechanisms by which this effect is produced are not clear. We now demonstrate that incubation of human malignant melanoma BRO cells with oleandrin results in a time-dependent formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Use of Mito-SOX and dihydroethidine dyes revealed the presence of oleandrin-mediated superoxide anions. Formation of superoxide anions correlated with a loss in cellular viability, proliferation and cellular defense mechanisms such as GSH content. Oleandrin also resulted in an unusual time-dependent mitochondrial condensation in BRO cells that could be blocked with use of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC). NAC was also shown to block ROS formation and partially prevent oleandrin-mediated loss of cellular GSH. Taken as a whole, the data suggest that exposure of human tumor cells such as BRO to oleandrin results in the formation of superoxide anion radicals that mediate mitochondrial injury and loss of cellular GSH pools. These mechanisms play a role in cardiac glycoside mediated tumor cell injury. Conversely, incubation of NAC, a precursor to GSH, largely prevents oleandrin mediated inhibition of proliferation and mitochondrial structural changes.

There is nothing in here to suggest that this is specific to melanoma cells, or cancer cells in general.  In fact the metabolic pathways are present in all cells.  So, either the oleandrin concentration in NeriumAD is negligible, or the oleandrin in the product may well be doing harm rather than benefiting skin cells. BFT has written about radical oxygen species and skin aging elsewhere and a web search of skin aging and reactive oxygen species yields reams of references that link the two. After all, the whole concept of applying antioxidants to the skin is about combating the deleterious effects of ROS. On this basis, oleandrin does not sound like something a formulator of an anti-aging product would consider a beneficial active. 

Now, there is the theory of hormesis that says if you stress cells or tissues constantly they become tougher and better able to withstand stress.

Maybe that is what nerium oleander extract is doing.

Maybe its like a survival of the fittest cells.  Any cells not killed by this stuff are better cells, and deserve to live.

Or maybe it’s like in drosophila where killing off cells causes neighboring cells to grow.  Terrorist cells- killing themselves so that others will take notice, and clean up their act.

Or maybe this substance is as benign as potato juice and this whole history is just a diversion.  Look, its science.  OK, its in the wrong field, but lets not quibble lets talk about how much money YOU can make selling this for me.

Nerium AD:

Ingredients: NAE-8™ Proprietary Blend (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Liquid, Nerium Oleander Leaf), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Liquid, Proprietary Protein (Plant derived: Collagen, Elastin, Glycosaminoglycans), Glycerin, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, C14-22 Alcohols, C12-20 Alkyl Glucoside, Cetearyl Glucoside and Cetearyl Alcohol, Vegetable Oil, Dicaprylyl Ether, Sodium Borate, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan) Powder, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Sodium Isostearoyl Lactylate, Dimethicone, Sodium PCA, Proprietary Blend (Caprylyl Glycol, Glycerin, Glyceryl Caprylate, Phenylpropanol), Fragrance, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Tocopherol (Vitamin E)


  1. Jina says:

    Hi, Drs.

    Why are you not co-hosting with Dr Sanjay Gupta on CNN? That’s right, big pharma companies paying for advertising time would have to edit your script. Keep up the good work.

  2. Nate says:

    So I have no affiliation with any skincare product or MLM but I can’t help but feel like the integrity of the above article and your personal “professional” analysis of the science behind it gets greatly reduced in it’s integrity when the comments below include a plug for the skincare product you will soon be pushing to consumers.

    • drjohn says:

      Hey Nate. How is our integrity compromised if we announce repeatedly that we have day jobs as scientists and create our own skin care products. We are blatantly honest about our biases and financial interests. We are who we are, unabashedly. Now if you wanted to say we have no credibility in your eyes, so be it. But lack integrity? I would say our integrity would be more at risk if we kept silent, knowing what we know as industry insiders. Instead we are whistle blowers. Who the heck else do you think understands this stuff? How many cosmeceutical scientists do you find in academia, given that no government agency is currently supporting wrinkle research that I know of. If not us, then who would you think?

      Suppose some guy in the logistics industry knew that some other logistics company was cutting costs but doing so in a way that could hurt people. Would you want that logistics guy to stay silent, because he might somehow benefit if that competitor saw less business (despite there being tens of thousands of other competitors in the same exact market). or would you prefer that he use that insider knowledge to maybe prevent a few people from being hurt? Would you criticize that guy’s integrity if he decided to blow a whistle on the bad guys?

      That’s our stance. We know how unpopular we are. It doesn’t make us money, in fact it is a distraction. But our conscience prods us to keep nattering on just the way we are.

  3. Nate says:

    Deleting and/or censoring comments doesn’t exactly exhibit transperancy, objectivity, or integrity either. Same sales technique as all the other “we tell the truth” blogs.

    • drjohn says:

      Nate, this is not a forum free-for-all, it’s a blog with a teaching mission. We reserve the right to edit or delete content (e.g. edit out rants and 4-letter words) but never really had to do much of that until this Nerium thing came along. Want to guess how many comments we get with embedded links to “sign up” sites for Nerium? We started directing them to the spam folder, so don’t even bother. We don’t edit for opinion content (you can read lots of criticism of us and our views if you scroll back, and we publish both positive and negative opinions on Nerium). We don’t expect any reader to take our views as gospel truth. Just a pair o’ docs who spend time with this stuff every day, have the ability to understand the science, and have a distaste for trickery in the marketplace. We expect you all to form your own opinions. And we openly solicit data and logic that would prove our truth to be untruth. When that happens we publish a mea culpa and confess that we are not perfect.

      • David Chen says:

        Dr. John, I believe my comment was deleted even though I had no links to Nerium and was just expressing my opinion about it. I talked about people’s long term experiences with it as a cancer cure and so far having only salutary experiences. I also agreed that Nerium could possibly be bad and had no scientific basis. On that topic, I saw that snail cream and nanocollagen at least put in effort to explain the biochemistry. So I also asked about snail cream and nano collagen and didn’t get a reply. Why was my comment taken down? You guys can always use the accusation that people are biased when expressing their opinions – like a witch hunt. And I believe you are. In terms of this article here, I think it raises incredibly important questions. I hope you guys continue to do good work without getting paranoid or subconsciously using paranoia as an excuse to strengthen your own bias on this site. Thank you

        • drjohn says:

          You cannot be diagnosed with paranoia if they really are after you :)
          We disagree with any parallel between bias and witch hunting. We all have biases, whether we recognize or not.
          Snail cream does have a good hypothesis, just no proof. Nano collagen fails on the hypothetical mechanism alone.

      • David Chen says:

        I would also like to offer the perspective of how bad is using Nerium short term even if oxidative stress were the primary mechanism. We use things like lasers, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion to achieve a clean slate of tissue regeneration. Could this maybe make Oleandrin safe for short term use to get rid of say a scar or deep wrinkle and then stop usage? And given Oleandrin’s proven anti-cancerous, immune boosting effects, I feel that it may counter its own deleterious effects.. or clean up its own mess so to say. This is not to say that the skin may not somehow be become dependent on it or be weaker without continued purchase. Overall, I feel good about its short term usage for specific cosmetic issues, but reserved about its long term effects. I hope this perspective will deepen the discussion. Thank you.

        • drjohn says:

          You are correct that many treatments work by damaging the skin (trauma, metabolic stress, inflammation) then letting natural healing mechanisms reconstruct a hypothetically improved surface. And that might work if you used Nerium once, then let the skin alone. But to apply such an irritant daily, without rest, sets up a chronic inflammatory pattern, which leads not only to impaired healing (fibrosis, scarring), but to accelerated signs of aging. And remember, the anti-cancer effect of oleandrin works by killing off cancer cells (apoptosis), and immune boosting in this sense = chronic inflammation, so I don’t see where you can argue that it counters its own deleterious effects. Your postulate that skin may be weaker without continued purchase of Nerium is highly improbable, but might be just the marketing message they need. If you try to stop it, you’ll be sorry. What will become weaker is the pyramid. Until it collapses.

      • Greg says:

        You crack me up with your science background and credibility.

        People have use Lye soap and products for hundreds of years but if you ingested it you might die. People use hydrogen peroxide on their skin ad even rinse with it but if you drank a bottle of it you could die.

        There are hundreds of toxins that are use in every day topical products and medical products that are lethal used in the wrong way.

        Your biggest issue is Nerium is successful and your skin business is floundering.

        Nice blog Dr J why don’t you grow a pair and grow your business without disparaging other ones.

  4. Joe says:

    Thank you for all the posts regarding Nerium. Like many others that have commented on your articles I have been approached by a friend about becoming a brand partner. I wanted to research the company and product to get more information.

    I read about the nerium oleander plant being poisonous, but according to there website there was some patent pending extraction process that made it safe. I am far from being a scientist or understanding the exact procedure, the only thing i came up with was that part of the plant was poisonous and part was not, and they extracted the good part. I was hoping you could comment on this.

    I still have several other concerns regarding the marketing, long term effects, and usefulness of the product, but my main concern is the safety of the product if the idea is for me to sell it to my friends.

    Thank you.

  5. Drgeorge says:

    Thanks for your post, Joe. The patent involves the use of the aloe plant to extract the active oleandrin from the oleander plant. It was filed in October 2009 (United States Application US20100092585) by Donald L. Smothers, President and CEO of Natural Technology, a private label manufacturer specializing in personal care products. The patent was assigned to Nerium Biotechnology, Inc. (Mr. Smothers has 40 years experience in the personal care products manufacturing business and more than 30 years working with the aloe plant. The cytotoxin, oleandrin, is the purported active that works the “miracles” of Nerium AD. Early skin trials with oleandrin centered on its effects on melanoma cells in culture and then on the precancerous skin lesion, actinic keratosis. Herpes infections were also investigated. This is all well and good as the effects of the toxin were shown to be beneficial in these instances where the objective is to kill deleterious cells or viruses.. The disconnect, and it is a huge one, is now they are marketing a product that is supposed to be “good” for skin using the same active.

    As stated before, a huge marketing opportunity drives this product in our opinion, not science. We have had many, many posts to our series, way more than we can publish without overwhelming our overall content. None, not a single one, has proposed a different mechanism of action for these skin improvements based on oleandrin. We have published that there are plenty of other ingredients that can account for some reported visual benefits and we have not discounted the possibility that oleandrin is indeed harming tissue, albeit subclinically, and that the effects seen are based on edematous “plumping” of the skin due to subclinical injury. If so, this cannot be good since we now know that chronic smoldering inflammation is a pro-aging phenomenon.

    By now, the Nerium folks have surely seen or been made aware of our skepticism. Where are they? Why do they not post? Why are they not correcting our misguided ways? Our biggest critics are brand partners who don’t like to see their golden goose harmed in any way.

    Our motto at BFT is “Truth Matters.” It’s why we started this blogsite. It’s why we await scientific verification of the alleged benefits of NeriumAD before we change our opinion. We will do so quickly when and if that information is made available. We’re not such old dogs that we wouldn’t love to learn a new trick or two.

    • curtis says:

      Forget waiting on them. If you are making the accusations against them would not it be upon you to contact them personally like make a visit in person and not rely on a letter or email contact. Surely i can’t be that hard to reach someone there.

      • drjohn says:

        Let’s see, they don’t return our calls, e-mails, or letters, but you still think “it can’t be that hard”. No, we are not going to show up on their doorstep. You have us mixed up with 60 Minutes. Maybe we could get them interested.

    • sd says:

      You lost my attention and respect with the first two words of your article (after the quote). Who in their right intelligent mind starts an article (hoping that people will glean ANYTHING from) with the words…”WE SUSPECT”….no matter what comes after those words holds absolutely NO credibility. you must have a lot of free time on your hands.

      • drjohn says:

        Let’s see now, words that indicate we are expressing our opinion (as highly educated science guys who happen to work in the skin trade) means we have no credibility. I guess the folks in the checkered suits spewing forth marketing babble are OK with you though. They are believable. Sorry but WE SUSPECT you lack discernment and WE ARE OF THE OPINION you may have imbibed laced kool aid through a fire hose.

    • sd says:

      I am not in this for a long argument but was also wondering why you think the Nerium Execs owe YOU clarification or even the time of day? They don’t spend their time reading your opinion based blog. Even if they do read it, they certainly are not going to spend time responding to the slander that is already in play. I’m wondering why I spent so much time on this article? time to go do something more productive!

      • drjohn says:

        They don’t owe us, but we think they owe the marketplace (i.e. people who are contemplating using their products) an explanation of this apparent paradox. Maybe they also owe it to the people (read around here) who have used the product and had skin problems suddenly erupt. And you are wrong they don’t read our blog. For that we have much evidence. We could go on, but you seem to like short debates.

  6. CRE says:

    Fast question for you guys: You do not address the ST&T documentation and you do not explain the thousands of non-paid before and after pictures. You question the science but not the results.
    I recommend that you stick to your science because your knowledge of direct sales (network marketing – MLM) is weak at best. You have no credentials to be taken seriously with regard to successful companies. You assume that all distributors want CEO income. Compare the janitor income of BOA with upper managemetn (0.02 of the employee base). You get out of life what you put into it. Anyway, I hope you have success selling your product however you choose to. Sounds like you are envious of the comany that has more customers than distributors and huge reorder rates.

    • drjohn says:

      Pictures are easy to manipulate. Reorder rates mean nothing in a MLM, because things are ordered for a different reason than product satisfaction (usually de$peration). We question the science and the results. Your assumption about our lack of business experience or credentials is incorrect. Your assumptions about our assumptions are incorrect. Your assumptions about our being envious of Nerium is incorrect. Sorry you drank the Kool Aid, but don’t be peddling it around here. Thanks for wishing us well, and we wish the same to you.

      • Nikki says:

        I am a brand partner and have been since end of February. … The reason that company is not going to answer your questions regarding hot and cold press? They would be giving away the proprietary know how on exactly how they have come up with the product. Period.
        If you accidentally discovered the glue for Post It notes, would you then post exactly the processes you used? No you would not. Just stop all of this nonsense about Nerium. I haven’t drank the kool aid. I have personally seen results UP AND BEYOND what it says it can do.

        • drjohn says:


          • Collin Campbell says:

            I admit I too was very skeptical of the NeriumAD product. I heard Nerium Oleander and automatically said, “Poison, toxic, etc.” No way I was going to put it on my face. My wife works for a photography company and uses programs like photoshop and other software. I showed her the pictures because I believe them to be manipulated as well.

            Well, I took the 2 week challenge of using NeriumAD to see what it could possibly do for my acne scarring after suffering from years of acne as a youth and into my twenties. (Now Nerium is not marketed as being for this treatment.) After a few weeks I saw some results. After 30 Days, I saw amazing results. Now to combat my belief that the photos were being manipulated, I had my wife take the before and after photos with my cell phone (8 MegaPixel camera) and compared them side by side.

