Nerium: Miracle or Machiavellist?

Machiavellianism is, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, “the employment of cunning and duplicity”, deriving from the Italian Renaissance diplomat and writer Niccolò Machiavelli, who wrote Il Principe (The Prince) and other works. The word has a similar use in modern psychology where it describes one of the dark triad personalities, characterised by a duplicitous interpersonal style associated with cynical beliefs and pragmatic morality.

Miracle?

We end our Nerium series by giving credit where due. The cult-like hysteria of Nerium brand partners is real and a testament to some pretty skillful marketing. BFT remains unconvinced, however, that oleandrin is the fountain of skin youth in a bottle, or that it can be good for skin based on early work showing it is good at killing certain cancer cells under controlled conditions. More likely the profit motive and the potential to develop layer after layer of recruited brand partners below one’s position, eating off their plate as well as one’s own, is driving this mania. It sure ain’t the science, folks.

“But, people say they see improvements in their skin”, you say? Yes, that’s what some say, especially brand partners. We decided to delve into the secret formula a little deeper. Maybe the “remarkable” anti-aging effect isn’t related to the Nerium oleander plant after all. Perhaps there’s a simpler explanation, and the story of oleander and M D Anderson and cancer research is as we suspect – a pretty nifty “hook” around which to market an unrelated product into a naïve and receptive market.

So, What ARE the Ingredients?

The ingredients in Nerium AD as taken from their website, and their function as published in numerous cosmetic ingredient databases:

NAE-8 Proprietary BlendAloe barbadensis leaf and nerium oleander  leaf extracts (The mechanism of action of this miraculous patented concoction remains a mystery to BFT.)

Proprietary Protein       Collagen  and Elastin  (two components of dermal matrix that are excellent water binding agents not shown to have an effect on producing or building collagen or elastin within skin when applied topically. It’s been around for years, made from animal hides and carcasses mainly, dirt cheap.  Nothing very proprietary either.

Glycosaminoglycans   Mucopolysaccharides are known components of skin tissue, that are unable to penetrate the stratum corneum when topically applied. Chondroitin sulfate and hyaluronic acid are also part of this ingredient group.

Glycerin  – a hygroscopic humectant that absorbs water into the skin surface

Oryza Sativa Bran Oil – fancy name for rice oil, an emollient

Stearic Acid – an emollient similar to other nonfragrant plant oils

Glyceryl Stearate – widely used emulsifying ingredient

Ricinus Communis Seed Oil  – fancy name for castor oil, an emollient

C14-22 Alcohols – long chain alcohol emollients

C12-20 Alkyl Glucoside

Cetearyl Glucoside – emulsifier

Cetearyl Alcohol  – emulsifier and emollient

Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil  – an oil that is solid at room temperature

Dicaprylyl Ether – emollient

Sodium Borate – pH adjuster

Chondras Crispus Powder  – fancy name for carrageen seaweed gum

Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein – film forming agent

Sodium Isostearoyl Lactylate – emulsifier

Dimethicone – silicone

Sodium PCA – water binding agent

Caprylyl Glycol – skin conditioning agent

Glycerin – humectant

Glyceryl Caprylate – wetting, fatting, moisturizing agent

Phenylpropanol – solvent

Parfum – fragrance

Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate – preservative

Tocopherol – Vitamin E (far down the list, a true active)

Breakthrough Product or Just More Smoke and Mirrors?

So what do we now make of those fancy pictures on the Nerium website and that high-tech machine that measures the lines and wrinkles that prove this is a wonder product?

Take a look at these ingredients; some improve skin moisturization and others literally “fill” in the nooks and crannies to give the appearance of smoother skin. (Have you ever seen spackle used to fill cracks in plaster walls?) Notice how the before and after pictures on the website have obvious differences in lighting and changes in angles and perspective that alone can account for the perceived differences.

What impresses BFT are products that have in-depth scientific credibility and whose marketing claims are consistent with the known physiologic and anatomical changes that enhance skin appearance and youthfulness. As it turns out, unless you are inclined to buy into the effects of the proprietary NAE-8 blend of aloe leaf and nerium leaf extract, there is little to this product that isn’t ho-hum and pedestrian in the world of cosmetics. An unsettling possibility is that the oleandrin is indeed harming cells and tissues, perhaps “subclinically”, and that resultant edema (accumulated fluid that leaks from capillaries) is plumping up the skin. If that is the case, the accompanying inflammation may well be contributing to long term pro-aging changes.

MLM’s as Modern Machiavellist Machines

We referenced some excellent and well documented works on MLM’s earlier in this series.  Not to belabor the point, but let’s just say they are cunning (great way to get people to buy by telling them buying something will make them rich), deceitful (very few break even, most are dragged down financially, only a few make the top tiers where they can exploit others), and expedient (why waste time building a great product when all you need is a good story and the Machiavellian drive to create an MLM ).

The dark Machiavellist  triad:  expediency, deceit, and cunning.   Just seems to fit. Merely an opinion — you are free to form your own.  But what will drive you in your decision? Do you believe in miracle skin care products?  Or are you really just being expedient? Promises of quick wealth are enticing.  Maybe you are good at climbing pyramids.  But at the end of the day, are you really just  practicing the dark art of expediency?  Do you believe the ends justify the means?

 

137 Comments

  1. Craig says:

    OUR REPLIES IN ALL CAPS – NO. WE ARE NOT SHOUTING.

    A couple of comments. One, on the proprietary protein. Your quote “made from animal hides and carcasses mainly” would imply that it could be mammalian in origin. It is not.

    COULD ALSO MEAN EXOSKELETONS OF MORE PRIMITIVE CRITTERS.

    The problem with your little drawing of a triangle with the two stick figures is it reveals you fundamentally don’t even understand what you are talking about. That’s an accurate drawing of a traditional corporation. I’m not going to be able to make as much as the CEO of a company in the next 5 years or likely ever when being one of the entry level lab assistants. However, with a decent fair compensation plan in this industry, it’s entirely possible for the stick figure “you” to make a great deal more than the stick figure “someone else”. I know of people that have had CPA’s and other financial consultants review the compensation plan before they joined. I would invite anyone starting any business to do your research and consult real business experts before you get involved in ANY business endeavor.

    OUR QUESTION REMAINS .. IF THE PRODUCT IS THAT GOOD, WHY WOULDN’T YOU SELL IT THROUGH NON-MLM CHANNELS? GIVEN THE REPUTATION OF MLM, WHY WOULD YOU WANT THE APPEARANCE OF EVIL EVEN IF YOU THOUGHT YOU WEREN’T?

    As for your science speculations, do you really think the experts like Dr. Newman haven’t thought about the possibilities you mention? Of course, if you believe everyone involved is evil then that doesn’t matter.

    WE DON’T KNOW DR NEWMAN. WE LOOKED FOR HIM, BUT HIS PHONE AT MD ANDERSON WAS DISCONNECTED (THE NUMBER WAS REASSIGNED TO ANOTHER DEPARTMENT). WHY DON’T YOU ASK HIM TO CALL US? WE ARE AVAILABLE. WE COULD EVEN DO AN OPEN DEBATE. RIGHT HERE ON BFT. OR THE 6 OCLOCK NEWS HOUR. WE’RE NOT SHY, AND NOT TOO PROUD TO LOSE THE DEBATE SHOULD HIS ARGUMENTS BE COMPELLING.

    Disclaimer: I am an independent distributor for NeriumAD and may pounce on you at any moment with wild claims of wealth so be careful.

    I THINK YOU ALREADY HAVE.

    PS – we edited Craig’s comment for space considerations & because we are starting to hear the same things over and over. Craig needs his own blog. When you get one set up, Craig, invite us over to chat more.

    • Craig says:

      Craig returns to generously offer some more of his time to help us along. The following combines two comments, edited to remove obvious “join just under me on the nerium pyramid” links/web site references. – DrJ

      From Craig:

      OUR QUESTION REMAINS .. IF THE PRODUCT IS THAT GOOD, WHY WOULDN’T YOU SELL IT THROUGH NON-MLM CHANNELS? GIVEN THE REPUTATION OF MLM, WHY WOULD YOU WANT THE APPEARANCE OF EVIL EVEN IF YOU THOUGHT YOU WEREN’T?