            The results were mind blowing! So after this, I had my wife take a look at the other before & after photos to see if they had been manipulated or “touched up”. After hours of examining them, she said she could find NO signs of manipulation on the photos she evaluated.

            I too am interested in hearing more about the science of how the product ingredients (active and in active) work to produce the results they are. But I know from the $400 Million in sales in 2 years, with less than 100 bottles of NeriumAD returned via their 30 Day Money Back Guarantee, that the product performs as it claims.

          • drgeorge says:

            Gee, Collin, don’t you think your credibility might be enhanced if you admitted upfront that you and your wife are Nerium International Directors? All this blather about your wife’s expertise in photoshop and her scrutinizing the before and after photos for hours and finding them devoid of any photo retouching seems a little hollow knowing you are both bona fide kool-aid drinkers.

            Oh, and by the way, is it also her opinion that Ray Liotta’s lawsuit about his face being used to sell Nerium, with fake before and after photos, no less, (as Mr. Liotta’s lawsuit claims) is just his attempt to use the courts to get his hands on some of the millions Nerium has made thus far?

          • sean ray says:


            Your bare faced truth is article farce with trying to be scientific and intellectual about Nerium.

            Give everyone a break…. if your so disbelieving why don’t you try it and have the before and after pics documented???
            or would you manipulate the pics??

            I am sure you have the resources to test it on yourself and document it.

          • drjohn says:

            You say we are trying to be scientific and intellectual – AND that we are a farce? What scientific evidence, or intellect, do you bring to the table in order to make that claim? The answer is obvious – you present neither. And if you read thoroughly through all the Nerium documentation on this site, you would already know the answer to your question. We don’t put it on our faces because it contains a well documented poison, and has published papers showing that it causes massive oxidative stress to cells. Would that make us smart in your eyes? If so, I suggest you have a blindness to truth.

    • Michelle says:

      I work with the Dr. That conducted the clinical trials. They are authentic. He is a very respected Plastic Surgeon, that conducts many, many clinical trials. There are also Tox reports that were done and they do not support your claims.

      • drjohn says:

        We have made no claims. Nerium is the one making claims (that’s the way it works). We merely express opinions.The toxicology reports only say that there is not enough of the oleandrin to get absorbed into the bloodstream. Says nothing about what it does to the skin. Nobody has explained to us why a known cytotoxin that causes massive oxidative stress as it kills cells can be anti-aging. So, why isn’t this “very respected Plastic Surgeon” willing to come here and debate this with us in a respectful, collegial fashion? He’s the expert, and we are but humble country doctors, so why is he afraid of us? Consider, we have 40,000 sets of eyeballs a month reading this stuff – you would think they would want to “set the record straight if they has a real argument to make to some fellow scientists.

        • Michelle says:

          I think fear is not the word for it. Probably more of a disinterest. He conducts a lot of clinical trials, he does not make money off of the products, he does not defend or champion these procedures or products. He conducts trials and reports his findings.

          • drjohn says:

            Well, then it seem like every doctor or scientist who has every worked with Nerium AD is rather disinterested. None of them will come here and answer the seemingly simple questions we raise. And yet these same questions are so core to the long range safety/efficacy issue that NOT considering them seems like it would be igmoring something important. He may not be afraid , but it makes me shiver to think that the scientists testing Nerium are uninterested in these questions. Really odd picture you paint.

  7. Matthew says:

    I have a question for you guys. First off I am not associated with the company. I am actually an anti-network marketer, LOL. I do not at all like the industry. I have a friend that wanted me to try out this product.

    In your reviews you claim that Nerium AD kills cells which is harmful. According to the research from M.D. Anderson Nerium Biotechnology websites makes this claim:

    “Cancer research at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center has demonstrated that components of Anvirzel™ are active on dual pathways at the cellular level to promote apoptosis and/or autophagy (cell death) in human tumors but not normal cells.”

    Is Anvirzel the same extract that is used in the Nerium AD product?


  8. Drgeorge says:

    Interesting information surfaced answering your question. As it turns out, we are into a major apples and oranges situation, now.

    1) Anverzel was tested in a very constrained way and the promotion of apoptosis and autophagy seen in cultures of a variety of cancer cells was not seen in cultures of “normal cells”.
    2) The “normal cells” were taken from standard epithelial cells that are cultured in laboratories routinely.
    3) Cancer and normal cells were placed into separate cultures and after a 24 hr adjustment period, they were exposed to various concentrations to the oleander extract used in Anvirzel.
    4) Cells were monitored for 72 hours. Cancer cells appeared adversely affected with slower proliferation and increases in apoptosis and autophagy: normal cells did not.

    Short term (72 hr.) exposure of cultured cells is a good test for acute toxicity but is valueless in determining the effects of longer exposure. Having substantially slower metabolic rates than cancer cells, normal cells may not be as susceptible to the metabolic perturbations as malignant cells. In only three days, all that can be said is positive therapeutic effect was seen in cancer cells and there was no apparent injury to the normal cells…yet.

    Longer exposure might result in adverse effect in normal cells that just takes longer to manifest. This study does not test that possibility. Granted, it may still be “safe” for a period of time, but this is not even close to “proof.”

    Here’s the real interesting part. The extract in Anverzel is not the same one used in NeriumAD so all conclusions from the study cited are invalid as proof of safety for chronic exposure over a much longer period of time.

    From an article about Anvirzel’s oleander extract active ingredient:

    “An HPLC/MS/MS method has been developed for the characterization and quantification of the cardiac glycosides oleandrin, odoroside, neritaloside and the aglycone oleandrigenin, all contained in a patented-hot-water extract of Nerium oleander (Anvirzel).”

    This is not the same extraction process used to create the oleander extract used in NeriumAD.

    From the Nerium Biotchnology, Inc. website:

    “Nerium SkinCare, Inc. utilizes Nerium’s new patent-pending extraction technology NBio-PL² ™ for its skincare products. This extraction technology incorporates pure liquid Aloe Vera (cold processed) to extract the unique Nerium oleander plant components in a way that preserves the unique and beneficial properties of both plants, without additional solvents.”

    We are now in an interesting place. The process used to extract the actives used in the cancer/normal cells study is not the same process used to extract the actives in the NeriumAD product. One process is heat related, the other is not. That means the foundational science at the crux of the “nerium oleander, new cancer drug, M D Anderson Cancer Center, effective yet safe” story is not even the same as what is in the product.

    Nerium Biotechnology, Inc., would you mind clarifying all this so BFT can move on to other matters?

  9. Gina says:

    What exactly do you want clarified?

    • drjohn says:

      Um – how about “all of the above”? Gina – are you a Nerium scientist? Can you answer these questions (we hope so)? What is your role?

  10. Drgeorge says:

    Gina, are you the one offering to provide the clarification? (although that doesn’t really matter).

    1. What value in proving long term safety of NeriumAD is a three day cell culture study looking at actives that are derived by a substantially different extraction process although from the same botanical source?
    2. Are the actives in NeriiumAD and Anverzel the same or different?
    3. If different, how so? Composition? Concentration?
    4. If malignant cells respond through lethal alterations when exposed to the active(s) in Anverzel over the course of 72 hours, what can be extrapolated in terms of long-term safety for normal tissues?
    5. THE BIG QUESTION: If extracted actives from the nerium oleander plant are lethal to malignant cells and viral replication, which is the largely touted foundational “miracle” of the oleander plant upon which the entire M D Anderson Cancer Center “hook” has been fabricated, what plausible and reasonable scientific hypothesis accounts for the anti-aging benefits seen in non-cancerous skin cells?
    6. Following the eureka moment when the “accidental” finding of oleander extract benefits on skin were first noticed, was there no scientific curiosity as to how that was possible? What subsequent studies have looked into this? Has the possiblility of sub-clinical chronic deleterious effect on normal cells been considered? Has it been eliminated as a concern?

    Scientifically consistent mechanisms of action are nice to have. They add credibility to marketing messages and give consumers a rational reason to try a product. The” trust us, we know what we’re talking about, you have our word on it” approach is difficult to accept when the science is so problematic and potentially contradictory.

    BFT would love to have this clarified once and for all. Still waiting….

  11. Amy Donatello says:

    I know darn well, you are not going to get any of these questions answered. If any Nerium folks are reading your website they are saying to themselves, “Uh-oh, I could really be busted if this gets out because you know what I can’t answer any of their questions, because we never even thought this much about it! I just hope that BFT are wrong and the long term effects won’t be bad and we can still make lots of money from stupid people that will believe anything if it might make them look younger”).

    You don’t have to post this – just had to say it.

    • drjohn says:

      Worthy of posting, Amy. And it gives me a chance to point out that we are now getting close to a thousand visits a day from seekers of information about Nerium. Would make sense to me if the Nerium folks decided to address us. Let me repeat — we remain entirely open to being proven wrong. I think we might even enjoy it. Bring us your science, your scientists, your meaningful data, your best arguments. Let’s debate it right here in a scholarly, gentlemanly fashion.

  12. Kathryn says:

    I wanted to share my firsthand experience with ONE APPLICATION of Nerium. I found your website after experiencing an adverse reaction to the product. I had repeatedly read and been told that “there are no side effects or reports of adverse reactions” to Nerium. I had researched the product before using it (albeit a rather perfunctory search) and so decided to take a chance and try the product.

    After all, thousands of folks are using it and — “there are no reports of adverse reactions.”

    Within several moments of applying this product to my face and neck, my skin began burning. I immediately washed it off my skin but the burning has continued now for almost three hours. Small capillaries on my face have burst in tiny weblike patterns. I am now applying ice compacts to my face every 10 minutes; the burning is subsiding.

    I wish I had read your website before using this product.

    • RN says:

      I too had a similar experience with Nerium. After only the second trial day, I experienced redness, burning and stinging. I discontinued my trial packets and ended up with blistered and later scabbed pores. I informed my rep of this reaction and was reassured that she had over 100 users who have had no adverse effects. When I inquired about the research results, I was told that they’ll reach out to one of their physicians with this issue. It has been a couple of weeks and I have not heard anything. I posted my photo on my FB page where I know several of my FB “friends” are product reps., but no one seems to provide any comments…Rarely are FB users lost for words on a post!!

      I’m still waiting on the “Real Results” scientific and research results!

      • drjohn says:

        Wait, they have physicians? Not a single MD or PhD scientist or anyone official has showed up hereto debate us, though we have invited them. Our readership is growing leaps and bounds. You would think they might want to defend their position.

  13. rreeves79 says:

    I am a licensed esthetician with my own practice. Just recently someone within the cosmetology industry whom I was in the process of networking my business with began fervently telling me I needed to jump on this amazing money making skin care line and go to a meeting. This series on Nerium is absolutely wonderful because as a “newbie” in the field of esthetics it confirmed what I already concluded from researching the toxicology of nerium oleander.

    I’m quite particular about what products I use on myself and my clients in my practice or offer in back bar. This is due to the fact that I have a unique client base much like myself. We happen to be the unique group of people whom have hyper sensitivities to a variety of common irritants put into beauty care by big companies. If you think you can trust a company based on it’s name or the people peddling it you should really consider the fact that they might be more in it for the lining of their pockets.

    I say this because 6 years ago I ended up in the hospital ER with an ungodly reaction to sodium lauryl sulfate. My entire system began to go crazy. My entire mouth ulcerated, my tongue began to swell, and I woke up choking in my sleep. Had we not gotten to the ER that night or if I had not woken up my body would have continued the inflammation process. End result – my tongue would have blocked my wind pipe – no oxygen and you choke on your saliva till you die!!

    The fact that people are so gullible, desperate, etc. is sad!! I’m not saying we should distrust every company out there or believe there are conspiracies afoot. I’m saying use your brain – most of us have one we just choose to not utilize it to it’s fullest capability to rationalize things in life. I mean lets be honest when it comes to today’s cancer treatments most of them harm our bodies in some fashion (chemo, radiation, etc.) so to think that nerium oleander used in cancer treatments is safe for those whom are otherwise healthy defies all common sense and logic. Just my thoughts.

    I’m disappointed that someone I only just met through my business and selling them one of my products could fall for such absurdity and then have the audacity to try getting me involved in this bologna. I’m sorry to those whom I’ve read comments where they’ve experienced bad results from this supposed miracle skin care line or the company itself. Although I always remember a specific phrase – if it sounds too good to be true it often is!!

  14. Nicole says:

    My experience was negative as well I delvoloped cluster migranes out of the blue once I tried usine Nerium, cleared my acne up great. Not worth a horrible quality of life, and being stuck in a bed for 2 weekd due to migranes out of the blue quit using it and no more cluster migranes. Someone explain that to me.

  15. Sandy says:

    I too was given a bottle of Nerium to try. I found your website while trying to research Nerium…I need to return the bottle to the rep tomorrow….so I need some information, and fast! I’m an esthetician and my clients have been asking what I know about Nerium so I thought I should see for my self if this product is the real-deal. After listening to the sales pitch, I left the meeting wondering if this so-called- “miracle in a bottle” was more of an anti-inflammatory(the rep wasn’t clear on how the ingredients work). I am now on my 6th day of use and have noticed some peeling, similiar affects as with use of retin A. My understanding of the over use of retin A or the like, can actually have a negative affect and thin the skin–basically traumatising the skin. Is the oleaner extract considered an exfoliant therefore increasing cell turn over? In simple terms, can you explain how the oleander plant affects the skin? Again in simple terms so I can pass the information on to my clients. Thank you and I look forward to your response.

    • drjohn says:

      Sandy, in the work performed investigating the anti-cancer properties of nerium oleander extracts, they were found to be cytotoxins, causing apoptosis (cell death). When a cytotoxic apoptosis occurs, the pre-programmed death sequence of a cell is prematurely turned on. Once turned on, it can’t be turned off. Dying epidermal cells send signals to deeper cells to let them know they are dying. This turns on basal cells, effectively increasing skin turnover. While nobody has told us how the nerium “anti-aging” product is supposed to work, this is what we are left with in terms of known science. So you are probably right – like an exfoliant in that sense. But not anti-inflammatory – rather it is an inflammatory event. The immune system is called up to try to counter the chemical insult causing cells to die. This can lead to inflammaging in the long term. Tell your clients to read barefacedtruth!

  16. Michelle says:

    Wow… I’m glad I read this site before applying this cream to my face. Always skeptical about direct marketing sales and now more worred about the long term effects of using this product for the people purchasing it. I would not be surprised if we end up seeing a class action lawsuit eventually.

  17. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for putting all of this valuable information up for me to read. I tried Nerium for only three days and started experiencing spontaneous edema on my lower lid area. It has been coming and going for a week, even though I completely stopped the product after the third night. My lower lids turn dark red and hot, and then swell into a “hive-like” spot. Hydrocortisone seems to help. Do you have any idea about how long this may last?

    • drjohn says:

      If its a reaction to plant toxins, it should resolve within a few days. Wash with water and a good cleanser to remove any nasty chemicals that may have stuck. The hydrocortisone is a good idea if it swells again. If it persists, see your doctor.

      • jamie says:

        You mentioned that once the cells are signaled to die off and the basal cells increase skin turnover that it can’t be turned off. So I have used this product for 5 days and I plan to stop using it, but will this signal stop once I stop using the product??

  18. mandy says:

    So is Nerium comparable to using a tretitoin cream?

    • drjohn says:

      No. Tretinoin has been extensively reported in the peer-reviewed medical literature for it’s efficacy and safety. No such thing for Nerium, where the only literature speaks to it being a very potent poison, and useful in killing cancer cells. Tretinoin increases the production of new cells. Nerium is a cell assassin, according to the medical literature.

  19. Gale says:

    Well, i received a recommendation to use Nerium from my doctor after seeing a brochure in his office–he is signing up people. I received the product and have begun using it. Have used it for 3 days. I posted my website–the result of signing up at my doctors office–and received your website link from a family member who had done some research on the product. I, of course, did not research it due to the recommendation from my doctor (gynecologist BTW). So, first thing after posting this I am going to cancel my “subscription” and return the product. Here’s hoping I get my money back! Thanks for being out there for the general public. Your site is bookmarked!

    • drjohn says:

      An OB/GYN recommending nerium oleander? I cannot believe it. Every physician (and anyone who can google) can read about the deadly properties of oleandrin on a growing fetus. In Asia, it is used to cause abortion. You can argue all you want that it doesn’t get absorbed from the skin in amounts that cause danger to adults, but tiny fetuses are so very vulnerable. We need to get the message to the medical community that this is really unacceptable.

      From Livestrong:

      Nerium oleander is a small evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia, northern Africa and the eastern region of the Mediterranean basin. Traditionally, Nerium oleander extract has been used as a medicinal supplement to treat ulcers, leprosy and hemorrhoids and induce abortion in pregnant women. There is no scientific evidence suggesting that such uses of Nerium oleander are safe or effective. In fact, even in small doses, Nerium oleander is extremely toxic and is deemed unsafe for use by anyone.

      • Dave J says:

        If its not a drug, is it allowed to make a claim? Look at the big companies who are in trouble for doing that. Wall Street Journal Oct 2012.
        And youre on about a plant toxin when these people are doing botox?
        All of a sudden an overflow of negative stories…..interesting

        • drjohn says:

          Cosmetics are allowed to make claims about appearance but not structure or function changes. Not sure how Botox of course is a drug, and is regulated as such.

  20. Nan says:

    I have used Nerium for 2 weeks and the predicted results were minimal. My skin dried out and look horrible in the morning before I rinsed it off. The water helped re-moisturize my face, but I also suffered other adverse systems. My eyes puffed up and I started having early morning headaches. My skin dried out even after I applied my regular daytime face cream. I do think anyone suffering similar symptoms should reconsider continued use of this product.
    Just my humble opinion.

  21. Robert says:

    80% of all pharmaceutical drugs do not make it to market because they cannot exceed the placebo effect….Can you imagine the placebo effect NeriumAD is influencing…

  22. Drgeorge says:

    Placebo effect is the improvement in the patient being studied using a non-active substance; it is doubtful wishful thinking on the part of a patient is going to yield substantial improvement in a bleeding disorder, infection or serious skin rash. Effects on mood, pain and the like are a different matter. Imagine what the placebo effect is of a purported anti-aging skincare product on someone promised downstream riches if they just get involved and convince others to do the same.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I was approached by a sales person to sell this product, you can listen to their not so informative product information calls, all they do is talk about how well it’s selling, nothing on the science… “712-432-1085 pin 740917#”

    • Anonymous 2 says:

      Amazing!! I just listened to the entire call and it was all about hype, money, momentum, ‘blowing it out”, and not a word about skin care, science, doing good deeds – just $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ and new Lexus cars.

      This is not selling, this is mob hysteria. It reminds me of a political movement – Russia during WW I, and Germany in the 1930’s. Anaheim Bash, here I come!! Gotta see this in person.

  24. ibasq says:

    But apoptosis applies to damaged cells only correct? Isn’t it when cells damaged from UVA light self destruct before they turn cancerous? So it doesn’t apply to healthy cells right? I mean even caffiene induces apoptosis doesn’t it?

    • drjohn says:

      Yes, apoptosis is a cell death mechanism that is programmed into every cell, and yes the program can be initiated by many events, including UV damage to cellular DNA. Apoptosis happens in healthy cells if they have their DNA damaged (or one of the other intracellular events that turns on the apoptosis mechanism). And apoptosis occurs in senescent cells, seemingly as a way of preventing them from undergoing DNA mutation (old cells are more vulnerable). Caffeine works through one specific pathway (p53 induction, a key checkpoint in the cell cycle). Apoptosis is part of how cancers are prevented (or detected early and removed) in our bodies, so it can work to our favor.

      • ibasq says:

        “Apoptosis happens in healthy cells if they have their DNA damaged”

        Wouldn’t that make it a damaged cell? If the DNA is damaged it isn’t a “healthy cell” is it?

        • drjohn says:

          Sorry for the confusion, I should have been more specific. What I meant by healthy is that the cell was otherwise healthy before the apoptotic process was initiated. For instance, apoptosis can occur in cells where DNA has become damaged, but the same process also occurs during embryogenesis and is why we have fingers (the cells between fingers apoptose). Those cells weren’t unhealthy, just unwelcome (unless you think webbed fingers are a good thing). So, apoptosis can be a good thing, or a not so good thing. If you have too little of it, you will be susceptible to cancer. Too much, and you may experience excessive cell loss, or tissue atrophy. It is all about balance, and context.

  25. Tyler says:

    It would be nice if a real Doctor actually verified your science. Throw skeptism at skeptical people and the result is fear. Well played. Not original though. This is merely a blog lying to build another product. ST&T does does testing for MD Anderson and john Hopkins same company that tested out NeriumAD I see. This is where people need to understand anyone can write on the internet and lie. This comment will be censored. Enjoy! Tyler

    • drjohn says:

      Neriumite Tyler wants to discredit us. The docs at BFT both have M.D. degrees, and consult regularly with a bunch of colleagues with M.D.’s, PhD’s and MBA’s). Here is the dilemma for Tyler and his crowd. It seems they are unable or unwilling to argue from science or logic, so they instead try to attack us as individuals. It’s called an ad hominem attack. This is an attempt to discredit the debater, in order to to divert attention away from the facts. Let’s be clear, the facts don’t even come from our research, but from the work of others, published mainly in peer-reviewed medical journals. By such luminaries as Robert Newman PhD ( his work is of particular interest, as he and his colleagues at MD Anderson pioneered the work to discover how cardiac glycosides work at a cellular level). If poor Tyler understood anything about the science, or could read what we write here, he would know that we are not taking issue with the work of ST&T. Or any system toxicology studies., We instead point to the questions it does not answer. The gaping holes in the story, so to speak. BTW – our AG has not expressed a scintilla of interest in what we do here; that’s another Nerium threat or maybe urban myth at this point. Finally, we published his comment (although we corrected all the untruths) so Tyler is actually 0 for 7 today. We wish Tyler and all those who dream of iPads and Lexuses the best. Do they they could use a fact checker though. Right Tyler?

    • A Fellow Truth Seeker says:

      You do know there’s a difference between a “real” MEDICAL doctor (an MD) and a doctor of philosophy (PhD)?

      From what I understand, MDs don’t need a doctorate or PhD credentials to do scientific or medical research.
      But I’m willing to be corrected if wrong.

      • drjohn says:

        MD is a doctorate level degree. MD’s receive training in basic science as well as clinical science. MD’s and PhD’s work side by side in research.

  26. Tyler says:

    Right lol enjoy.

  27. Jennifer says:

    Right now, as I type, I am shaking with fury! I am usually so not the impulsive type but I was this past week. Iam regretting the heck out of it. I was invited by an association to come to a salon where another woman ( a brand partner of course) had recruited my associate to be a brand partner. There, they had me to watch a video, etc., etc. So I ended up buying a tube on impulse because I had somewhere to be and had to go. I told these two people that I would try the Nerium to see if the claims were all they said they would be before I would ever think of selling it.

    Well, that night, before I ever considered putting the cream on my face…..I researched like crazy! I didn’t like what I was finding. Putting two and two togehter wasn’t getting uglier by the minute. There wasn’t much information for me to look up from other people but I started breaking down things like the research the brand partner verses what this plant was and so on. So, I called this main brand partner ( not my associate ) and said that I’m returning the cream unused because it doesn’t seem safe over the long term and was very questionable short term even. Well, she spun this pretty story. Since I’m not a doctor or great at explaining what my mind has already put together, I tried it just one night of cream because I questioned myself. That stuff swelled my eyes underneath by the next morning along with some severe headaches.

    Then, I found this site which pretty much summed up my suspicions that I was having except you guys put what my subconcious mind was telling me into much better words. It gets worse from here.

    I work for a company that contracts with several doctors of many different specialties. I handle all of their schedules for the type of work we do. I asked a couple of them also of what they thought and they pretty much had the same thoughts as Drjohn. One of the doctor’s I asked even has a special interest in cell regeneration.

    Once again, I went to tell the brand leader I’m returning my product and have no interest in particpating or using the cream. I couldn’t reach her so I left a text message. The partner tried to call me back but I felt that it was best to not answer and just send back the product because this girl just wouldn’t leave me alone!! She had left me a message stating that a “researcher” wanted to talk to me. I didn’t want to hear anymore pretty words. She then pretty much demanded that I send her all the doctors information that I talked to because her doctor friend who will be in town next week near Dallas and would LOVE to talk to my doctors. I explained to her that my job is not her playground to jeopardize my way of living in order for her to bring Nerium drama to doctors who were just nice enough to give me their feedback because I’ve worked with them for a long time. I had told this brand partner that I wasn’t comfortable with putting Nerium on my face and that the doctors i work with didn’t seem to feel great about it either. (I suspect that all this brand partner is trying to do is make a big sell to my contracted doctors at my expense which would be a breach of trust with my employer and doctors) She got very irritated and texted me saying that “if a doctor has a concern and much education about a product of the science breakdown and how to make use of a product then it shouldn’t be an issue. What part of “trust” and “this is my way of life” did she not understand??? Some of those doctors gave me their feedback out of a rapport that I created with them over the years. They are not the ones who came to me seeking answers about a stupid “product of Science”!!! Not only do I care about the doctors I work with and respect but I couldn’t expect for my employer to put up with me handing over company information. I’m a single mother that has sole responsibility of everything. I would absolutely LOVE and NEED the extra income but not like this.

    Where in the world was the sweet girl who told me what a great product this was? I’m assuming that this brand partner is probably very good at climbing pyramids. She was nice to me as long as I didn’t say no. I had also reiterated questions posed from here from you Drjohn and used the same argument. The partner told me that none of what I said is correct. She has given me all the reasons for Nerium being a good product that I have seen on here. I’m going with my gut on this one and saying NO to Nerium. This is why buying on impulse is never good and am kicking myself real good for it. By the way, the associate that invited me to this whole thing to begin with has remained mysteriously silent and has completely stayed out of all of this. I hope whatever budding friendship that was beginning doesn’t end up ruined because of this main brand partner.

  28. Caguilar says:

    that conversation regarding the fibrosis issue is regarding the Avon product on this site.

  29. Angel says:

    I tried Nerium for a week and now my skin looks older than it did before I tried that awful stuff. What can I do to repair the damage done ?

  30. Anon says:

    If there are more BPs in Nerium like “Dave J,” then I feel sorry for Nerium….

  31. Theresa says:

    Some scary stuff here. I have it on my face right now for the first time. I am a massage therapist and work at a spa and they do a certain type of chemical peel there that causes topical cell death with peeling and redness for several days but the effects are amazing. I haven’t done it but I’ve seen co-workers results. If this works much the same way, would it not be ok to use it occasionally as opposed to everyday? Would it still be as effective? or once the desired/maximum effect is achieved, shift to once a week or so? Then one could buy it retail and it would last a long time. I Have no idea, this is the first time I’m using it. Other than a strange tightness and tingling sensation and a kind of weird smell (not repulsive) I’m not having a problem. I will use it for a week if I don’t have any ill effects and see what happens. Also, I eat a very clean, low inflammatory, vegan diet so I imagine that would help lower any reactions, but we’ll see. Thanks for your site.

  32. Barbara says:

    I have developed a face rash that may be the result of using Nerium. It has responded to prednisone but with limited success (i.e. rash returns). I’d like to hear if other product users have developed rashes and what treatment they needed to heal the rash, please. Thank you.

  33. Cindy says:

    I have used Nerium AD for about 30 days now – I have noticed that the wrinkles around my eyes have decreased tremendously, my chicken pox scars are less noticeable (I had them very bad as a child), the brown patchy areas are fading and my pores are not as enlarged as they used to be. My concern is the long term effects of using this product after reading all of these negative blogs and knowing that it is toxic. What are the long term effects? What will happen if I use it a long time and what may happen when I discontinue using it? A lot of unanswered questions – yet a lot of positive results so far??? I finally find something that works for me and then find out it could have negative results later on!!????? Please reply as I would like to get an opinion or facts before I get to far into using this!!!

  34. Drgeorge says:

    Cindy, your questions are precisely the ones BFT asks. Without a plausible and valid explanation of the mechanism of action for the improvements seen with Nerium AD, you’ll have to rely upon your own risk/benefit analysis in making your decision about continued use.

  35. Christine says:

    I am so glad I found this site! A family member approached me with Nerium about 9 months ago and I was very hesitant to even try it because of the MLM behind it. I was also very skeptical about all their claims. I researched the product back then and only found glowing feedback about how wonderful this stuff is. It’s interesting to see that the brand partners are becoming outnumbered by more negative reviews as the MLM movement reaches more people. I was recently given a bottle to try out so thought I’d give it a shot since I didn’t have to invest anything into it. I tried it for 7 days and liked the way it tightened my skin immediately after applying it. However, I noticed my lips were swollen each morning. It took me a few days to realize that it may be a reaction to the Nerium. I have never had an allergic reaction to anything and do not have sensitive skin. It worries me that people are pushing this without really knowing how much harm it could be doing. Anyway, I was not impressed. My skin did not pass the 7 day challenge, and although I didn’t breakout in hives or a rash, my skin appears less vibrant than it did when I started.

  36. Anna says:

    I have an issue with how some (most) of the people that are selling Nerium AD are attacking anyone that is voicing their opinions against it. They are making the product seem even more like a scam then the critics are. I have been using the 30 day trial and have noticed some positive changes; if it continues to make a noticeable difference I will consider selling it. Reading the thoughts and opinions of intelligent people who have come out against the product helps me make a more educated decision. It would also help if some of the experts behind this product would share more in depth details on the benefits and the possible dangers.