      I’m too busy to mess with this or much less be spending time writing a blog. I’m just replying as a courtesy. You question just assumes that MLM is a negative for everyone. Actually for a lot of people it is not. Of course you can find negative on the web, just like people talk about various industries or companies being evil on the web. People can say whatever they want to on the web, doesn’t make it the reality of a particular business. There is evil in every facet of human activity as well as people with the intent to do good. Just look at the whole sub-prime mortgage mess. MLM wasn’t the biotech companies first choice. Their board had to be convinced to go this direction. I suspect the first choice initially was as an ingredient supplier. In fact, biotech company initially had seven other options that I know of that were ranked higher in considering how to bring it to market when they first spoke to Jeff. He was #8. Without Jeff and his reputation and a great proposal, I very much doubt they would have chosen this business model. If you ever sat and spoke with Jeff, you’d realize he does care that the product works, that people do get help in starting this business, and that he is building for the long term not short term. I’m only glad they did take this route for it’s allowed me to have a business I wouldn’t have had otherwise and meet a lot of people and help a lot of people I wouldn’t have otherwise.

      • drjohn says:

        So glad you are into helping people. But here is what confuses me — why do you just continue to ignore the issues (aired here and elsewhere) that suggest this is not all that helpful, and lack credibility based on the gaps in the scientific hypothesis as to mechanism of action? And your argument that MLM was not Nerium Biochem’s first choice impresses us not at all as they did indeed chose it. Sounds from what you said like they were seduced into choice #8 by promises of riches … an altogether familiar paradigm it seems in the MLM world). Hey, remember that we are business guys too, and we in the trade all know about MLMs as being on everyone’s list of distribution choices. Our choice in fact could be stated anything but MLM, despite the promises. We have yet to be convinced our choice was the wrong one.

        So here is my challenge to you Craig – since you seem to be high up in the organization and boast insider knowledge direct from the mouths of those at the very top of the pyramid. Ask them to contact us directly, to air their views ON THE RECORD for the benefit of our very attentive audience. We will accept any correspondence from “Jeff” or Dr Newman,and would be most delighted to set up a conference call with them, us, and if they desire several other scientists from our university. We are dedicated to being open minded, and are willing to be convinced, on the science, the business model, or both. We are willing to find an unbiased debate moderator. If they truly believe what they are doing is above reproach, then they should be willing to say so. We will give them a platform here to face their critics. If they are as good as you say — then they will doubtless be victorious in the debate.

        Anybody can send us a private note in that little sign up box at the bottom of this column of comments, and we will get back to them via private e-mail. So please, go ask them right away. Thanks in advance.

      • Ken says:

        C’mon. Everyone should know by now that the early arrivers in a pyramid (MLM) scheme are the ones who make the $$$. This product is available on Amazon for goodness sake. The first time I got sucked into a pyramid deal was sending bottles of liquor through the mail (now illegal) and getting more back. It was also the last time. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. (Apologies to GW Bush who just couldn’t get it right). I’d like to see a double-blind crossover study that compares this stuff with pure aloe gel. I don’t think they would.

  2. Amy Donatello says:

    Hi Dr. George,

    I have a friend who is 60 years old and has been using this product. I have seen with my own eyes the improvement in her skin. It is absolutely amazing to me. The wrinkles have disappeared around her eyes, her sun spots on her hands are gone. Her neck looks like an 18 year old’s.

    But I am very skeptical because I believe as you do that there is nothing in the product that has been scientifically proven to improve skin texture.

    Is there any way that you or your colleagues could test the product to see if there is anything to it?

    Do you think that if there really is something to this oleander ingredient that other companies will pick it up and start selling it too?

    Just seeing what this product has done for her almost makes me what to go out and buy it even though I don’t like MLMs either.

    • drjohn says:

      Amy, please excuse our skepticism, as we have been around this block a few times. But tell you what … send us the name and telephone number of your friend (it won’t show up here – you should ask her permission for us to call first). Tell her a couple of skin research physicians are interested in her remarkable case. We will interview her, and if it sounds legitimate we will pay for a photographer local to her to come to her and take pictures of her 18-year old neck. If that looks as good as as you say it does, we will next obtain nerium and do several objective tests, and publish our results here. If on the other hand this turns out to be just another deceitful advertisement for nerium (we’ve had quite a few) we are going to be very cross with you. When Dr George gets cross its not a pretty sight, just warning you.

      • Scienceistruth says:

        Tell your friend to stop using it for a week and see how fast the skin returns to its state of wrinkles. Judging by the ingredients I would say this isn’t anything more than a moisturizer and a promoter of skin hydration, this the need for glycerin and the many hydrating agents. People really need to look at the science side of this. It’s a short lived affect that once stopped all the “miracles” will go away.

  3. Amy Donatello says:

    I have contacted her and am waiting for her reply. No this is not an advertisement. If you look at my first post when you first started this topic you’ll see how skeptical I am about the whole thing.

    Amy

    • drjohn says:

      Thanks, Amy. We look forward to investigating, and promise to be open-minded, fair, and thorough.

      • Amy Donatello says:

        She just now got back to me and she does not want to be contacted. She admitted to me that her neck has always looked good and maybe that the ingredients in Nerium “just happen to suit her skin well”. So much for that. I knew it was too good to be true.

  4. Rosie says:

    Hi, Dr. George,

    It has been a challenge finding websites willing to challenge this “miracle in a bottle.” I appreciate your research and thought-provoking insight. I am a brand partner who was having some pretty decent results from the product for the first month or so. Now my face has starting breaking out like crazy, and I started forming hard whitehead-like bumps all over. I have cried about this because of the investment I have made…yet no one in the business is going to truly empathize with my plight. You see, I am the minority at this early stage in this business and am pretty much viewed as the exception…the poor soul who has unrelated skin issues. I have always struggled with mild adult acne but this is the most widespread outbreak I have ever had. Coincidence? I really do not know at this point but perhaps my experience will be more common as the company grows and the product is more widely used. For now, I have to pick myself up and dust myself off because by the grace of God, life goes on. Thank you for your article. :)

  5. Drgeorge says:

    Rosie, I am sorry to hear of your skin issues using Nerium. We stand by our comments and are quite amazed someone from the company has not come forward to correct our errant ways. We love to find products that live up to their hype because they have a valid scientific foundation that makes physiologic sense and is supported by published science. Sadly, for Nerium that is lacking and no one seems to care enough to teach us their “secret”. After all, they have an issued patent to protect their “active ingredients”. We promise not to pilfer, pirate, or plagiarize their work.

  6. anonymous says:

    This reader ( a real person – we confirmed) asked us to disguise his/her identity as he/she feared his/her friends would come and burn his/her house down if they know it was him/her. -DrJ

    Thank you for this blog! A few additional observations about the claims of Nerium:

    >>>I see that the single (count ‘em, one) “third party clinical trials” was run at ST&T Research International. You can find them at http://www.sttresearch.com/web/main/en/ where they fail to list their management, board, or clients publicly…only “associates,” which means, I suppose, people they occasionally hire. A little Googling turned up NO other studies conducted by them….that’s not to say they aren’t completely honest and legitimate. :)

    >>>This single “Clinical Trial” at ST&T heavily cited by Nerium AD included a grand total of…wait for it…35 participants. Hardly statistically significant for citing “30%” improvements. You can download the report at http://www.teamsharing.org/neriumSTTReasearchReport.pdf. It is singularly unimpressive, with very little data about before/after. Look at the undramatic change in the dyed/augmented lines in the photos…and there are no undoctored photos at all. Is this any different than putting on a $3.99 moisturizer product every night for 30 days? Looks very minor to me.

    >>>All the photos at Nerium’s partner site: http://www.teamsharing.org/ showing before and after are interesting. It looks to me like the “after” photos are softer focus, lower contrast. There are no names or dates. Note particularly the picture with the two hands, a right hand that looks bad and a left hand that looks good. The caption on the photo says, “Customer used Nerium AD on left hand only.” In essence, the caption says that the photo means nothing.

    >>>I see that Dr. Robert Newman, the main medical citation for Nerium, is actually retired from M.D. Anderson Cancer center, and that M.D. Anderson cannot be cited, according to Nerium’s dictates to its brand partners. That’s because Anderson only did cancer research (and continues to do probably legit research) on a plant poison that kills cells, they did no studies on any other skincare effects. M.D. Anderson is mentioned a lot, but carefully ONLY in this context.