  37. Bob says:

    There are a number of grave, unanswered questions about this entire enterprise.
    First, they repeatedly tout what is clearly described as a “clinical trial.” Where exactly were the results of this “clinical trial” published? Can you point to a peer reviewed journal that published the results” Certainly, nothing of it is found at

    Their “scientific board” is led by Dr. Robert Newman. Yet, when one reviews the literature, one can easily see a number of papers published by Newman, et al, that repeatedly fail to mention the serious conflict of interest between Newman, his employer Phoenix Biotechnology and the subject matter of the paper. These “miracle papers” always coincide with fundraising by Phoenix from “angel investors” in tranches of $1 to $10 million dollars.

    The actual clinical trial that did test oleander in cancer patients performed in the early 2000’s at Cleveland Clinic did establish a safety dose but noted absolutely no benefit to a cancer patient.

    Then there is the uglier issue of patents. The principals of this company all appear tied to a venture called “Ozelle Pharmaceuticals” from the 1990’s. That venture was fraught with misadventure including two public scaldings by the FDA. The first affair, in 1998, shut down Ozelle when it tried to market a capsule containing oleander extract as being dangerous and reckless. Yet, here we are 15-years later and the same cast of characters have repackaged the product as a skin cream. A check with the FDA database revealed no filings by these people which makes me wonder, why?

    When Ozelle stumbled, Knocke, Crandall Addington and Lou Kost started a cancer clinic down in Honduras selling another oleander product they called “Anvirzel.” They obtained a registration of this compound as a drug from the Hondurans, who were misled to believe that the drug had been previously approved by the FDA in the US.,

    With the Honduran certificate in hand, they began to pump Anvirzel back over the US border to cancer patients as an injectable drug, on the theor that the Hondurans had approved it.

    Meanwhile, Phoenix claimed to have planted vast oleander plantations in Honduras.

    M.D. Anderson continues to pursue clinical studies in cancer patients but even if they achieve that, they will likely achieve commercial success since this drug has been listed in the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia for about 200 years or so – it’s a generic drug on arrival.

    Back to the fabled clinical trial they tout – why haven’t they published the report of the study? Was it blinded? Double blinded? Placebo controlled? What’s the FDA’s view on all this? You cant even sell hand lotion in this country without a “mother may I” letter to the FDA – it’s called a 75-day letter. Where’s theirs?

    Too man unanswered questions about a product and group of promoters who rely on shady science, questionable scientific ethics, unpublished “clinical trials” and a paucity of public information with the FDA.

    Investigate before you invest and always, know who is pulling the strings behind the scenes in any MLM.

  38. Kameron says:

    I have used Nerium for almost 2 months now – I’m on my second bottle. My face has always had minimal to no acne, but in the last 6 weeks I have had breakouts rivaling my 16-year old self. At first I thought it might just be hormonal, as the timing lined up, but I’m starting to believe it is related to the Nerium. I’m cancelling my “subscription” immediately after the research I’ve done today, and telling my old friend (through whom I bought into this) “so sorry”. This is some scary stuff here!

  39. LAMA says:

    Cancer research at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center has demonstrated that components of Anvirzel™ are active on dual pathways at the cellular level to promote apoptosis and/or autophagy (cell death) in human tumors but not normal cells. The ten (10) plus years of research performed by The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center has led to the publication of twelve peer-reviewed journal articles that describe Anvirzel™ (Nerium oleander extract) and its components (oleandrin).
    So, this medication is designed to kill cancer cells, not normal cells and I basically Nerium oleander extract. So the concern about the unknown long term effects of oleander on the cells is not necessarily true.

    • drjohn says:

      There are publications demonstrating similar effects on normal (non-cancer) cells. Some CA cells are more susceptible, but most cells share the ion transport mechanism that is poisoned by the oleandrin (cardiac glycosides). We know, for instance that normal heart cells are affected. We know that the heart drug digoxin, another cardiac glycoside, has a quite narrow window of safety such that many people have died when their blood levels of said cardiac glycosides got too high. Oleandrin is a drug.

  40. Drgeorge says:

    LAMA, these studies do nothing to allay BFT’s concerns about the potential for long-term deleterious effects from chronic nightly application of Nerium AD (oleandrin) to normal skin. Recall that cancer cells suffered lethal damage while normal cells did not in an in vitro (“test tube”) experiment that lasted just 72 hours. That is a reasonably good way to do a preliminary test for a drug effect against cancer cells but useless in proving there is no potential for injury to normal tissues. It is an experimental design that says nothing about injury or lack thereof to normal cells if subjected to prolonged exposure to oleandrin.

    BFT’s original question stands: How is the massive oxidative stress that proves lethal to cancer cells of benefit to normal cells? And the corollary question: How does this provide an anti-aging effect?

    The powers that be at Nerium have not addressed these question, nor do the experiments you reference. We appreciate your diligence in looking into the published science; in this case, however, the answers are to questions not being asked.

    • LAMA says:

      I am not for or against the product. If it works for you, use it. If it doesn’t, don’t. Just going to play devils advocate here. Dr. Robert Newman was conducting cancer related research when the other benefits of the Nerium cream were discovered. Do you really think that a physician who actually conducts cancer research is going to put his credibility on the line as a cancer researcher for a face cream? By the way, I am a well educated (research oriented) health professional, so I do understand what you are talking about.

      • drjohn says:

        Dr. Newman is a PhD, not an MD (physician) scientist. Although I have seen Nerium claiming he has an MD. He is an excellent cancer researcher, but has no clinical experience, certainly not in dermatology. But his cancer work seems very solid, though disappointing for the company (Nerium Biotechnology) who can’t seem to get their cancer drug (based on the same ingredient) approved by the FDA (apparently due to safety/efficacy issues). We have asked many times if he would just answer our simple questions about cell level responses to the poison oleandrin, why it might be good for skin, but he has steadfastly refused to even acknowledge the question. Sad, really, because from the beginning all we really wanted was to initiate a dialog so that we, and others, might be alleviated about our concerns when well known cell membrane pump poisons are chronically applied to skin, with the attendant chronic oxidative stress (inflammation = inflammaging). Would have been simple enough to engage in a gentlemanly and scholarly debate, as we invite. I frankly suspect Dr Newman himself would enjoy it, as a scholar, but I also imagine he is under the control of others, who have a decidedly different agenda. Keep wishing I was wrong, and that some day he just calls or writes.

  41. says:

    I run a small (private) facial PS board and moderate a highly (public) commercial one. Although the Nerium sellers don’t get on to my board (no open sign up), I do find them on the commercial board I mod for. They ‘tag’ a person’s post and then go on to tell the poster how great a product they just discovered is. Although i delete and give warnings not to, they get back on again. So, next time, if I find them tagging a post promoting the stuff, I shall add a link to THIS page. LOL.

    • drjohn says:

      They are everywhere. like locusts in mating season. They even come here and try the same devious tricks. We welcome such links as a common pathway to the truth.

  42. Sonja says:

    Thank you all for the lively debate. I am on the 5th day of my Neruim AD trial and the sharks are already calling me to sign up for the cult. Although I had no allergic reaction, I watched my face plump up before my eyes, an inflammatory response. I recently had laser resurfacing and there was initial inflammation then it subsided. I don’t think the body should be in chronic inflammation, though. This product might work as a once a week mask, to be washed off in 20 minutes,,,but that would be a game changer for the main ingrediant…greed!

  43. Conv says:

    There are toxins everywhere. In my opinion we should be much more concerned about the GMO’s in food and the dangers of vaccines. Why is there a higher incidence of cancer in children. Sugar is horrible. Nerium has made a tremendous difference in my skin and therefore my confidence since I am 58. Always had good skin but was starting to look like a Bassett hound with the sagginess. Vanity maybe, don’t care I like looking better. Plus I drink a diet Coke every morning and everyone knows how bad that is for me.

    • drjohn says:

      But none of these substances are known scientifically to cause massive oxidative stress (leading to inflammation & tissue damage). In the long run you might do better with Diet Coke as your morning face wash. But we are willing to be convinced. So, send us your basset hound saggy facial (before) picture, and one after the miracle juju. We shall scrutinize objectively.

  44. dani says:

    Hi Dr John and Dr George. I know you want to be done with the Nerium debate, but I have yet another question for you. Edward P. Krenzelok, PharmD, FAACT, DABAT gave a presentation where he stated that people often use the term oleander to talk about both “Nerium oleander” (common Oleander) and “Thevetia peruviana” (Yellow Oleander). He goes on to say that yellow oleander is the toxic plant. (Although he still does not elaborate on the safety of Nerium oleander in skin care.) Any truth behind this? Does this make a difference? Thoughts?

    • drjohn says:

      You sure he says that? The claim that Nerium oleander is non-poisonous, only its cousin yellow oleander is, would be an easily provable false statement. What makes nerium oleander and other related plants poisonous and potentially fatal is a group of chemicals named cardiac glycosides. These include oleandrin and oleandrigenin. That Nerium oleander contains these in abundance has been extensively documented by Nerium Biotechnolology as it has pursued nerium extracts as cancer cell killing drugs. And Nerium oleander has been known to be poisonous for millenia. The oleanders have been used throughout history to commit homicide, suicide, and to induce abortions. Toxicology textbooks have documented all this quite extensively.

  45. dani says:

    I have been scrubbing pubmed like crazy trying to find something on how or why oleandrin should not affect normal cells… I know i’m not the only one, but I wish there was more info out there.

    • drjohn says:

      Scrub no more.

      “But the major problem is the toxicity of oleandrin in normal cells and tissues.” Reference: Determination of Efficacy of Anvirzel™ in 37 Established Cancer Cell Lines INTERNATIONAL PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY Volume 3 Issue 3. Anzvirzel is the drug containing cardiac glycosides, made by Nerium Biotechnology from nerium oleander, the parent company that started Nerium Skincare Nerium International. It has failed to get FDA approval. Here is a link:

      Another key source is: Perne A, Muellner MK, Steinrueck M, Craig-Mueller N, Mayerhofer J, et al. (2009) Cardiac Glycosides Induce Cell Death in Human Cells by Inhibiting General Protein Synthesis. PLoS ONE 4(12): e8292. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008292 .

      Some key quotes: “Our results thus far indicate that CGs are general protein synthesis inhibitors which are equally cytotoxic for normal and cancer cells.” and “Our results show no direct specificity of CGs for cancer cells, and provide the reason by showing that they inhibit protein synthesis.” (CG = cardiac glycosides).

      View at:

  46. dani says:

    Thank you for the articles! (And the quick response!) I wonder in a couple years if people will fair worse after using a product for an extended amount of time that is killing off cells. Or maybe the dosage is so low that it’s causing some kind of hormesis which is making cells stronger and producing the good results. We’ll probably never know!

    The brand partner who approached me told me it was an antioxidant…. I smiled and nodded, but in my mind, I thought, “i’m pretty sure it’s not. do you even know what that means?” Hence the research. It’s good people are thoroughly investigating it, but it’s almost too bad for the company–their ingredients and science seems to be scrutinized way more than most beauty products only because of their MLM business plan… (people are already skeptical of MLM’s and they want to expose a shame.) Maybe I’m too optimistic, but I really wanted to believe in them. I saw a TED talk with Shawn Archor, who partnered with Nerium, and it was kind of inspiring. The positive outlook he promotes was seen with the brand partners I’ve talked with. It’s contagious and it really does kind of suck you in!! I guess that’s what the company wants–to suck you in. I guess now my question becomes a philosophical one: if people become better for participating– get out their comfort zone, challenge themselves, simulate their creativity, and work on their interpersonal skills all while doing something they are excited about and enjoy–is it still a scam? Do they lose? (I know, I know, there are other avenues to work on those skills, but they might not be as fun). Anyway, thank you very much for all the insight and info on the product and it’s science! As a 31 year old, my wrinkles, (luckily), aren’t bad enough to where I’m willing to try the product. But maybe I’ll save a bottle for when I’m 60 and they’re out of business. :)

  47. dani says:

    I’m glad my quest for Nerium information brought me to your website! I enjoyed reading your posts on other topics, including your research. Two things: 1. Have any advice for a great sunscreen? 2. If you need people to test your cytokine skin care on, shoot me an email! I’ll sign a waiver!

    • Josie says:

      A good friend is a Brand Partner. I wish her well, but do not, in any way, believe in this product. I tried it initially and did not like how it made my skin feel. At that time I was told not to use any day moisturizers with anti-aging ingredients – Vitamin C, E, peptides, etc. Now I’m told they’re coming out with a day moisturizer that is loaded with these ingredients. What gives here? Seems very contradictory to me. I see my friend working so hard, getting her Lexus but no monetary remuneration. I have an image of flocks of sheep blindly following their master, all bah-ing the same mantra. Kind of sad.

  48. Natural skincare lover says:

    Josie, I had the exact same thing happen to me! I asked the top people, I received several different answers. Overall exactly what you just stated! Of course this is because they now have Another way to push that MLM $ around. I do know that after 3-4 mths most pref customers cancel. Their 3 fall off and so do they, that is IF they found 3 to buy into it. Regardless most cancel Execpt for the ones building a business! That is a money deal not a scientific breakthrough! So many people are falling for the mantra of Nerium’s personal growth they forget they are not making any money, the product may or may not change the appearance of certain people, but fearfully maybe causing oxidative future rapid aging issues! Of course no one knows and the NMD’s do not care! This is the a very sad company NOT Happy!

  49. OhDear says:

    For those people who say “i have searched all over and am so thankful to find a review like this, all the others were so positive” etc. Why waste your time in searching for the negative. If you want to see bad in a product you can see bad in ANYTHING. Of course, there is skepticism about network marketing, but how much do you think Olay pays for 30 seconds of add time? Yeah, they definitely have your best interest in mind. When someone I trusts approaches me about anything they believe in whether or not theyare selling, I listen to what they are saying, observe their results and of course research it.

    However, if you go to a fancy department store, walk up to the counter and get a skin cream for an ungodly amount how much do you grill the store clerk about the ingredients, scientific studies, health risks etc? I bet most can’t even say the 1st ingredient without looking at the label.

    Most don’t know what is in their breakfast cereal, much less their skin cream.

    The only point of this is to say that there will always be a good and bad side to every opinion and if you prefer to see the negative then realize that and decide for youself rather than poor over the internet until you find something that “confirms” your belief. Funny how every other statement must be fraudulent simply because it does not share the same perspective.

    Also, I highly recommend looking for 3rd party sources. Taking the review of a skin care company by another skin care company (any of them same for that matter) is silly. What do you expect them to say “Yes it is fantastic but try ours!”?