    >>> I see that the supposed “Eureka moment” and accidental discovery of the miraculous skincare benefits of Nerium AD during cancer research did not occur at M.D. Anderson, but at “Nerium Biotechnology,” owners of the Nerium AD brand. I find this significant.

    >>> It is very instructive to Read the blog at http://www.neriumblog.net/?p=319 warning sellers of Nerium not to cite M.D. Anderson as having anything to do with Nerium AD or testing it. I also see that MLM participants are NOT allowed to contact Dr. Newman or anyone else having to do with Nerium to quiz them:

    “Brand Partners are to limit all corporate communication to the office and staff of the Company. No direct contact is to be made with the Company’s partners, suppliers, consultants, or hired professionals without the express written approval of the Company….We take very seriously protecting the integrity of our story and our brand.” Etc.

    Formula for making a quick buck: Slap in the usual moisturizers and vitamin E, claim a “miracle” and sell your product at 10 times the price of a cheap moisturizer at the local pharmacy. Then create an MLM to push it to friends until the whole thing collapses.

    • Drgeorge says:

      Anonymous, thank you for your sleuthing and a post that comports with our impressions while providing important additional specifics. As conceded many times by BFT, the rise of Nerium is the result of very skilled and competent marketing. We are not surprised to learn about the strict prohibition forbidding straying from the party line at pain of excommunication from the ten- level cash flow nirvana.

      XXXX and his team must have been busy well in advance of the July 17, 2011 ST&T report that “confirmed” the skin benefits of oleadrin in anti-aging. On August 29, 2011, less than six weeks later, the well-oiled ($$$$) NeriumAD machine was unleashed upon an unsuspecting world. One wonders what they would have done had the study results been less “confirmatory.”

      BFT stands by its earlier conclusion: “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.”

  7. diogenes9999 says:

    You are doing an important service with this blog. I think that one of the most dangerous things about Nerium AD is that the company implies that “Clinical Trials” have proven somehow that it is safe to use an oleandar extract on your face for a long period of time. In fact, there is only the one, single, short clinical trial with 34 (not 35) participants over just 4 weeks of use. See http://www.teamsharing.org/neriumSTTReasearchReport.pdf. The ONLY confirmation of safety in that one, single trial was that “The active ingredient Nerium Oleander was not absorbed systemically into the blood.” That’s it – no further clinical trials of safety have been reported. Let me repeat: THERE HAVE BEEN NO REPORTED LONGTERM SAFETY STUDIES OF PUTTING OLEANDER EXTRACT ON YOUR FACE…no studies by the Nerium International company or anyone else that I am aware of. The M.D. supervising the single trial was Dr. Larry Fan, of 77 Plastic Surgery in San Francisco. I would like to know if Dr. Fan would like to make a public statement regarding the longterm safety of Nerium AD. Doctor?

    • R Hitt says:

      the very metion of no long term research unnerves me, my husband got into the trap about a month ago. he seems adicted to the stuff,and whats weird to me is having him come to bed with face cream on, totally a turn off , but he says that he has to use it if he is going to sell it. I told him from the beginng i was very much against it. I think when the real truth comes out ,everyone who was caught up in this lie will be so surprised, May the truth come quickly!!!!!!!!!!Ilove my husband very much ,I don’t want this product to turnout to be his “worst nightmare,”mine neither

  8. Cheryl says:

    Hi! I have been using Nerium AD on my skin for approximately one month. I have just recently become a brand partner. My brand partner package hasn’t even arrived at my doorstep yet. I consider myself a person who values integrity and truth. I DO NOT want to sell someone a product that could potentially be damaging their skin, let alone use it myself! So. for this reason I am very interested in trying (key word) to decipher what the truth is about this product. I still have time to return my package if I change my mind. I have read all of your blogs concerning Nerium AD. I am not worried about this being a MLM company, nor am I worried about potential toxicity. The toxicity is only a factor when ingested not applied topically.

    • drjohn says:

      Cheryl, toxicity is not limited to oral route…. you don’t have to ingest a substance to get a toxic reaction. It may be limited to the skin, or may be absorbed systemically through the skin.

    • Pam Landano says:

      Hi Cheryl,

      I have been using my Nerium for almost a month. This is not an advertisement. I have really tried everything because I have always had problem skin and recently I have noticed my skin aging. I had seen Nerium and wanted it so I gave it a try. I really like what I see. I think it is a very unique treatment and I am looking forward to more improvement.

      My skin is more even toned, clearer, and feels a lot smoother. As I mentioned, I had terrible skin. It may take a little more time to repair the damage I have.

      BFT feel free to test me. Their is always at least one skeptic in the room. Have you tried it yourself?

      • drjohn says:

        Glad to find somebody who is not disappointed. Must be one in every room. Our room has grown tremendously, and seems to be filling with disappointed users. Yes, Aunty sent us some. Yeccch! And the box was filled with really insulting marketing materials and celebrity bios of Jeff somebody. What’s he go to do with science??? Pam – can you explain the whacky sciece?

        • Pam Landano says:

          Dr. John, I am so glad I could assist you finding one who is not disappointed. In reply to your question: I am not the Doctor, you are and a rather cocky one at that. If it’s true your “blogside manner” sucks. You are extremely arrogant and sarcastic. What is with that?

          • drjohn says:

            Maybe you didn’t pay your blogside consult fee, that always peeves me. Sometimes the truth itself is biting and stinging.
            You ever watched House, M.D.? He has me beat on the arrogant and sarcastic scale. Even I love to hate him.
            Maybe it’s why we get over 1,000 readers here every day (and growing at 10% per week).

          • Nancy says:

            The doc is funny, and I feel he is the only one being honest about this snake oil.

  9. chris says:

    First let me say I have never tried Nerium, I do have family members who are actively selling this though, and know they love it. I have had two people whose opinions I very much respect give unfavorable opinions.
    I stumbled upon your site after attempting to really find some truth about Nerium.. The fact that it is direct marketing doesn’t bother me at all, what does it that if something seems too goo to be true, then it is probably false,.
    I read the atricle above and all of the comments, then went to The Cellese site mention in your article.
    So, if I understand correctly, the writers of the above article aren’t completely unbiased… Am I wrong in my assumption??? Like I said I have never tried Nerium, I have never smelled Nerium, I have never even, as of this time, even been asked to try it… So I have no stake in this product at all, only my own skepticism…But after going to the Cellese site, I wonder if the writers can claim the same lack of bias?

    • drjohn says:

      You don’t need to go to the Cellese site to look for evidence of bias. We talk about it right here all the time (see post “AnteAge: An Unabashedly Biased Review” right here). People try to discredit us all the the by saying we are biased,as though we are all supposed to be shocked at the very thought. Of course we are biased. As humans, we all have biases. People tend to want to agree with friends and family – that’s a known type of cognitive bias. For a long list of such biases, look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases .Scientists have biases, and often they twist themselves into pretzels trying to control for it. So be it. Let’s just acknowledge it and move on. Does it negate the fact that the bloggers here have a combined 80+ years of study and work in science and medicine, and have deep knowledge of the anti-aging cosmeceutical space? And care about the truth? No. Bias (of all types) shades how you view things, but it doesn’t change well established science facts, or logic. We keep looking for tangible facts and logical arguments to establish the legitimacy of oleander extracts as topical anti-aging agents, and have yet to see anything even remotely convincing. And the fact that MLM’s don’t bother some people (generally the people who put their hopes and $$ in them) is not a compelling argument against the harm that can be done to real people’s lives, as is well documented elsewhere.

  10. L.E. says:

    Just curious – you suspect Nerium inflames the skin and puffs it up to minimize wrinkles. If it was discontinued for a few months, and the same wrinkles came back, would that be proof of that? If it’s actually improving skin, then the improvement should be permanent, right?

    • drjohn says:

      We haven’t tested Nerium. Much of our own university-based lab work has to do with inflammation within the dermis. It’s not just Nerium – there are many products out there that may cause short term changes, which always causes raised eyebrows because true architectural changes in the skin (that would reduce wrinkles) takes months, not weeks. Products can improve things in days or weeks two ways – by increasing hydration (in dry skin), and by calling up immune system cells which also bring in fluid with them (going beyond hydration). Wrinkles are much harder to find in a lake than on a dry lake bed, right? Anyway, that’s all fine and well, except that if you continue to use an inflammatory (immune system stimulant) over long periods of time, you cause inflammaging (accelerate aging). Opposite to your real goal. Short term benefit (hide wrinkles) with a long term cost (more wrinkles). Does this happen suddenly on removal of a product? No. A good facial inflammaging experiment would have to take place over a year or more. And control for “background” aging. Hard to find wiling subjects for that experiment anyway, if they actually understand what the risks are. I guess understanding risk is what it all boils down to. Although the risks here are theoretical (again, we have not tested Nerium, just believing what they tell us and what we read about its use in cancer), the companies explanation of the product’s science suggests that an assessment of risk along these lines is quite reasonable.

      • Jules says:

        Dr. John. You are scientist and and a medical doctor (not sure if this translates to MD/PhD or not – your bio wasn’t very clear). How can you, as someone who knows how scientific debate works, attempt to debunk the claims of Nerium without your own scientific findings on it? Yes, they are missing mechanism of action in their advertised claims, and yes they are most certainly missing proper scientific evidence with placebo creams, aloe-only creams, larger sample sizes, p values, etc. etc. to support their statements. But just as they may be waving around wands in an attempt at misdirection, your shots in the dark at inflammaging are certainly no better. They lack evidence, you lack evidence. This debate is like two deaf people arguing vigorously over whose voice is nicer.

        • drjohn says:

          In medical science, it is up to the one making the claims to defend them with real evidence. Peer reviewers and critics are not expected to contribute their own funds to perform efficacy or safety experiments. If that were the case, academic dermatologists would be very busy indeed chasing down the plethora of whacky ideas in the (minimally regulated) skin care marketplace. Not a wise investment of dollars or time. Let those who claim to be raking in $250M per annum in sales sponsor the real work. Oh wait, we already asked that several years ago (still no reply).

  11. karen says:

    Thank you for the information you are putting out there about Nerium, I am someone using it, and was planning to become a “brand partner” or should I say “was planning” After reading the information you posted, I am strongly reconsidering. A friend posted a video on facebook that shows people who have “signed up” and I know it is meant to inspire, but it did just the opposite for me, turned me off completely! Yes, they claim it is the one answer to all my prayers, and will give me, wealth, time with my family and the fountain of youth! Call me jaded, but I have always been taught, if it looks and sounds to good to be true, it probably is! Hasn’t failed me yet… Oh by the way, I am on day 4 of using the product, and it remains to be seen whether or not it really does what they claim, I will keep you posted. I did see a friend that has been using Nerium for 2 months and if any change has happened it has been subtle.

    Keep up the good work, I’m glad I found you!!!

  12. Josie says:

    A good friend and many of her family members have become Nerium Brand Partners. To support her new found venture, I agreed to try the product. Given my teaching/counseling profession in the health care field, I am extremely leery of endorsing anything until I try the product and investigate it thoroughly for myself. I am cautious and suspicious of MLM’s! Your website has certainly assisted with discovering the skinny on this product.
    First off, my friend participated in a health expo and was telling potential Nerium buyers of the company’s link with MD Anderson. When people hear of that prestigious cancer center supporting a product, their motivation to buy is increased 100%. However, MD Anderson has posted on their website that Nerium brand partners, or anyone for that matter, cannot use the Nerium link with MD Anderson. It’s a bogus connect. Not surprising. A good way for Nerium to falsely boost its ‘authority’ with this product.
    Now to my using the product……..I used the product for 2 weeks. In spite of the horrid smell and dry feeling when the serum is on, I did notice a lightening of my skin and reduced brown spots. I am 65 years old and my skin is in excellent condition.Most people think I’m in my 50’s. However, I eat totally plant based and that is one of the secrets to healthy skin! I have regular facials and use a skin care product that is only sold in doctor’s offices.
    Now to my decision to do away with Nerium. I stopped using the product after reading the research and its potential damage to the skin. After cutting out the skin care product two days ago, I resorted to my tried and true regimen. My skin looked awful initially – red in certain areas and the skin appeared damaged. The laugh lines around my mouth were far more noticeable. Never saw that before. Seems to be folks have to use this product ad nauseum to achieve and then maintain results. Stop using it and the cake falls????
    I would encourage anyone thinking of using this product to do due diligence and research the company. Its clinical trial is a farce. Without a control group, its research is invalid and unreliable.
    I’m grateful for your investigation of this product. I wish my friend well. She could use the money, but I hope she doesn’t sell her soul in the meantime.
    Some enlarged pores remained the same. No change. I did notice my skin tightening a bit.

    • drjohn says:

      Josie, your comment “Stop using it and the cake falls????” may be the crux of the matter. If we take the Dr Newman’s MD Anderson research at face value, oleander extracts are likely causing an inflammatory stress response. In the short term this causes fibroblasts to pump out matrix (GAGs, collagen, elastin) and draws fluid to the area, which may hide wrinkles in the short term, and superficially, but the underlying structures are “inflammaging” with bad collagen cross linking leading to an ultimately more disturbed architecture (but feels like “skin tightening”). Take away the stress stimulus, the excess fluid leaves, the real damage appears. The cake has fallen. Now of course we keep hearing things like “it’s not the same stuff”, the extract is a new “non-toxic” one. So, why would you start with oleandrin in the first place, if you wanted something that doesn’t work like oleandrum? And why would your “proof of safety rest on testing to make sure that you cannot detect potentially deadly glycosides in blood after topical application? Do you see how this toxin turned miracle cure just doesn’t add up scientifically or logically?

  13. Josie says:

    The Brand Partners aren’t interested in the ‘real’ science. Dollar signs motivate. I encouraged my friend to read comments on your blog, but to no avail. Her response, “Oh, we know about them!” Nerium has, skillfully, created a cult following. Sadly, in these down economic times, dollar signs take precedence over truth and integrity. Please keep up your great work. At some point the truth about Nerium and its real effects on the skin will manifest. Tragically, far too many people will be crying over their spilled milk and fallen cakes!!!

  14. Sandra says:

    I have used the product for over 30 days because after attending a so called “Real Results Party”, I was determined that my sun damage skin and acne would disappear as was shared by numerous testimonials of either customers or Brand Partners. I tried it to help fix my problem skin because the testimonials sounded to great. Stories from 3 days to no acne, 7 days to removing age spots got me interested to try it at the least. After sharing this with the Brand partner I signed up with that it’s not doing anything for me, in fact it made my acne worse, she said that sometimes it takes a little bit longer for some so she invited me to meet Jeff Olsen the founder of Nerium at an event and to hear more life changing stories.

    I did some research online about this XXXX [nerium executive], I learned that he left another company called XXXX, previously known an XXXX . He and his close buddy by the name of XXXX, who was also with Legal shield left. I don’t know why, but it seems that this whole organization of Nerium Partners are placed under this XXXX guy who is raking in over a Million Dollars or more a year. Pretty fishy business if you ask me.

    Anyways, while at this event I listened to this XXXX speak about how Nerium will be the only perfect company (red flag – How can it be perfect, the product didn’t work for me all) and he also stated how he was a mentor and coach to Millionaires that seek his knowledge. After researching more about XXXX, I could not find anything accept that he was a rep for XXXX and that he left to start his own company. I saw how brand partners were almost being brain washed. Why follow a quitter of a leader. Scary if you ask me!

    Later after the event I sat with my friend because I guess her whole goal was to sign me up as a partner since in the beginning I did show some interest in becoming one. While sitting with her and some of her brand partners as they discussed the evening and how to plan for the next Real Results party, I heard my friend say that they should go after other MLM people in other companies that does parties because it would give them a huge advantage to becoming more successful faster. She mentioned going after people in Mary Kay, Avon, ViSalus, Passion party people and more because they are great as partners and that the leaders teach them how to recruit other partners using this tactic. This is not good in my opinion.

    After informing my friend to cancel my monthly shipment, she said I have to do it myself and emailed me a form which I had to fill out and fax in to the company. I don’t understand why I need to do this, this made my red flags go up again, why does the company make it so difficult for a customer to cancel their plan.