    • Drgeorge says:

      Dear OhDear,
      To say there is “a good and bad side” to every opinion is certainly a valid opinion (yours) but hardly an appropriate response to the concerns BFT has voiced about Nerium AD. It seems to us that a rational scientific explanation to a purported “accidental” finding is the least this company owes the consuming public. A toxic plant extract that kills cancer cells intended to be used indefinitely on normal skin raises important issues of public safety. Where are the scientists who know the answers to this question? Why are they not providing explanations to prove this product is safe. BFT is not concerned about systemic safety, yet that is the only information the company provides. BFT is about science and our readers know it. The products we are skeptical about are the ones with questionable science, or in the case of Nerium AD, products that offer no scientific explanation for their accidental findings. In today’s highly technologically advanced world, nothing stays “accidental” for long unless there is a reason. We would love to hear what our readers think that might be. We have our own ideas.

  50. Diana says:

    An hour ago after applying this to my face for the first time (a coworker of mine gave me a free sample to use and she has beautiful skin) I thought I would do a quick google search when I stumbled onto your site. First my suspicion that this was a MLM was confirmed. (First turn off) And since I would never join a MLM group the cost of this product is the 2nd turnoff. Finding out about oleander ingredient (3rd). After finishing reading this entire board I washed this stuff off my face. Done!!!

  51. Andy says:

    Dr. George and Dr. John,

    I am curious if either of you have had any breakthroughs regarding your questions/concerns about the long term effects of Nerium AD. Has the company provided you with answers yet?

    I am a consultant that specializes in Lead Generation for those in the sales. I primarily work with financial advisors and insurance salespeople but I was approached by a person from Nerium that wanted to pay for my services. The MLM side of the company does not bother as long as a person sells a product or service instead of making money by “signing people up” (signing up people is not a business structure).

    Anyway, my concern is about the Nerium product. Have your concerns been put to rest, or is the jury still out so to speak?



    • drgeorge says:

      Andy, thus far Nerium has elected to not provide us with any information despite repeated cordial invitations to discuss the science in a gentlemanly fashion. What’s more, the purported active from the nerium oleander plant, a proved initiator of “massive oxidative stress” in papers published by Dr. Robert Newman (DPharm), and assumably the active in Nerium AD’s main “active” extracted using aloe vera, is now declared to be an “anti-oxidant” in materials handed out by Nerium brand partners at trade shows. (We know, we were sent a copy.) For something to cause massive oxidative stress and then to be called an “anti-oxidant” is the redox (reduction/oxidation) equivalent of a battery changing its polarity. We remain skeptical and once again invite a scientist from Nerium International (or anywhere else, for that matter) to educate us. Until we are enlightened, we stick to our opinion that the purported science (or lack of it) is very troubling. Again, we publicly state we would love to learn new science. We also again confirm that we do NOT believe systemic toxicity is an issue.

    • drjohn says:

      And while systemic (e.g. blood borne) poisoning is not the issue, we remain intensely concerned that the application of a massively oxidative stress chronically to skin will create a state of chronic cutaneous inflammation, and over time that will result in an acceleration of skin aging. We call it skinflamm’aging. Nerium oleander extract may be the most irrational ingredient for (purportedly) anti-aging skincare we have ever encountered, but it is not alone on the list. There are other inflammatory actives. Even stem cell media based actives (something we research) can be somewhat inflammatory if it is not properly managed in terms of the cytokine composition.

      Inflammation causes a short term superficial gain. The immune system draws body water to the inflamed area and puffs it up – we call it subcutaneous edema – and that can reduce the appearance of wrinkles. But, long term, there is damage being done. Although the inflamed dermis may lay down new matrix as a defensive reaction (collagen) the cross linking of that collagen will tend to be of the scarring type. Rigid, inflexible, not abled to to turn over (recycle, as it is supposed to do). At a cellular level, aging has been accelerated.

      We tip our hats to our fellow research docs who have constructed a comprehensive theory of aging (inflamm’aging) which has become the dominant theory in the world of aging biology. In the very near future we will present a series of posts to share this fascinating work with you.

  52. Kari says:

    Hello Dr. John and Dr. George,
    Like so many other readers of this blog, I too am thankful for finding it. I am in the cosmetic business (Botox, Juvederm, lasers, skincare, etc) and was approached by a patient on her recent discovery of this new “amazing product”. Because I like to learn about new technology and products, I attended a seminar thinking I would be hearing scientific data on how this product affects the skin. Nope. All I heard was literally how to sell this product and earn money towards a new Lexus or going on a trip to Mexico. The first 45 minutes was on how to become rich on selling the product. They actually tell you not to “oversell” it since the product sells itself. Nobody there had any background in skincare AT ALL. I then knew I was being lured in to their tiered business plan. The presenter, a $600K+ a year “manager” didn’t use the proper terminology when showing before/after photos, saying things like the brown areas on face as opposed to hyperpigmentation. When asked about the science, I was directed to look at their website. He was unable to answer basic questions and quickly would change the subject back to ways that he could help sell the product. Unbelievable. One gentleman asked about the skin cancer benefits and he was told they weren’t allowed to elaborate on it at this time. I felt like being attacked by sales vultures and they are really a cult. The head guy that started this business model for Nerium (forgot his name) is claimed as the million dollar maker. What????

    Although I did see some improvements after 2 weeks of use, the last thing I want to do is promote possible damage to my healthy cells. Because of their business model AND your research thus far, I am discontinuing my nightly use. Thank goodness I didn’t have to pay for th bottle. I was only suppose to have it for one week but because of my questioning and doubt, she “let” me have the remainder of the bottle. Whippe dee. Thank you for bringing this to light.


    • drjohn says:

      Hi Kari,
      Thank you for your comments. I do want to acknowledge that in the short term (days to weeks) time frame, products that induce a deep dermal inflammatory response can change appearance and convince the user that good things are happening. One part of the dermal inflammation cascade of events is the drawing of fluid (serum, basically body water) to the area. This puffing up can disguise wrinkles, and can also cause coloration changes, hydrational improvements, and increase (surface) turnover (replacing dying/dead cells). OK if you use any inflammatory product for a few weeks and stop, but if you apply chronically you start to get “inflamm’aging”. Many, many products fit this category. To be sure, lasers and acid peels etc. are also inflammatory – but then we don’t recommend getting a procedure like that on a daily or weekly basis, do we? Chronic inflammation is silent, and insidious in its effects. It shows up as stiff collagen cross links, unyielding, non-recyclable, which leads to the same pro-aging cascade that solar irradiation brings. It simply doesn’t add up to apply a “massively oxidizing” substance (their research, not ours) to your face day in and day out. Irrational science.

  53. Andee says:

    In reading through the discussion, I am reminded of microbiology class, where we learned that hydrogen peroxide is toxic to all cells, although some cells, like ours, are catalase positive and therefore are able to metabolize or break down the hydrogen peroxide quickly and minimize damage. We learned that prolonged treatment with or use of hydrogen peroxide can start to cause cell damage because of its toxicity. Can this be likened to the effects of the oleander, then? Perhaps the Nerium AD is beneficial in very small amounts very infrequently, but probably not a good idea in the long term? I am just trying to find something to relate this to in order to be better able to understand the science (or lack thereof) behind the Nerium AD. Thoughts?

    • drjohn says:

      Andee, you may be referring to hormesis wherein small amounts of a toxin are beneficial while larger amounts are harmful. This in fact is the basis of some of the nostrums and snake oil remedies of past centuries. Mercury is a good example, a principle component of “nerve tonics” long since banned. But hormesis doesn’t offer any reassurance to nerium oleander proponents. Daily application of a toxin may have cumulative results which will come back to haunt later.

  54. ReviewerM says:

    Nerium has been all over Facebook, and I ignored all the trial offers until a close friend signed up and claimed that she noticed immediate results. She signed up to sell it so I let her send it to me. The first night, I felt tingling. I found that the smell was unpleasant after the first application, it did not lighten or speed up healing in a blemish I had, a couple small ones popped up (which was unusual because I rarely do break out these days), and my skin felt plump and was rosy. I have some deep pores, which did seem a tiny bit smaller, but I could tell that it was from inflammation. No cream could ever heal scarring that quickly. I took Accutane years ago -twice- and my skin is dry. This made it flaky. I told my friend that I didn’t get any positive results and she was truly disappointed. I believe that she probably see improvement, because she isn’t a dishonest person. I had laser resurfacing once and my skin is better to begin with (no sun damage for one). Perhaps it does more for sun damage, maybe girl needed to moisturize, or it was all placebo – who knows. Anyhow, I am sending the bottles back tomorrow and won’t be one of the three.

    Even if I hadn’t stumbled upon this site, it was too expensive and who needs two bottles a month? I see a lot of Lexus and vacation talk in Facebook, and none of the women peddling it earn a good income. Sadly, they probably can’t afford the creams without selling it. They are either SAHMs, in the restaurant business, or are working other medium wage jobs. The company is clearly going after moderately consumeristic women who couldn’t otherwise afford a luxurious lifestyle (that’s most of America so don’t be offended if this is you). And, I did notice a bit of cult-like behavior. They are all sweet people but they are a bit too loyal to the product. If I want a flipping Lexus, I’ll buy one myself.

    It is time to start taking better care of my skin but this is just sad.

  55. Mel says:

    I was curious to find out more about Nerium when a friend started selling it. Something seemed a bit too good to be true, not to mention the age-old, annoying pyramid scheme. My mom, who is an esthetician, also warned me that some of her clients reported having allergic reactions to it. So I have been digging around to find out what the product actually does and what the ingredients are. I always research things before jumping on the band wagon. It’s the responsible thing to do… Duh! …There are a lot of things that offer “miracle” type results. In a sense, botox is a “miracle” fix, but there can be physical consequences/ reactions, not to mention that your shooting a toxin into your face. Just because the results LOOK nice, doesn’t mean the product isn’t doing something else that’s unhealthy for your body, something you may not see right away. This is why I am thankful for the info you put on this site. Nerium probably does give beautiful visual results to many people (at first), but your calling attention to what else it might be doing. Anyway, thank you for talking about Nerium in depth so at least I have the other side of the picture. I appreciate it.

  56. Camille says:

    Is Nerium as safe as retina to your skin? I just started using and selling it but I’m very confused and concerned..

    • drjohn says:

      Retin-A is a retinoid, a version of Vitamin A. A vitamin (nutritionally essential) to humans. Nerium is based on an extract of Nerium oleander, a known poison to humans. So to begin a discussion of safety, we need to recognize a very critical difference in starting points. Now to that add the following: retinoids as a class are the most researched anti-aging skin ingredient in history. Search on Pubmed (National Library of Medicine online library)for retinoid + skin reveals over 5600 publications. Hundreds of these are about safety. Compare to Nerium oleander which has ZERO publications on a pubmed search for Nerium oleander + safety . Over 60 however on Nerium oleander + skin + toxicity. Hmmmm. Makes you think, doesn’t it? The only safety data the company presents is unpublished, by a little company (ST&T, San Francisco, CA and Nevada, with apparently only one actual employee). More hmmmm. So, that is what the published science literature reports (and doesn’t report). I will let you draw your own conclusions.

  57. Tracey says:

    I have been using Nerium for about five weeks (I was given a bottle for free). I have noticed some improvement in pore size and tone but not enough to pay $110 for the product.

    This morning I woke up to a spot (about the size of a pin head) on my cheek that is bleeding for no apparent reason. This same thing happened on the bridge of my nose about 2 weeks after I started using Nerium. After I get out of the shower there would be one little spot on my nose that would bleed every day for a couple of weeks. There was no scab or pimple that was visible that could be causing it. I’m just wondering if anyone else has had this happen.

  58. Jessica Warner says:

    I normally do not posts on these sites. I too have been approached by Nerium reps that tend to be aggressive and do not know their products. Friends of mines have used it..with no results..and the smell and cost is horrible. All studies point to the products causing health issues..and why would I put that on my skin.

    Very concerned about the reps involved..that seem to be about the fast money..and not long term results and clinical studies..They are not a member of the DSA or is their product FDA approved.

    Thank you..


  59. John says:

    I’m not a scientist but I respect scientists because they do the work and don’t have an axe to grind (Yes, Viriginia, global warming is real!) What we have here are marketers justifying their own ends just like politicians state that global warming doesn’t exist so they can continue getting lobby money from the oil companies.

    However, I am a network marketer, an industry that has gotten a bad name because people will say anything and do anything to hold onto a downline. I’ve been successful in network marketing for 19 years and my frustration is not with the industry–the model is good if you do the work, build good relationships and are honest with yourself and others. Unfortunately, when money is involved, people lapse into denial and justification.

    I put my toe in the water with Nerium because I saw the before and after videos. I don’t even remember the numbers but I had a combination of at least 30 customers and Brand partners in my first month. The fact is that I was one of the 3 people in my group who had seen positive results with the product. I had people I had known who had horrendous experiences with it and one chiropractor lost a patient as a result. So I wonder how many of those before and after videos didn’t make the grade. What got me in and got me out was the expression, “Seeing is believing.” What I had seen is a lot of angry people with no or bad results and the fact that you needed to have 3 customers on autoship was going to be really not something the average person could do. The whole point to network marketing is duplication. Pros will make it in the worst or the best mlm’s but less than 5% of any distributor force in the industry make a living. It’s not the companies’ fault–very few have the mix of skills to make it in this industry. When Amway came out in the 50’s they had a horrible comp plan paying out 3,2 and 1% on 3 levels but make more millionaires than any company in America because the original teams knew how to duplicate and train . . . and they had a horrible reputation with the public. In short, it’s not your product or your comp plan, it’s you.

    For me, I can’t support any product that hypes its results when 3 out of 30 good results are bad results.

    What you will find is that all the pro Nerium people will not be the scientists but the marketers. All these things have their heyday at first like the Trump Network that saw 5000 in it’s first conference and disappeared 3 years later. There’s always sizzle at the beginning. Longevity is another story.

    Further, I think the scientists here make good points. Regardless of the fanfare, you are putting something on your skin that kills aberrant cells. The question then is what studies have been done long term that shows the results of this product on healthy cells. People exposed to radiation often don’t get cancer for 20 years. Cancers from asbestos exposure don’t show up right away either.

    One of the worst thing about my industry is the outrageous dishonesty and hype that is endemic. All you have to do is do a Google search for any mlm and enter the word “scam” afterwards and you will find supposed “objective reviews” that morph into blatant sales pitches. It’s disgusting!

    I’m a proponent of the industry but not the hype. There are some very good companies out there that get a bad name because of the Moonie mindset of the distributors who will say anything or do anything to make a buck at anyone’s expense.

    I appreciate the honest, detailed investigatory work done by the medical pros on this site. It’s refreshing to hear facts instead of spin.

  60. drgeorge says:

    John, well said, and thank you.

    BFT asks our critics to recall the thus far unanswered questions that are the genesis of the Nerium controversy on this website.