    Oh better yet, a few days later I see my friend post on Facebook on the not to do’s regarding Nerium…I guess the company is feeling the heat of false claims.

    I’m so over this Nerium hype scam, to me it is a scam, it’s taking advantage of the weak and promising them riches for selling a fake miracle mask that cures acne and cancer. Shame on XXXX and Nerium!!!!

  15. grandma0f2 says:

    I used Nerium for 6 weeks and saw no improvement. On the contrary I had a bad reaction to the product during the 6th week. My skin felt like it was on fire when I applied the product. I immediately washed it off. My face was red for about 6 days then the skin healed. So 10 days later I tried it again ( Iwas told to push through it) Results were burning skin again. I always questioned using oleander on the skin. Now I am convinced never to use this product. It will be interesting to see what the long term results are to human skin. Will it make you look much older with more skin damage than when a person started out?

    • Josie says:

      Two days off Nerium, and back to my regular skin care products and routine, the redness disappeared and my skin felt much better.
      I would like to see someone from Nerium respond to Dr. John’s and Dr. George’s comments and research. I just told a Brand Partner that MD Anderson posted its position re Nerium on its website – that it has nothing to do with product – and, at first, she didn’t buy that. I told her to check it out herself. The brainwashing is rampant, but understanding group mentality and group think, I can understand their initial denial.

  16. Kerrie Ann says:

    Let me first disclose I am a independent Brand Partner and YES Nerium does not work for everyone. I personally have seen remarkable results. My husband used on some sun damage on his face (construction work for over 10 years) and it looks great. He does not use daily and none has recurred. I also had major sun damage, in the past I have used high priced laser treatments, spa skin care lines, OTC products, microdermabrasion, skin peels etc. I’ve also done botox and filler. I cannot see how this little cream could possibly do more damage than any of the above. I am not a scientist but I FELT the damage caused by the laser and had long term healing periods, the same could be said of Hydroquinones that stunk terribly, made my skin itch & burn & messed up my pillow cases.

  17. Drgeorge says:

    The injectable treatments you mention (fillers and botox) result in immediate resuts and are usually of weeks to months duration. Injectable fillers are largely safe but reports occur of misadventures. Botox paralyzes muscles by preventing the nerve cell from secreting acetyl choline into the neuromuscular synapse, thereby preventing muscuar contraction, ergo wrinkles caused by facial muscle contraction relax. The body eventually overcomes this effect by creating new sites where neurotransmiter secretion can occur so Botox must be repeated.

    Most of the other treatments you mention in your post create rapid visibie damage and are used in single episode fashion (although repeat episodes are certainly done by many.) The controlled trauma is then followed by repair processes which are well understood and “normal”. Some individauls develope post-traumatic hyperpigmentation which can be significant, especially in certain ethnic groups such as Asians.

    BFT’s issue with Nerium remains that the known mechansim of action of oleadrin is ultimately cytotoxic, hence its capacity to kill unwanted types of cells. Regardless of whether the threshhold of lethality to normal cells is higher, deleterious long term effects are certainly more scientifically plausible than long term benefit. Nerium AD is intended to be a chronic repetative daily use product, very much unlike the episodic, albeit sometimes repeated, traumatic treatment you mention. the possible inflammatory response to NeriumAD may plump up tissues but long term inflammation is in no way anti-aging, it is, in fact, pro-aging.

  18. Deb says:

    Hi, I have a friend who is slinging this product. He asked me to try it out because I am in the beauty industry. I just used it for the first time tonight… To be exact 25 minutes ago.. For the past 23 minutes I have been itching like crazy!! And the irritation is not limited to where I applied the product.
    I also am glad that it has been pointed out that toxic things don’t have to be ingested to have a negative effect.(although I assumed that this was a well known fact)
    I suggest that people google the ingredients (not the product) to find facts, the explanation of actual ingredients won’t lie. Product companies will! After all, they want you to buy their product, toxic or not!

  19. Deb says:

    The MD Anderson website released a statement saying they do not endorse Nerium AD nor did they have anything to do with its creation or research in any way.
    I did find a press release from Nerium AD wherein they state’ sponsored research at MD Anderson’. If it is such a great product and safe why the need to blatantly lie?
    Also, thanks Nerium for my hives!!!

    Here is the link for Nerium claiming sponsored research
    http://www.prweb.com/releases/2011/8/prweb8755747.htm

    Here is MD Anderson link in regards to Nerium
    http://www2.mdanderson.org/cancerwise/2012/08/setting-the-record-straight-about-md-anderson-and-nerium.html

  20. d says:

    is MLM illegal?

    • drjohn says:

      “Pyramid schemes” are illegal. What defines a pyramid scheme legally leaves a huge grey zone. An MLM is still a pyramid, its just one designed to comply with certain rather minimal standards. Keeps them out of jail, but doesn’t keep them from dipping into your pocket.
      Hey – if the whole thing fails it’s because you guys didn’t sell enough, right?

      • d says:

        I agree with you “Pyramid schemes” are illegal. I am a hater on any kind of schemes.
        My question was “is MLM illegal?
        since you are so obsess with Pyramid, let me rephrase my question
        Is Pyramid illegal?
        Just as an sample:
        in any given corporation; you have your CEO/Presicent, VPs, Directors, Managers, Supervisors, Team leaders, etc…
        What does this make? To me, it looks like a pyramid

  21. Not Impressed says:

    I am submitting a second comment to follow up my first. I returned my Nerium AD sample to my friend who asked me to try it. It did not work for me due to itching and redness, but she was very nice about the return and was sorry that it did not work with my skin type. She stated it did not work or agree with everyone. I had NO PROBLEMS with the return. No charge. This is the right type of person who should be representing a new product. Good for her. Truthfully submitted.

    • drjohn says:

      Wouldn’t it be nice and the right thing if the company stated that as their requirements for BP’s, official company return policy, and you get booted if you don’t comply.

  22. Jenny says:

    I tried Nerium Ad after a friend of a friend was ranting and raving about it on facebook. Given that she was someone I felt personally connected to, I was willing to give it a shot. I have suffered from acne since i was 11 and have within the past few years gotten it under control and was looking for a non-surgical, scar treatment. Nerium was the WORST thing i have ever tried. I broke out worse than i had ever broken out before. My break out left scars that put my past scars to shame. The past six months of my life have been spent trying to damage control all that Nerium had done to my skin. AND i paid 100 bucks for the stupid little bottle that did this to me in the first place. If you have sensitive skin, don’t try this product. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

  23. 1skingal says:

    MLM?? I always refer to these companies as NMC (Network Marketing company) ie Pyramids….I am currently being inundated from my clients and others about this so called amazing product….HA! First and foremost this company is seeking to build their business ie NMC. second most people I know that “think” they see big results is because they use noxema or the like prior to this product. I guess they would see results! REALLY $80 a month or even two for this product…CRAZY! I have been doing treatmentson my Aunt who is in her 60’s and she has always taken care of her skin. She used this product for over 30 days and saw NO improvement over what we had already done in my professional treatments. I guess if you have $80 to spend seek the services of a professional skin therapist and see what they recommend for you…you just may find a friend for life!

  24. Sheilabt6260 says:

    I saw the link to this page in a group for estheticians on Linkedin. I am an licensed esthetician and instructor. I had never heard of this product until about a month ago when a brand partner contacted me. I tried the product for a few days, and although I experienced no problems, I knew that results would not be seen in such a short period. I was almost suckered into becoming a brand partner, but stopped short for several reasons. The first strike came when I found out that the company is an MLM. I abhor them! They are nothing but a money making racket where only a few make most of the money. It is a disgusting way to prey on the desperate! And I knew that a legitimate company really interested in getting this miracle product into the hands of those who could provide professional integrity would NOT use an MLM. They would get it into the hands of licensed professionals.

    Because I am an instructor, I have to know how a product works, especially one making such miraculous claims. The brand partner could not explain it to me. So she got the lady in her up line to contact me, and basically she told me that they could not explain how the product works because most BPs are not licensed skin care professionals. The reason is that BPs, not knowing skin anatomy or cell function, could easily overstep the boundaries which could garner the attention of the FDA. Second strike! And the third strike came when I realized what little research they have actually done. I was in no way going to sign up to sell a product that I knew nothing about. It could mean professional suicide. And when I tried to look up ingredients, I came up with the same results BFT found. I was skeptical from the beginning and so glad that I decided not to do it. Like others have said here, if it sounds too good to be true, it is! Thanks for the insight, and I love the cynicism and sarcasm in the docs. I think it may be well deserved!

  25. HaroldC says:

    A friend came over today and gave the Nerium pitch to my wife. While they were talking, I went online to do some research and found this site. After reading some of the comments, reasonable doubt entered my mind and I did a little research on my own… uncovering some very interesting information.

    I found a news item on the San Francisco Chronicle web site announcing that Nerium is featured in the current issue (November 2012) of “Beautiful You” magazine, and the article states “In third-party clinical trials with globally renowned ST&T Research, NeriumAD produced a 20%-60% reduction in the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and discoloration.”

    GLOBALLY RENOWNED ST&T Research? What makes them renowned? To find out, I visit their site at http://www.sttresearch.com, and start snooping around. There is a link to a “Clients List” page, but it’s password protected… so I can’t verify that this company has ANY clients aside from Nerium. Next, I check the “Associates” page. A few links work and contain some possibly reliable information, but a couple also lead to “under construction” pages.

    I click on a link to aceris.org, and right away something seems fishy… One of the stock photos is the same as one I saw on sttresarch.com. The overall similarity and cheapness of both sites makes me think they are both by the same designer… so I do a quick WHOIS lookup, and sure enough, they are both registered to a guy named Michael Scott. And guess what, another one of the “Associate” sites listed on the page, itclusa.com, is ALSO registered to Michael Scott.

    Some more research on him turns up another web site registered to the same email address and name… http://www.agelesszen.com, which sells “Ageless Zen Night Cream (Anti-Aging treatment)” that comes in a pump container that looks almost exactly like Nerium. I don’t know when the clinical trials were performed, but this domain was registered back in January of 2009.

    I didn’t check all of the “Associates” and “Partners” on all of these Michael Scott sites, but I’ve already seen enough to know that something stinks.

    Conspiracy, anyone?

    • drjohn says:

      renowned [rɪˈnaʊnd]
      Thesaurus
      Adj. 1. renowned – widely known and esteemed; “a famous actor”; “a celebrated musician”; “a famed scientist”; “an illustrious judge”; “a notable historian”; “a renowned painter”
      celebrated, famed, famous, far-famed, illustrious, noted, notable
      known – apprehended with certainty; “a known quantity”; “the limits of the known world”; “a musician known throughout the world”; “a known xxxx”

      • Martha says:

        ST&T has the same physical address as asceris.org. Try google’s drive-by of the street address. A very unimpressive storefront of a single door. Law offices are on the second floor.

        • drjohn says:

          http://www.contractlaboratory.com/labclass/lab_listing_details.cfm?lab_id=2679

          ST&T Consultants is a division of Atox research. According to Manta (no guarantee of accuracy, we didn’t try to fact check) ST&T Consultants has “1-4″ employees (my guess is one) with annual revenues of $90,000 (http://www.manta.com/c/mm5wpzg/s-t-t-consultants). The sounds like a “virtual” organization. I am speculating that nobody actually works there full time (other than M. Scott, the owner) – perhaps he takes on people for projects as they arise. The long list of MD & PhD level consultants? Likely, they don’t actually work there full time. I know one or two – they are of retirement age. Michael Scott, President of ST&T, is a regulatory type. Has an MBA (no MD, no PhD) it seems. He runs the whole show. Nerium literature describes this organization as a major player in research, and describes Mr. Scott as a toxicologist (although no science degree is listed, as far as we can see). This whole ST&T thing seems perhaps a bit thin, in my humble opinion. I don’t get a sense that it is a top drawer organization possessing immense scientific gravitas (as Neriumites keep claiming).

  26. LP says:

    I have always used retin a on my skin and gave it up to try nerrium. My skin has been awful. Repeat plogged pores and actual blemishes. It has been terrible! It has been 6 weeks. I thought it was just my skin adjusting but it is getting worse. Thank you for the info on this site, as now I know it is not going to get better and I may be harming my skin.
    I always prided my healthy looking skin ( from the retin a) and hope I can get back to where I was before I tried this cream.

  27. Born skeptic says:

    http://www.agelesszen.com/customer-service?SID=i5e0tva5ntll3dnuk48383ved5

    Please look at the customer service page for the “Ageless Zen” company site. This is the text repeated in each section…..
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Morbi luctus. Duis lobortis. Nulla nec velit. Mauris pulvinar erat non massa. Suspendisse tortor turpis, porta nec, tempus vitae, iaculis semper, pede. Cras vel libero id lectus rhoncus porta. Suspendisse convallis felis ac enim. Vivamus tortor nisl, lobortis in, faucibus et, tempus at, dui. Nunc risus. Proin scelerisque augue. Nam ullamcorper. Phasellus id massa. Pellentesque nisl. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Nunc augue. Aenean sed justo non leo vehicula laoreet. Praesent ipsum libero, auctor ac, tempus nec, tempor nec, justo.

    When typed into google, this site comes up….
    http://www.lorem.biz/loremipsum.php

    Why, oh why would a company need “dummy text?”

  28. Marlene says:

    I have been using Nerium for approximately 5 weeks. My neck wrinkles are much better and smoother and it shows. My face is also smoother. I guess you can say it works for some and not others. All the people I know and anyone who is using this product, are getting good results. I have had one person tell me they broke out from using it but I guess anyone can break out from using products that they never used before. I to was skepital about this product but it has worked on me and others in my group of friends. Yes I am a brand partner and no I am not just saying this to make a sale. These are my results and although I cannot speak for others it has worked for me.

  29. Laine says:

    Thank you SO much for exposing this company for what it is!!! I have to tell you, the company has flooded Google, Yahoo with spam claiming the wonders of this product.
    i had to find your blog on ask.com. I tried it, waste of money!!!!

  30. Natha says:

    I am an esthetician operating in an area where Nerium is rampant. I am concerned about what the contraindications could be when considering any type of service for a client that is using Nerium. It seems that even mild exfoliation could cause obvious irritation. What are your recommendations?

  31. Jessica Bates says:

    As a Licensed Medical Aesthetician, I have been practicing for 10+ years and my favorite thing to look at is the ingredient list. I appreciate the way you have listed all the ingredients and put them in layman’s terms for those who do not understand. Unfortunately this is mostly just lots of oils for a bottle around 100 dollars. It’s a scam and shame. I worked for many credible lines over the years and this is not 1 of them. I would not doubt if nerium ends up with a class action lawsuit

  32. Jennifer Grandquist says:

    What a NEGATIVE site!!!!!! UGH, almost a day ruiner!!!!!!!!!!! Go do something POSITIVE with all of your time!!! While I am out making money! :)

    • drjohn says:

      Jennifer, You want us to be positive, which we are when we find something to be positive about. But, what I am wondering is why you don’t you want us to be thoughtful, insightful, analytic, sincere seekers of truth, and let the chips fall where they may. That is, after all, our role and mission. You instead seem to want us to be blind, unthinking advocates. Plenty of those around, you don’t need us to cheer you on. If you want to hear truth, come back and visit. If you just want another voice to validate you are doing the right thing – we are probably not your best choice of reading material. The truth matters to us. We wish it did for everyone.

  33. C Jeff Oakes says:

    So, Let me get this straight. You don’t like MLMs (which I am no part of either), so I am guessing that you would not like to receive link from my website (http://jeffoakes.me) promoting your website, because clearly that would be tantamount to affilitate marketing, which is a spinoff of multi-level marketing. I am also guessing that since you are so opposed to the notion of such concepts, you also do no link-building either? Would this be a fair summation?

    • drjohn says:

      Affiliate marketing, as we understand it, is not the issue at all. What we get upset about is deceptive business practices, seducing people already near their financial tipping point to “invest in their own business” which 98% of them will lose money on, all founded upon a shaky foundation of products with whacky science that may do far more harm than good. No sure what link building is, but as people have been writing and telling us, not all MLM’s are evil. Given more evidence, we are amenable to that viewpoint. Let’s say for now only some MLM’s are evil.