    What scientific hypothesis explains how a known cytotoxin, studied and marketed (in foreign lands) as an anti-cancer drug, produces the remarkable and “accidental” anti-aging benefits upon which the entire Nerium MLM juggernaut is built? What are the long-term risks of using such an active ingredient on normal skin?

  61. Dd says:

    Wow does this stuff sound scary. I am wondering, with all the increased traffic on he internet on the bad things, do you think it may collapse in the near future? I hope so. Is there anything we peons can do? My sister is in this and has become very irrational. I worry about her long term results as well as everyone else who falls for this garbage.

  62. JMH says:

    Thank you so much for all of this. I decided to start Nerium and used it just for two weeks. My skin definitely was getting worse not better–my rep said “stick with it.” But when I read all this it was like getting me between the eyes with the obvious: it’s poison! Why would I put that on my skin? I have the product packaged and ready to return. I’ll grow old gracefully rather than use poison–never mind whether it would have worked or not!

  63. Hollyg13 says:

    I have used nerium for about a month, then stopped because my gut told me it wasn’t safe in pregnancy- I am now 19 week and used it ‘almost’ every day form 15-19 weeks ( I.e. Second trimester). I read all the Nerium research and felt fine about using it on my skin because their literature states that it would only be toxic if ingested and a toddler would have to drink 450 bottles to register any toxicity, That it is plant derived ( all my beauty products are natural, para been free, etc) and oleander has been used for centuries. I am now praying that there will be nothing wrong with my baby when born, but do you have any idea what things might happen to my growing baby as a result do using this? All my tests and ultrasounds indicate a healthy baby, but…

    • drjohn says:

      By way of reassurance, we offer this. We have long suspected that there is only a minute, or trace amount of oleandrin in the Nerium AD product. Part of this comes from the published statements you just mentioned – some guy saying that it would take 450 ingested bottles to poison a toddler. Now the toxicology literature states that a single ounce of oleander extract can kill a horse, one leaf can kill a dog. From our simple minded calculations, a bottle of Nerium AD must then contain less than 1/450 of a leaf’s worth of extract. That is a very tiny, tiny amount. Only enough to inflame the skin you put it on, likely not enough to soak through your skin and get into your bloodstream in quantities that would cause concern. Of course this hypothesis also points to what might be the real scam. Since aloe vera can he had at $1 per oz. in your local supermarket, and oleander can be found growing wild across the world, one wonders how in the world a price of $100, or $80, or even $20 is justified. This of course ignores the lack of true efficacy data of any sort for oleandrin. For a cheap substitute, use aloe vera alone. 1/100th of the cost. $1 per oz.

  64. gayle416 says:

    I don’t understand, if Nerium is an irritant to cells and acne medications can cause irritation by breaking the skin cells down and both can be used every day, what’s the difference? Seems either way you look at it, if a tiny amount of oleander is causing irritation or whatever is in acidic products, aren’t they both doing similar things?

    • drjohn says:

      Acne is an infectious disease. Acne medications kill bacteria. Acne can be difficult to treat, as some bacteria develop resistance. This can lead to physical, and psychological scarring.Scarring is related to the inflammation caused by the bacteria, resulting in cysts etc. While antibacterials and bacteriostatic chemicals may be inflammatory (the cheap ones we give our teens mostly are) the bugs themselves are even more so. So in the balance of things, you put up with it. But to continue, over long periods, acne meds that inflame, probably contributes to scarring. Nerium is supposedly anti-aging, not anti-acne. Why add an inflammatory substance to your face in the absence of a good reason?

  65. Deborah DeLuca says:

    I signed up with Nerium as a brand partner. I had concerns about the product also having to do with if the product kills cells how can it simultaneously grow cells? I was not able to locate any horrible data or stories on-line at the time so I went forward and got a few people using the product including myself. I will be dissolving my relationship with Nerium because I can no longer promote this product in good conscience. Of course the money would be great and it would be fun to promote beauty and esteem but not at this potential price.
    My experiences with the product are as follows;

    I am 57 and have had no negative results and in fact I had some decrease in deeper lines around my mouth and cheek (smile lines) so I’m neutral to OK in terms of results.

    My mom is my major concern. She is a youthful 83 years of age and she just told me after using the product for 6 weeks that she has begun loosing large quantities of hair. I feel so bad, so responsible. I went on-line to see who may have had similar experiences and found your blog last night. She stopped the product immediately.

    My Clarin’s (skin care product) saleswoman, age 27, tried the product and within 2 weeks it resulted in a severe blistering on her neck and lower cheek. The blisters broke when rubbed and bled…not a clear liquid as in a regular blister…blood. She discontinued the product immediately and the skin irritation healed.

    My friend, age 43 had skin drying occur and has seen no measurable results. I am going to advise that she stop using immediately based on what I am reading and experiencing.

    About the hair loss; has anyone had similar experiences and what can be done aside from stopping use of Nerium. There were no dietary changes, no changes in medicines. Also of concern to me especially after reading this blog is the possible side effects resulting from interaction of Nerium with medications. My mom is on blood thinner (stroke) and cholesterol lowering meds. She has heart arythemia as well. I’m scared for her, is there any info that can be provided concerning all of these factors and apparent results (hair loss)? I’m really concerned for her and feel very guilty here.

    Thank you,


    • drgeorge says:

      Deborah, we are not aware of others with hair loss after using Nerium although they may exist. We have had multiple descriptions of deleterious effects from others who have commented about their experience, and the experience of others, who have tried the product. Certainly, the Nerium folks have no such negative stories on any of their websites, that would be inconsistent with the real science, real people, real results, real money mantra. Since we have yet to hear from the company about how the science behind the product actually provides anti-aging benefits, we can only speculate that something at the cellular level (BFT hypothesizes it is likely to be infammation and edemae)is really at work. The proved cytotoxic effects of their active continue to cause us concern. Our opinion is reinforced by stories such as yours.

  66. Deanne says:

    Thank you! This validates my negative reaction to this product.

  67. CC73 says:

    Anyone have side effect of sebaceous cyst anywhere on the body after using Nerium AD?

    Everything we put on the skin is absorbed by the body so I am thinking the oleander extract could be causing this side effect and other side effects noted.


  68. Jill says:

    So an expectant woman has to post on here, in fear, about Nerium Oleander. Fearing that using Nerium AD will hurt her unborn fetus. why does your answer comes through saying there is only a trace of Oleander in Nerium AD, and there is nothing to worry about?? Why scare so many people, when its not necessary. (Feb 16th posts) Here is your answer: “By way of reassurance, we offer this. We have long suspected that there is only a minute, or trace amount of oleandrin in the Nerium AD product. Part of this comes from the published statements you just mentioned – some guy saying that it would take 450 ingested bottles to poison a toddler. Now the toxicology literature states that a single ounce of oleander extract can kill a horse, one leaf can kill a dog. From our simple minded calculations, a bottle of Nerium AD must then contain less than 1/450 of a leaf’s worth of extract. That is a very tiny, tiny amount. Only enough to inflame the skin you put it on, likely not enough to soak through your skin and get into your bloodstream in quantities that would cause concern. Of course this hypothesis also points to what might be the real scam. Since aloe vera can he had at $1 per oz. in your local supermarket, and oleander can be found growing wild across the world, one wonders how in the world a price of $100, or $80, or even $20 is justified. This of course ignores the lack of true efficacy data of any sort for oleandrin. For a cheap substitute, use aloe vera alone. 1/100th of the cost. $1 per oz.”. And if you have a reaction, it could be any of the other ingredients, Aloe maybe??

    • drjohn says:

      Notice that we said “we have long suspected…”. In other words, we can only offer an opinion as bloggers of beauty & skin science. We have no objective data about how much nerium oleander extract is in the product, and how much of it gets absorbed. That opinion was informed by the calculations laid out based on what the company has said. We have not measured anything. (That is not our job , maybe the company should report concentrations to help consumers make sense of these things, but they have not done so to our knowledge). We can only hope our opinion is correct. Is your problem that pregnant women might be scared, or that they are scared? Should they be? Look at well respected medical information sites like WebMD which says Despite the danger, oleander seeds and leaves are used to and to cause abortions. Or try a toxicology textbook. We didn’t make this stuff up. So should we ignore it? We don’t want people to worry needlessly, obviously. So we offer the only reassurance that we can, as beauty bloggers. But since we don’t make it, sell it, or even like it, what would you have us say? That it is a poison, better go to the ER? See your doctor immediately? Would you prefer that?

  69. Ex nerium user says:

    Hi DRjohn
    I am so thankful for this post. I use to use nerium but I felt it was making me look older. Plus no one could see any difference In my brown spots or lines. I actually felt it made my lines worse. Not to mention the big turn off of the brand partners always talking about money bonuses and their Lexus.
    I have a few questions you wrote that it causing cascading aging effect on cells. I used about 5 -6 bottles over a 6/7 month period but ended last August 2013. Did I do irreversible damage to my skin? Am I going to age faster because I used this product? I am currently taking supplements, dermatologist recommend products such as lactic acid, retin a, and rose hip oil and aloe at night. Not to mention limited sun exposure and sunblock. My skin looks great now but worried about unforeseen damage I caused from using this product. Thanks in advance

    • drjohn says:

      Dear Ex, By nourishing your skin, maintaining moisture, and avoiding sun damage, you are doing doing the right things. We are not great fans of lactic acid applied chronically (as opposed to intermittent peels) as it tends to cause inflammation. The retin A (or retinoids, in a dose suited to you) makes a lot of sense. If you wanted to go a step further you might look at modern anti-aging “regenerative” active based products including peptides, stem cytokines, growth factors, and potent antioxidant/anti-inflammatories (e.g. aescin). But if you like how your skin looks now, I would guess you are doing well with your current approach.

  70. Ms. Martin says:

    I am not a doctor, nor do I have a medical degree. Please forgive the simple representation of the following. Vaccinations and homeopathic remedies take an extremely small amount of something that is potentially dangerous and use it to “kick start” various systems or create a “memory” of how to handle certain aliments. Could this be similar for the Oleander in Nerium?

    Just curious of your opinion,

    • drjohn says:

      You are very smart, madam. You refer to a mechanism we call hormesis. Also known as “no pain, no gain”, or “a little stress toughens us up”. The idea is that if you give a tiny amount of something toxic you cause the body’s natural defenses to kick in, and that they then will be on high alert for further insults by the same toxin. The problem is that if you give that same tiny amount daily, your defenses are on constant alert, and that it self causes problems. Most chronic illnesses result from chronic overstimulation of the immune system as it responds to small “insults”. This is what anti-aging researchers call “inflamm’aging”. Now, you also have the problem of poison accumulation. Think of mercury, or arsenic. If you are exposed to tiny doses you will not experience much damage, but if you are exposed daily, then over time you may accumulate either the toxin itself in your tissues, or its effects (both of these cause oxidative stress- which can kill if chronic). Think of it as death by 1,000 paper cuts. Aging skin is like that, too. Daily exposure to sun doesn’t seem to be harmful, in fact a sun tan is often seen as a sign of health and wealth. But that same solar irradiation, accumulated over time, is a major reason why we get wrinkles and “old skin”. Some of this has to do with dose, and with timing. Suffice it to say that we remain skeptical that daily exposure to any amount of a “highly oxidative stressing” substance will toughen skin up, other than perhaps in the sense of tough like leather and a similar appearance.

  71. jojo says:

    Nerium cured my psoriasis in my fingernails. They were hideously afflicted for over 4 years no rx work severly deformed some nearly missing… After 90 days 8/10 are normal and 1/8″ or more Past my fingertip. A blessedMIRACLE!!!

  72. Mike says:

    You say any toxic chemical used daily, is harmful, but about fluoride in our toothpaste or public water. That we ingest that daily. fluoride is extremely dangerous. “Fluoride is the active toxin in rat poisons and cockroach powder. ” So why bash Nerium AD, even when there is a safety video, and safety information??

    • drjohn says:

      You make a confusing argument. You say that fluoride is extremely dangerous but we take it in daily. Then you use that logic to justify Nerium AD with its extract of Nerium oleander. How about we bash all poisons? Why exempt one? Wouldn’t public health be better served if we avoid exposure to all poisons?

  73. nicole says:

    They just announced a new contouring cream at their little convention in St. Louis.. :O. On their website: , it lists all the ingredients. Thoughts??

    • drjohn says:

      Active ingredient = caffeine. Johnson & Johnson did a study long ago, which they now disown, showing that caffeine helps cellulite (without defining what cellulite is, as researchers don’t agree on it). One other deeply flawed commercial study by folks hawking caffeine (see Journal of Cosmetic Science, July–August 2002, pp 209–218). All other available evidence disproves the thesis. Besides which, the best way to get caffeine into tissues is to drink it. It freely diffuses in tissues. I suggest a double espresso to start the day. The other ingredients are dirt cheap common antioxidants. They are probably there to try to counter the poisonous extreme oxidant touted as the “patented” active. There are cosmetology school dropouts who could do a better job of formulation.

  74. baffled says:

    I am a Nerium BP that has increasingly changed her mind 7 or 8 times as I read each and every post. Although some of the jargon went over my head, I understand that Nerium has to explain how is an ingredient that is known to kill cells (like cancer cells) supposed to help with anti-aging properties on a daily basis, which would require cell growth…right?

    As much as I have read and looked elsewhere for more info, call me crazy, but I am still uncertain whether or not I should continue working with Nerium. My family is involved (sister, cousin, aunt), and this would be extremely devastating to everyone, esp with all of the sacrifices we’ve endured to make a better life for us all. We were in awe with the results…the incentives didn’t hurt….but the results were incredible. Now with NeriumFirm creating even more ridiculous results in a quarter of the time (3-4 days), it’s selling out like hotcakes!

    Not sure if you are aware of this (you probably are) but Nerium has an International line called Optimera…which does NOT have the NAE-8 extract because it’s banned in other countries…something like that. But this is the brand that will be sold to ever other country in the world except the US. My sister and I questioned it for a second and didn’t take it further than that…sad…I know. It wasn’t until I read this blog and then it hit me. I don’t even know what my question is because Nerium could just sell Optimera without having to defend themselves, and because the results are the same. The ingredients “seem” harmless but hey, who am I? There hasn’t been a NeriumFirm-equivalent for Optimera yet, but I’m sure it’s imminent.

    Maybe Nerium isn’t all bad?

    …or maybe it is. read the next comment.

  75. francisca Johnson says:

    I knew it. ….I started using it and I didn’t do it daily but I did do it for 30 days and the day cream too, at first nothing, noticed it seemed to be working but next thing I knew I got a horrible rash on my neck, then got really sick, felt like I was having chest palpitations and tingling down my arms, when I showed my friend who introduced me to it…. she called the rep who said she never heard of that and then have me the number top a nurse, told her no rash on my face just neck and felt really sick and she said just stop using it on my neck she had never heard of that either. ..but i got scared and immediately backed out of selling it and everything…. the rash is slowly getting better but even weeks later I still am having itching and tingling under my chin. … I’m scared I’ve done damage. … they kept swearing up and down that it’s safe. …I knew it. …I feel so stupid. .. they feed on people like me who want better for their kids. … and starting to feel self conscious about aging. …I am a single mom and can’t afford to get sick and now I’m afraid for my friends. …. help

    • drjohn says:

      You need to get yourself to a physician right away. Please keep us posted as to how you are doing.

  76. baffled says:

    I’m disturbed by Francisca’s reaction. That’s a first for me, as well. I truly hope she’s able to get the care she needs.

    That brings me to Optimera. I called Nerium International, and they stated it was illegal to sell it in the US. I asked why they wouldn’t just sell Optimera so the company could be uniform and they wouldn’t have to explain the difference between the poisonous oleander and the Nerium oleander. He stated he couldn’t answer that, they were just told it was illegal. Btw, he also informed me that the Nerium oleander isn’t poisonous, the other is. This is why it was created. I asked how did they make it non-toxic. Again, not able to answer and no one there is able to answer.

    Without the oleander, Optimera is much safer, right? It even feels different.

    • drjohn says:

      More nonsense. There is no “other” Nerium that is non-toxic. All Nerium plant species make poisons. It is the very poison itself that they bragged about from the beginning (“extract containing cardiac glycosides”) and even “patented”, and which derives from Nerium International’s cancer product that kills cells, per Dr Newman’s research. Optimera is not toxic simply because it contains no Nerium oleander extract, and was created because many other countries wouldn’t allow Nerium AD to be sold within their borders. It is not “illegal” to sell Optimera in the U.S. but Nerium doesn’t, presumably because it exposes the truth and that is very embarrassing for them to admit. And not good for business to admit all along that you were bamboozling the public with repeated cries of safety. Optima is safe, but then 50 cents worth of common, non-innovative ingredients would be expected to be safe. The real dilemma for them is that you can buy products at Target for under $10 that are equally (and perhaps even more) effective. The great thing about Optimera is that is proves the emperor has no clothes. Wanna bet they figure out a reason to dump Nerium AD altogether? Maybe Optimera is so good that we felt guilty not letting the U.S have some. Some such nonsense, just you wait. My question is this: doesn’t truth, and trustworthiness, matter in the marketplace anymore? Are you willing to sell your soul to the devil (and sell scientifically disturbing products to your friends, mothers, sisters, aunts) for a few measly bucks?

  77. Julia says:

    I want to sincerely thank both scientists that write on this blog. I was pressured into becoming a Nerium Brand Member by a family friend. He claimed this product was “real this” and “real that” but when I followed his links to the scientific research they train all their monkeys with, I couldn’t believe how much information was missing.

    I actually introduced this product to my mom…I was going to let the woman that birthed/raised me use this harmful snake oil on her face!! Not just that, I was going to tell my friends and family, people I love, about it as well!! That’s craziness. So thank you Dr.John, Dr.George for raising my awareness. I’m blocking those incessant Nerium peddlers and getting back to doing real gratifying work in life. My faith in humanity has been restored by just a little.

  78. B.C. says:

    It burned my skin , was uncomfortable , and smelled on the bad side. All I ever experienced was a push to become a brand partner. They do not really push or train focused on retail. It is about the business opportunity not the product. Jeff Olson used to preach to retail at a higher level than the biz-op. Not here, not now. For me – I was looking for great product to retail in the skin line as an additional product for my wife’s business. Big disappointment with Nerium.

  79. Naeno says:

    I was approached last night to use Nerium and when I paid attention to the speaker, and engaged, she looked me in the eye and was trying to get me to buy-in to the product. I am already in this type of business (essential oils) and I love them and try to keep away from petrochemicals as much as possible. When I made the comment that I wanted to have the ingredients label, the woman went to the website and printed them for me. When she returned the other woman at the meeting was talking to me about my essential oils and the Nerium woman became extremely defensive and after that hardly looked me in the eye. She already has the I-Pad and the Lexus so I guess she is looking to have that high 6 figure salary. When she realized it would not be from me, I was no longer of interest to her.

    When I get people to look at my essential oils, I don’t EVER try to get them involved in selling the product. All I do is get them to go on-line and buy the products directly because they save money. I believe in what I am selling because they have kept me from getting sick all winter and I use the cleaning products because I have a grandchild that I don’t want exposed to the chemicals in the traditional cleaning products on the market. That’s it, that is all I do.

    By the way, I am a breast cancer survivor and if this stuff kills cancer cells, keep me away from it because chemo is HORRIBLE! It may work on cancer, but you get sick as a dog from it and believe me that is NO LIFE!!

    After reading all of these comments, I am not going to use the product.

    Thank you

  80. Still confused and angry AND THE DOCS says:


    I’ve yet to see my post I sent a few days ago concerning the contradictions in all the above posts and how you as doctors/scientist (if in fact you are) are are taking advantage of the fact that people have a blind belief in everything your telling them.


    The reason I’m even putting any effort into writing this post


    is out of some kind of moral obligation I felt


    as both a reader and a professional businesswoman


    The unprofessionalism displayed on this website sent me into a tailspin


    I’ve done my own research


    and have found some of the things you are stressing to them are just not accurate


    Please stress the fact that oleander poisoning occurs when ingested and that there have been NO cases of topical poisoning


    .Also that this company you set a crusade against is actually partnered with Nerium Biotechnology who studied,developed and put product into many years of clinical trials BEFORE it was even a thought to send out to test as a skin cream


    And something I found should be important to your readers is that throughout these clinical trials the participants were not just evaluated for changes in skin appearance but very strict medical observations…conducting blood work analysis throughout as well.


    I found it very offensive that you put so much effort into trying to destroy the integrity of a competitor company


    Keeping a whole website devoted to such endeavor


    I hope your readers will investigate as thoroughly as I did to find the inconsistencies with your arguments and “opinions” as I did


    I did give me the information I needed to conduct my own research on the product but in doing such research I found that you in fact also have a skin cream in development


    . At first I just thought you were very ignorant and possibly misleading the public about your credentials


    however when I found out about your skin cream I was very angry at the unprofessionalism. I am a professional


    who is in constant competition with other companies but I would never put on a crusade to damage their reputation and business


    I have more confidence in myself and my business and know my work speaks for itself


    Maybe you should reevaluate how desperate your actions and words have made you look. Let your WORK and PRODUCT speak for itself. Or maybe someone from Nerium should look into your work and dissect pieces on information


    and use these facts to twist and misinform readers


    who seem to be turning to someone who they have reverence and respect for their opinions due to their credentials. But as far as I can tell this Nerium company is far too busy running a company who in their first year of business made over 100 million dollars and has doubled that each year since!!!


    Now coming from my professional background, no matter how you look at it that is a HUGE accomplishment


    So I’m guessing the reason they aren’t responding to inquiries is two-fold…. 1) they are busy and successful in the product they have developed and are not concerned with the comments made from you and (2) YOUR A COMPETITOR!!!


    Why would they answer your questions about development and process when you are obviously head set on destroying them and are also in skincare industry!!


    That would be like a chef, oh wait a cook, going to a restaurant and ordering food then make false claims about the ingredients put into the dish making you sick….then asking the CHEF what the recipe is, how long it was cooked, at what temperature and what process. Seems silly doesn’t it.


    I have to add I was hesitant to try this product myself due to ingredients….however after doing my own research and reading this blog, I’ve decided I will try it.


    Please readers, do your own research and don’t put blind faith into these men who are obviously unprofessional


    I hope to see my comments posted. Your failing to post my comments is another strike against you on you validity and credentials.



  81. Lee Lee says:

    Dear Docs,……. That was great! Love, love , loved it!! Been following this blog for quite a while. You guys supply the ONLY info on this junk that makes sense to me. Unfortunately my co-workers have bought into nerium. I am alone in my beliefs about it. Don’t care… I know I’m right. Thank you for educating people on this matter.

  82. Kat says:

    Dear BFT Docs,
    I had recently lost weight due to a serious change in my diet when I was diagnosed with a brain tumor, in February. I have been blessed with a strong body that did not have adverse reactions to brain surgery, radiation (except the hair loss of areas that were radiated), nor the chemo pill Temodar (except for slight gi tract irritation). In fact, the only discomfort was in the beginning when I cut all processed food and almost all glucose from my diet.

    When I was complaining about the hanging chin skin, since my weight loss, a sweet family member gave me a bottle of Nerium AD night cream to try. This week I tried it. I had no bad reactions to my skin.

    The concern that lead me get on the computer and start researching side-effects of Nerium AD was the fact that for the 5th night in a row, I have awoken exhausted and uptight. I have been experiencing long nights of extremely anxious, sometimes violent, dreams. The only thing that is different in my very routine life is the Nerium. Since I am putting this product directly on my face, right before I went to sleep, I wondered if it was the chemicals seeping into my skin that was the culprit.

    The Temodar never caused me problems. I would fall asleep quickly and would sleep soundly.

    Whether it is the Nerium or not, I wanted to thank you for your information. I will discontinue using the product, not only to see if this was the true cause, but also because of what I read about the International version.

    I am yet again appalled to learn about yet another unhealthy ingredient in a product that manufacturers are allowed to sell in America but are banned from other countries. Other countries seem to feel that the safety of their citizens is more important than making a buck (or a million bucks).

    I was convinced about High Fructose Corn Syrup’s effect on our body’s ability to know when it was full during a trip to Vancouver. I had bought a small can of Pringles to snack on in the hotel room. When I noticed the fact that I could eat a few and put the can away, I was shocked. (In the States, I usually had to force myself to put them away after eating half of a large can, still feeling hungry). I turned the Vancouver can to read the ingredients and noticed the absence of HFCS, as well as, many other long unpronounceable additives.

    It is such a shame.

    I appreciate you exposing companies that place their greed over the safety of the American people.

    Thank you both!

    • drjohn says:

      Hi Kat. Sorry to hear about your recent health issues. You sound like a strong willed “survivor”and I not only wish you well, but sense you will do well. Now, as to the troubling dreams, I have actually heard of other cases of this. I will offer you my hypothesis about the connection between night creams like Nerium AD and nightmares. Mind you, it is only an hypothesis, but I have some related research to share that helps bolster it. Now recall that many people complain of the odor of Nerium. The nerium oleander plant has a distinctive smell that most people (and animals) find unpleasant (which may be natures way of warning us away from eating it – and a well known defense strategy for some plants). The research says that noxious odors tend to give us bad dreams, while pleasant ones make for dreams with better emotional tone. Putting Nerium on your face at night is placing it quite close to your nose. olfaction (smell) feeds into those brain structures that are involved with emotions. Here is the abstract of that paper from the Journal of Sleep Research:

      Information processing during sleep: the effect of olfactory stimuli on dream content and dream emotions.


      Research has shown that external stimuli presented during sleep can affect dream content, thus reflecting information processing of the sleeping brain. Olfactory stimuli should have a stronger effect on dream emotions because their processing is linked directly to the limbic system. Because selective olfactory stimulation does not increase arousal activity, intense olfactory stimulation is therefore a prime paradigm for studying information processing during sleep. Fifteen healthy, normosmic volunteers were studied by intranasal chemosensory stimulation during rapid eye movement sleep based on air-dilution olfactometry. For olfactory stimulation, hydrogen sulphide (smell of rotten eggs) and phenyl ethyl alcohol (smell of roses) was used and compared with a control condition without stimulation. The olfactory stimuli affected significantly the emotional content of dreams: the positively toned stimulus yielded more positively toned dreams, whereas the negative stimulus was followed by more negatively toned dreams. Direct incorporations, i.e. the dreamer is smelling something, were not found. The findings indicate that information processing of olfactory stimuli is present in sleep and that the emotional tone of dreams can be influenced significantly depending upon the hedonic characteristic of the stimulus used. It would be interesting to conduct learning experiments (associating specific odours with declarative material) to study whether this declarative material is incorporated into subsequent dreams if the corresponding odour cue is presented during sleep. It would also be interesting to study the effect of positively toned olfactory stimuli on nightmares.

      You can also read the full paper here.

      Olfactory brain structures are quite sensitive, and transient hypersensitivities after surgery are not unusual. That may be a contributing factor.

      We would like to hear from others who have experienced changes in sleep, dreaming, or emotions after starting any new skin care products. Could be an interesting research study.

  83. Ron says:

    Humble appreciation for BFT’s high level articulation, professionalism, knowledge, boldness and real live sharing! Unfortunately, I am out of the game after running red flags galore. 40 day and night cream applications did it for me. Redness, soreness, swelling, and general physical discomfort mounted exponentially. Thankful for all the posts on here, from both sides.

  84. Lizzie C. says:

    I tried Nerium 3x & I linked my horrific emotional and mental breakdowns to this product! I proved it to myself by doing a 4th test and sure enough I had another ” I’m going crazy, pull my hair out, nervous breakdown day” . This is very frightening! I honestly thought I was having nervous breakdowns and could NOT figure out what I have been doing differently! Sure enough this led me to process of elimination, I just had to try it for myself to prove it IS Nerium that triggered these behavioral melt downs! As for the woman that said she is going to try it anyway is equivalent to saying Na NaNa Na Na, I’m gonna show you” we’ll guess what Curious, your immature and not hurting the Dr. ! You WILL be the one apologizing to him! Thanks Dr. For all of your expertise it truly is a blessing to read your honest and Very Professional information that is based on honest hard core Research and education! Keep up the good work for the unsuspecting poor souls as myself! Much appreciation Dr. John.

  85. Jane says:

    If you look at the faces of the Nerium “testimonial” people in the “Success from Home” Magazine which says “by the publisher of Success Magazine” FALSE: (DARIN HARDY is the Publisher of Success Magazine, so that’s false) ..the people are all photo shopped- (same guy or gal with or without with glasses or with or without hair, narrower face, wider face, 20 years old, then 50 years old, if you look at the brows and the noses & mouths they are all the same people. Only with different names.One guy is Dr PHD and on the next page he’s Joe Blow, etc.. the whole thing is a scam .Take a look for yourself.

  86. Philippos says:


    I too have been approached about becoming a brand partner. My opinion, after extensive research (3-9 pages of Google and not just page 1) is still mixed.
    I am by far removed from the field of science so the molecular jargon is way past me.
    In common speak, I see some good and bad reviews. Who is reviewing and who benefits is another mystery my own brain will have to sort out.
    One thing that bothers me and i hope you can help.
    Of NeriumAD is bad, aside from not beneficial, how does this compare to Botox injections that are/were so popular? It was my understanding that it is an injection of botulism.
    I know it’s more than that but I was hoping you could give me a better comparison. Joining Nerium is not as important to me as maintaining a healthy relationship with my family and friends, both of whom I would like to involve if my research proves positive.