  34. JP says:

    There have anti aging or wrinkle reducing products out that are still in question. Back in the 80″s Retin A, a pharmaceutical product used to treat acne was accidentally discovered to reduce wrinkles. People went to dermatologists in droves to get their hands on the stuff. Doctors warned against using it as it can leave the skin feeling sore and looking red. Retina A has and still is found in skin care products.

    Glycolic Acid, a derivative of Hydroxy Acid, is another product that was found to be helpful in treated the skin mostly as a chemical peel to remove one thin layer of facial skin and revealing a new smoother version. Before its use on the skin, it has been and still is widely used in the textile industry as a dying and tanning agent, in food processing as a flavoring agent and as a preservative. Yet people continue to use it on their skin. Those products worked for some, didn’t work for others. Some people have no reactions to them, others had minor to severe reactions. These are just two examples of products that were used for one purpose then discovered to have a use on the skin — mainly anti aging. People used them both and still do regardless of the warnings. Where’s the research on those products? Let’s not forget Botox injections.

    Now we have Nerium AD. A product containing a plant extract that people don’t understand so they are critical of it. The product claims to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and people are flocking to try it out and see if it’s the real deal. It works on some and not others, etc. The only difference here is that Nerium AD’s business model is network marketing. People who don’t understand how to work a network marketing business come in, think it’s going to be easy, realize it’s hard work, leave and become disgruntled writers on sites like this one.

    • Drgeorge says:

      Thanks for your comment, JP. I think you are making an apples to oranges comparison not germane to the question posed by BFT about the mechanism of action of Nerium AD.

      The mechanisms of action of Retin A (retinoic acid) and glycolic acid are well understood which makes their usefulness in anti-aging products scientifically reasonable. Widespread usage over time has proved both to be safe for use by the general public.

      These substances improve skin appearance in similar ways but with an important difference. Both enhance cellular turnover of the skin, something that slows down dramatically with increasing age. Retin A directly stimulates cellular turnover and glycolic acid chemically exfoliates. The result is younger layers of skin cells at the surface, ergo a more youthful look.

      Not so with Nerium AD where an “accidental” finding is all that is provided to explain how a known cellular toxin (oleandrin) performs its anti-aging magic. The scientific team that studied and elucidated the ways in which this substance was of usefulness in killing cancer cells (the reason studies and trials were performed to get it approved by the FDA as a therapeutic drug) has remained, at least to our knowledge, silent. Except, of course, to opine on how many bottles can be drunk by a one year old child without ill effect – answering a question BFT has stated many, many times is NOT an issue.

      Scientists do not usually permit “accidental” findings to remain unexplained because there is something very unscientific about that. BFT wonders if all this might not be somehow related to the method chosen to market Nerium AD. Focusing the public’s attention primarily on how much money can be made selling a product might make scientific inconsistencies of little interest to nearly everyone – except, of course,“nattering nabobs of negativism” like BFT.

      • kim says:

        My mother-in-law is all about this nerium stuff. She’s a brand partner and has been using it for over a year. I personally have not seen any “real” improvement in her skin. She’s given me samples to try and it made the skin around my eyes break out. But, I have used it on burns. I got burned on a few different areas of my arm from my new gas oven. I put nerium on 2 of the burns and left one untreated. The untreated burn
        peeled and scarred, while the nerium treated ones did not. I’ve put it on sunburns and on cold sores. It’s worked well at clearing both up. I was going to buy a bottle and give it another shot.. but while looking for her nerium web page, I found you guys. I’ve been super weary of this stuff and getting involved with it because I do not like multi-level-marketing or the get rich quick or win a fancy car if you sell this much of our product kind of companies. So the information this site has provided on the so-called clinical trials is very useful. I was really surprised to find out that no long term studies have been done. Scary!

  35. Karen says:

    I’ve got a few issues with the product. It’s marketed that it is safe BECAUSE it comes from “all natural ingredients” which I’m sure appeals to people who like buzz words and don’t read. However, I love natural, organic ingredients but I know that not all of them are safe and healthy. Take soy for instance. Even, nonGMO organic soy is not really “good” for you. People shouldn’t ever replace other foods with it because it’s a toxic plant. Oleander is extremely poisonous to eat. When I think of a safe and natural product, I prefer one that is safe enough to eat. Too many people now days slather and scrub stuff on their largest organ (the skin) that they wouldn’t drink, without thinking about how the skin “drinks” that hydration. As far as safety, even as a cancer treatment, nerium was never proven to have a positive effect and it WAS shown to have several adverse side effects. That doesn’t sound much better than any other cancer treatment to me. Just because it’s a plant doesn’t make it good for you. I would also be concerned, as the author mentioned, that the reason for a plumping reaction to nerium would be the skin’s inflammatory reaction to poisoning. Snake venom, bee venom, might do the same in small doses. Both are “natural”. What, though, would be the long term effects of subjecting the skin and immune system to regular poisoning, even in “safe” doses? To answer that I would look at the long term effects of alcohol, sugar, caffeine and nicotine to skin. What once made you feel spry in the morning, after a few years, just the opposite. I’m with the author. There are safer treatments to reduce the signs of aging, truly safe and natural. Those are reducing the amount of exposure to toxic chemicals, foods, plants, and any other thing that doesn’t nourish the body, exercise and getting more good fats in your diet. So far as I’ve seen, the quick fix, fades as quickly. Using something natural to poison for an unnatural end result of good looks, sounds like another crazy vanity scheme. Who cares who sells it?

    • Jodie says:

      Hello, A friend of mine introduced me to this product and I have been trying it. I do like the way it makes my skin feel. However, my husband tried it and it burned his skin. He has much dryer skin than I do. When I brought the fact up to my friend about the Oleander they told me that there are many kinds of Oleander and this one is not of the toxic variety. I will check this out before I make my decision on if I will purchase this product. No one on this site mentioned anything about this. If this particular variety is not toxic than what’s the problem???!!

      • drjohn says:

        Whomever told you this is wrong. The plant this is extracted from is named Nerium Oleander, a plant well known for many centuries to be toxic. There is another oleander, also containing the same poison. Dr Newman (remember him) proved that it is a cell toxin, causing massive oxidative stress, which is why it can kill certain cancer cells. The company has admitted it contains a known poison, but says its there in such small quantities it cannot hurt you (by stopping your heart). Just search on “nerium oleander” and look for medical sites – not Nerium AD selling sites – to find out the truth.

        • anon1 says:

          There is a video on a Nerium site where a doctor first says that the plants are different and the Nerium plant is not the toxic one. (Data on this varies on the internet.) Later in the same video, another doctor talks about how the toxicity was an issue because they were dealing with a poisonous plant.

          • drjohn says:

            A doctor said that N. oleander is not toxic? Wow! Ask him to call us. The scientific literature is abundantly clear. The information has been known for centuries, perhaps millenia. Nerium oleander most definitely contains the toxin we have been discussing. To be certain, just look at Nerium Biochemistry’s oft mentioned extraction patent USPTO # 8,524,286. It talks all about the extraction of cardiac glycosides – THE toxin – in fact they try to optimize the concentration of the poison in the extract! It is their claimed active ingredient, after all. It is the toxin in oleander plants and a few other poisonous species. Do a pubmed search on Nerium oleander. You will find a lot of scientific information there.

  36. Anon says:

    Ok, I don’t know if anyone else had this happen to them but I was invited by an acquaintance to a Nerium party. There were about 8 other women there. We drank wine and watched a video and everyone was SO TOTALLY convinced and gung ho about signing on. Come to find out later that this party was set up for me and me only. All of the other women were already brand partners or customers. The whole experience has left me feeling completely sketched out. Everyone pretending I was just another guest when I was really the whole focus. Just….ew!

    • drjohn says:

      Fraud in the inducement is a specific type of business fraud. With fraud in the inducement, the inducer uses deceit or trickery in order to cause the other party to act to their (the inducer’s) advantage, such as signing an agreement, or accepting an offer.

  37. JP says:

    OK, it’s official now: The BBB now rates Nerium an “F”. The big question is does the “F” stand for “fraud” or for “forever young.” My guess is more the former than the latter!

    • anon says:

      JP, come on, don’t be so persnickety. They’ve only been in business a year and a half, sold $100 MM first year and from a brand partner’s message I received the other day, are on track to do $250 MM the second. With that much money to count, who has time to deal with customer complaint details?