    • drgeorge says:

      By “proves positive” , BFT understands you to mean that not only will you find that Nerium AD actually does what its marketing claims, but you will find that its purported mechanism of action makes scientific sense. Good luck with both. We find the before and after photos utterly unconvincing, and for more than two years have challenged the company to explain the mechanism of action of its hero ingredient, the nerium oleander extract that its own science guru published causes “massive oxidative stress” in cells. In response, the company did an about face and now claims the product is actually an anti-oxidant – the equivalent of a battery suddenly changing its polarity – a chemical impossibility. Without a valid scientific explanation, BFT continues to believe the Nerium juggernaut is more about making money than making skin healthier. In our opinion, you are wise to be wary.

      On the other hand, the Botox story makes perfect sense. Botulism is a long-recognized, often fatal, medical condition caused by eating food tainted with toxins produced by the anaerobic bacteria, Clostridium botulinum. The toxin is very potent and kills by preventing nerves from releasing the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, the substance that causes muscle cells to contract. The result is paralysis. Patients who receive a lethal dose of botulinum toxin cannot breath and die because their muscles of respiration are paralyzed. Unlike the neuromuscular blockers used to paralyze muscles during surgery, which are rapidly metabolized or can be reversed with antidotes at the end of an operation, the botulinum toxin poisons the neuromuscular junctions (called synapses) permanently. Lucky patients who can get medical care before they succumb are placed on ventilators, sometimes for weeks, until their body regenerates new synapses.

      Botox is very dilute solution of the toxin that is often administered locally into the muscles of the face that cause frown lines and wrinkles. It lasts a few months but must be repeated when new synapses grow in place. Botox has many other extremely valid medical uses, including treating a variety of spastic muscular disorders, pain syndromes, and headaches. For all medicines, dosing and timing of administration is critical. They can all be poisonous in high enough quantity. Few people realize that acetaminophen (a well-known brand is Tylenol) can be lethal at doses as small as 5 grams, particularly in people who drink excessive amounts of alcohol. Five times the amount (1 grams) millions of people take every day for fever, headache, joint pain, etc., can cause acute liver death in some individuals.

  87. Brenda Hedden says:

    A friend of mine who is becoming a distributor is trying to convince me of the safety of Nerium sent this information:
    I wanted to pass on this safety information about NeriumAD with you. This is a letter from Dennis Knocke, CEO of Nerium Skincare


    A summary of the comments of another Pediatric MD at a prominent children’s hospital and Professor of Toxicology and Pharmacology are as follows. The amount of oleander in the entire container of NeriumAD is a non-toxic dose, even to children. He went on to estimate that a one-year-old child could ingest the entire contents of 400 bottles of NeriumAD and it would still remain a non-toxic dose of NeriumAD. In addition, he commented that in all his years of experience, young children do not ingest significant volumes of creams and ointments. He shared that in his 40 years of private practice and experience with his associated Poison Control Center, he is not aware of even one death of a child by ingestion of creams or ointments, as young children are just not wired to ingest large quantities of these types of substances. He proceeded to comment on the NeriumAD container design and shared that the container presented a daunting challenge for the extraction of significant volumes of cream by adults, let alone young children.


    Another MD, PhD, Medical Pharmacologist and Toxicologist shared a quote from Paracelsus (1493-1541), who said, “All things are poison and nothing is without poison.” However, “the dose makes the poison.” He noted that humans use and consume daily foods which are known to contain trace amounts of natural carcinogens and toxins (apricots, apples, tea, cocoa, coffee, cherries, black pepper, mushrooms, etc.). The risk is relative and it is “the amount consumed” that matters. He presented some examples of food containing toxins, such as potatoes and tomatoes, which contain Gycoalkaloids [SIC] and Solenines. In addition, almonds, apricots, and cherries contain Cyanogenic Glycosides, castor beans contain Ricin, puffer fish contain Fugu, rhubarb contains xalates, and mushrooms contain Muscarine.


    He also noted that Botox is one of the most toxic chemicals we have, but it has been possible to adjust the dose, allowing it to be used by thousands of individuals. He went on to cover ED50, TD50, LD50, Dose/Response Curve, Therapeutic Index, Margins of Safety, etc. At the end of the day, he commented that, “As a result of the studies, the study design, and data captured, NeriumAD has no evidence of toxicity and no absorption into the systemic circulation.” He concluded that the NeriumAD product is perfectly safe to use.


  88. Depressed says:

    I wish Nerium would just go away. every time I hear about it, it makes me want to vomit. I returned my kit and did not receive a penny back. Wish I would have read this before I was talked into being a brand partners. Any attorney’s out there willing to represent?

    age reduction FX from foton inc.

    Thank you drjohn

  89. Wish I hadn't says:

    I will be straight with you. I tried the product. Liked the product, became a brand partner. Used for 4 months. Had great results. Stopped using for a few days and my skin is WORSE than before I started using. I had reservations about it and wish I would have listened to the inner voice. I got wrapped up in it like everyone else that joins does. I can no longer with a good conscious stay a brand partner. I am 42 and feel like I have lost some elasticity, my texture is now more porous. Yes, it was great while I was using it, but the after effects???? Not worth it.. May not happen to everyone, but happened to me. Stop using the product for a week or two then take a pic and compare it to your before nerium.

  90. Bobby says:

    I greatly appreciate BFT’s efforts in expressing and elaborating it’s opinion on Nerium. After two hours of thorough research, this being the most straightforward source, I have come to conclude; Nerium is not entirely a scam. The product may work for some, but is by no means for everyone. Furthermore, this product has about as much credibility as a politician voting to pass a law that has a direct correlation to the money in his pocket. That being said, you can make money off this product, but the process is going to be exhausting. You will find yourself beating around the bush more often than not, especially when dealing with potential customers that know their head from their … well, you know… my overall reflection of this product summed in one simple word. :)

    OH this is a personal experience in which I had today. I became skeptical about this product at the gym today, talking to a man and eventually his wife. The guy actually had me sold for a moment, but then the his wife completely reiterated his sales pitch. Which wasn’t what threw me off… It was her saying. “i’m not going to try and vomit this all over you” which doesn’t really seem like the best thing to say, but her husband said that same line to me 5 minutes before. Hahaha seriously people? and the funniest part is that they were saying this marketplace is all about being yourself. WELP…HMPH.

  91. Joanna Caroll says:

    I’ve used the Nerium day and night lotions for just 4 weeks but I’m concerned about the tiredness I feel at work – the heavy-eyed kind of tired – which is something I’ve never suffered from before. Because of the toxicity of the plant used in Nerium, I’m not willing to believe it’s a coincidence. And those tiny red spots that have sprouted up on my face since using Nerium are another downer. I’m disappointed in the product and in myself for buying the hype…a very expensive hype.
    I’m grateful people are talking about Nerium and sharing their experiences.

  92. Sad says:

    The new Kool-Aid trap is to get kids over 18 into it, its called YEP.
    Young Entrepreneur’s Program, yikes are they running out of adults to BS!
    Be leery of any physician selling this. Desperation is the only motivator here.
    I know of mothers signing up their daughters just to get ahead, seriously
    something wrong. From what I can see in the chain of BP, it is basically
    people that need money, the higher ups already have it to begin with, but are
    sending the drones to bring more cash, lol!
    This product is NOTHING about skincare! Why don’t they just say “hey I would like to get myself
    a new Lexus, can you give me some money towards it”
    Now that’s the BNT!

  93. Bare-faced Garbage says:

    You must be a “fallen” scientist/Dr. You were probably someone who didn’t get a piece of the pie, so you are pouting. I hate to break it to you buddy, but your claims are wrong. Network marketing is the new wave today, and the latest and greatest of them have learned from the bad companies who tried this many years ago. Large companies are tired of paying for advertisement, and it just so happens to be that Nerium gives back a whole lot more than any other “pyramid” co. So, take your false statements about the toxic plant somewhere else. If you actually did real research, you might find that the product only contains the non-toxic plant. I was the biggest skeptic. As a matter if fact, I have been in plenty of pyramid businesses in my day, and this company is the real deal. I personally know BPs who have earned their Lexus, so don’t throw out information you cannot prove. I have made $ from this company, and I have only been doing it for one month. So, get out if your parents’ basement, and get a life.

    • drjohn says:

      Here once again is a prime example of Nerium propaganda. It follows a formula. The newbies take it all in and regurgitate it at every opportunity. Like a chant.

      1. You must discredit the critics. Silence them if you can. Use ad hominems liberally (attack them as professionals, not just their ideas).
      2. MLM’s are not the unwholesome pyramids they used to be; or at least Nerium is “different” than all the others. Maybe they are bad, but Nerium is not.
      3. Nerium “gives”. And I don’t mean those rashes you keep reading about. Nerium is really more like a nonprofit charitable organization. except that it is not.
      4. Nerium uses only the non-toxic part of the plant (a total deception, since their own publications clearly brag that oleandrins – the toxic part of the plant- is the working active molecule in the product).
      5. The scientists are wrong. The pyramid dwellers with no training in science, those who think PubMed sounds like a good place to get a pint of beer, are right. Just keep saying it!

      There is a biblical prohibition against calling evil good, and good evil. The Nerium mantra does just that.

  94. island girl says:

    I started using Nerium about three weeks ago….I have experienced fantastic results in the reduction of lines and a general uplifting of my facial skin. BUT I was always concerned about the oleander ingredient, and started looking for information and found this blog. I have experienced sleep problems that won’t go away, and I am beginning to wonder if it is because of the Nerium. After reading this blog, I’m going to stop using it and see what happens. Too bad, because it does work, at least on me.

  95. Kate Saunders says:

    I was approached regarding Nerium when they first launched, but all I had to do was look at their ingredients to know that I didn’t want to put it on my skin.

    The ingredients in our skin care and body care products are IN our body, too. It takes just 26 seconds for what you put on your skin (your largest organ) to get into your blood stream.

    The fact that Nerium uses the ingredient “Fragrance” without disclosing what that actually IS, is very concerning, because the cosmetic industry can legally hide over 3,000 different ingredients under the word “Fragrance” (

    Read labels. Use products that are 100% natural, safe, nontoxic, and effective. They do exist, and many are very affordable.

    I’m passionate about this because when I was 30, FIVE women in my life were diagnosed with breast cancer, and they were ALL under the age of 45! Today, the largest growing segment in our population today getting cancer is CHILDREN.

    This is NOT okay, and we have to reverse this.

    Reputable studies show that cancer is 90% environmental. We need to educate ourselves, stop putting synthetic chemicals on our skin (because they end up in our blood stream), and stop buying products that contain toxic chemicals, or ingredients that can be hiding toxic chemicals.

    Our voice and buying choices can help impact change, and safer products for our families.


  96. Cara Roth says:

    Thank you. I read nearly all the comments over a few days. I am astounded. I had my suspicions. This article and comments confirmed it. I read the ingredients and was not comfortable putting this on my face. Ironically, I was approached by an attorney who wanted me to try this product. Is quick money this rampant? And the hype over the Lexus? Just another way to get a hook in you. And reading this product could impair your health in the long term. And after quit using Nerium your skin will look worse and age faster. No thank you.

  97. Kirsten says:

    It is really bizarre to me how some people seem to treat this as a philosophical discussion rather than a scientific one. Science is science and there are scientific facts. When it comes to skincare, there is no “hey, if it works for you, do it”. The effects on the skin of any product are scientifically measurable. So if you think that your skin looks good now, but all you were doing was pumping it up with inflammation, you are going to wish that you followed the science rather than the philosophy.

  98. Terry says:

    Hi Dr. John,
    I am so glad you have this blog…About two years a go. I lost two friends to Nerium…I never knew anyone that was involved in a Pyramid Scheme. My other friend is a attorney. I have a undergrad and graduate degree.
    The two ex-friends flunked out of college…They tried to make us feel like we were the stupid ones because we didn’t want to get involved. Everything you have mentioned in your blog they have tried. If I would have heard crushing there dream one more time?? lol
    The I-pad, the Lexus, the stupid pool parties…Anyway, I enjoy your blog. I am sure it has made many people see the light.
    Be safe, Terry

  99. North cal says:

    I honestly did not understands half of what you said but I used to sell Nerium and have had amazing results. I no longer am a brand partner because I don’t care for how the business is ran but I do use the product and I’m completely satisfied with my face. I do look 5 years younger than we I started 6 months ago. I will never stop using the facial cream unless my dermatologist says it’s causing damage.

    • drgeorge says:

      Here’s a thought, and a reasonably good test to see if there is a significant amount of tissue water (a sign of possible edema) that is plumping up your face. Go cold turkey without Nerium and take daily pictures to see what changes you see. While not entirely scientific, if the smoothing effect of Nerium AD on your face quickly diminishes, that’s fairly good evidence of improved hydration having been responsible. Within reason, increased tissue hydration, or decrease in transepidermal water loss due to improved barriers are good things. If, however, the plumping is the result of fluid leakage from injured capillaries, as is present in inflammatory states, then the price of “plumper skin with fewer lines” is accelerated aging. Remember, inflammation is pro-aging in the skin and everywhere else. Interested in some science?

    • drjohn says:

      We encourage you to visit your dermatologist and ask for an examination.

  100. Clifford Fujii says:

    Does Nerium AD and Optimera contain the same ingredients? If not, what are the differences? Is Optimera an improved science?

    • drgeorge says:

      The major distinction we notice in comparing Nerium AD and Optimera is the glaring absence of nerium oleander extract in Optimera. While Nerium AD purchasers in the United States are able to enjoy the “accidental finding” of the remarkable anti-aging benefit (as Nerium International claims) of the nerium oleander plant, our unfortunate neighbors to the north and south must do without. Is this because the regulatory agencies of Canada and Mexico refuse to allow a known cellular toxin to be used in cosmetics or is this just another example of Yankee Imperialism – keeping the best for American citizens while exporting second-rate products to foreigners?

  101. Dawn Varney says:

    I used Nerium. On one side of my face, for three months. On the other side, I used two products, a moisturizer and a serum, that I purchased on the Home Shopping Network for less than 8% (by weight) of the cost of the Nerium. Hmm. Either nobody noticed any difference in my skin, or if I asked them about if they had noticed the changes in using Nerium they gushed about how young my skin looked (bilateral symmetrical in their opinion). Now, how could that be, since one side of my face had never had Nerium put on it. My own photos revealed exactly zero change from before and after 3 months, imo. What I DID notice, was immediate, but short-lived, redness with the Nerium side, lasting minutes. IMO, it’s nothing but an mlm with a falsely advertised product. Too bad. Nothing wrong with direct sales, just…I would not trust this Nerium at advertised face value. It may be just fine. It may well be harmful with chronic usage. But the before and after photos in the presentation and website are NOT scientifically obtained or monitored. (I’m a scientist, a physician.) This blog is making valid points. Buyer beware.

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