      To get chapter and verse, visit:
      http://www.bbb.org/dallas/business-reviews/multi-level-selling-companies/nerium-international-in-addison-tx-90392640

      • JP says:

        Anon, The only real science Nerium has uncovered is the ability to extract dollars from BPs’ and their customers’ credit card accounts, despite requests to stop. The naive will be impressed with big sales figures while the wise will dig deeper. By the way, you correctly revealed that “JP” stands for Jimmy Persnikety. Congratulatory prizes will be shipped to you monthly free of charge! You just need to pay a nominal fee to cover shipping and processing.

    • chris says:

      Just a heads up to someone as uneducated as youself, as a business owner myself (not a brand partner of anything) I stopped being affiliated with the BBB last year when I learned that they simply give you a grade after you pay them a heafty fee. So for me, and almost all of my peers, decided that they are simply a joke. But great argument.

      • drgeorge says:

        Chris, we are not publishing your previous post because of the four-letter obscenities in it. The response below is to your second post in which you found a more civil voice.

        The Better Business Bureau was founded in 1912 and actually consists of 113 independently incorporated local organizations in the US and Canada. Its focus is advancing marketplace trust and in 2012 nearly 1 million consumer complaints were handled. It also provides alerts to the public about scams and reviews advertising and charities.

        As Chris points out, becoming a member requires a fee and some are critical of the organization, apparently not entirely without cause. The ABC program 20/20 investigated and found it possible for a phony organization to be favorably graded. A fake company named Hamas (the same name as the terrorist group) was favorably graded after paying its fee. The same goes for a non-existent sushi restaurant in Santa Ana, California and a skinhead, neo-Nazi web site called Stormfront.

        The national president and CEO commented on the broadcast: “The BBB accreditation and the BBB ratings systems is not about generating money…[but] the A minus grade for Hamas was given in error. Plain and simple, we made a mistake,”

        That being said, our opinion is the BBB is not necessarily without value as a tool to examine the respect and responsiveness companies show their customers. In the case of Nerium, there are numerous customer complaints with detailed information about how these complaints were resolved…or ignored. Unless these complaints are also concocted and bogus, it may be worthwhile for people considering joining the Nerium juggernaut to stop by the website below and see what is alleged.

        http://www.bbb.org/dallas/business-reviews/multi-level-selling-companies/nerium-international-in-addison-tx-90392640/complaints

  38. Crystal says:

    Everyone leaving positive comments, are the people at the top of the pyramid. And everyone at the bottom was stupid enough to let their self get there. My cousin is swallowed up in this so I have been doing what research I can. Know what I can find? Absolutely nothing of substance. I contacted them and asked what medical journals I could look at to read about the clinical trials. None. It’s FAKE people. The 100s of before and after pictures I see are just diff angles, diff light, diff make up. How are people so gullible?! Craig…you should be ashamed if yourself.

  39. Msjodie4evr says:

    I have read every word on here to be try and be non biased. I really just want to say that I researched as well as I could about the product and the company before I made a decision on the subject. Obviously, that’s how I came across this site in the first place. My background is as a medical aesthetician and educator for 11 years in the field of cosmetic dermatology and plastic surgery. I have seen every kind of treatment invasive or non invasive, pharmaceutical or cosmeceutical. What I can say is that in my experience Nerium has been the first product I have seen or used that addresses multiple signs of aging in one application eliminating the need for multiple products. I have always promoted the layering technique preferring smaller molecule serums and acids. I tested the product in my own non clinical test study and every test subject seen marked improvement and was happy with their results. I became a Nerium believer and then a brand partner. Now, it is not my intention to convince or change anyone’s mind or opinion. I just felt the need to express that many people are very happy with their product and business model.

    • drjohn says:

      As a medical aesthetician, I know you will share our high regard for scientific truth and product safety. Perhaps you can get an answer to this simple question (which we have been asking for several years, with no answer forthcoming from the company). It is this – how can an active ingredient that causes “massive oxidative stress” to cells be good for skin in the long term? It means this oleander extract is the exact opposite of an anti-oxidant. It is highly pro-oxidant. This fact was well established by Dr. Newman (of Nerium Biotechnology) and published in quality scientific peer-reviewed journals. In fact, it oleander extracts are so good at killing cells that Nerium Biotechnology sells the same substance (oleander extract) as an anti-cancer drug in third world countries. Oxidative stress and and dying cells means inflammation, which affects the matrix around skin cells, causing stiff, gnarly collagen to be produced. In fact, it is the same mechanism as excessive exposure to solar radiation. We all agree that the sun is aging skin’s enemy, not friend. What happens if you use this over a longer period of time?

    • Robert says:

      There is no such thing as a “Medical” Esthetician. I have NEVER seen in any State in the Union issue a “Medical” esthetic license… I know that a lot of estheticians try to play themselves up as being “Medical ” Estheticians or “Master” estheticians. THERE IS NO MEDICAL TRAINING OR “MASTERY” LEVEL TRAINING AND/OR LICENSING IN ANY STATE IN THE ESTHETIC FIELD!!! And please stop spelling it “AESTHETICIAN” to make it sound all Fancy and High-Brow… It is “ESTHETICIAN” with an “E”. Spelling it with an “A” only makes you sound pretentious, stupid and that you posses an inferiority complex but didn’t want the boob-job to become a stripper like the rest of the low self-esteem girls.. The average education/ training for esthetic licensure in most states is 260 hours… BTW, I do have an Esthetic license in the State of Florida and I do not play myself up to more than what MY ACTUAL LICENSE says I am. Nor will I ever throw my licensure, reputation, or 20 years experience in skin care to make a quick buck and put any client at risk recommending products without hard test-tube documented Facts, Independent Research and Clinical trial evidence (250+ subjects of all skin types) in reputable Dermatology and Medical journals like JAMA Dermatology. The root cause of ACNE is inflammation. The numerous complaints of ACNE after using this product are indication of it being Pro-inflammatory.

  40. fran says:

    I tried both day and night creame for two weeks and I was sick as a dog. Then I stopped using it for a week and stated to feel like myself again. Then went back to using it again and My head hurt all day and night, mood swings, not wanting to eat or drink anything, loss of weight and I have seizures anyway so this is a very bad drug. Driving was insame! When I was told to report this to the company there was no one on the other end of the phone at anytime.
    SCAM
    Pyrimid scam

  41. Colossus says:

    Will Nerium improve the redness and irritation of my taint?

    • drjohn says:

      Read this post: you can see guys who have tried applying oleander extracts to sensitive private areas have experienced serious side effects from systemic absorption.

  42. Emily Lowe says:

    Hi Dr. George and Dr. John – first of all, love, love, love the site! I have enjoyed reading the various NeriumAD rants. I, too, have been told I have a poor “bedside manner” and I often fail to filter criticism in a more palatable way for my students – it’s probably the field.

    I came across your site while (like the many others) trying to do some research on the functional mechanisms NeriumAD. It all started when a rotation student (i.e. first year grad student) of mine (I am a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA) told me about an unusual experience. It was just after their final exam this quarter (Dec 2013) and a fellow grad student invited my student and some of their classmates over for wine and cheese and to “hear about what she’s been doing.” My student, a self-confessed nerd, was eager to hear more about her classmate’s research (I’m sure hoping it would be more exciting than what she had been doing with me all quarter).

    But, when she got there, she and her fellow first year grad students were bombarded with very heavy-handed MLM recruiting techniques. Of course, grad students are a seemingly perfect population for NeriumAD – budding scientists who might bring validity to the product and who are poorer than they’ve probably ever been! Nevertheless, while her instigating classmate appeared to have fallen for the scam, my student and most of her friends were skeptical – I’m so proud of my fledgling scientist!

    My research involves identifying and testing cell-mediated killing of HIV infected cells as well as cell-independent mechanisms – in other words, immunotoxins and cytotoxins. Keenly, my student pointed out that oleander is a toxin, why doesn’t it kill skin cells as it supposedly kills transformed cells? Of course, the MLM recruiters couldn’t answer. My student described that while she kept asking for HOW the product works and what are the ACTIVE INGREDIENTS, the MLM recruiters kept repeating, “It’s science!” and “We have clinical proof that it works – we have a PATENT!” She admits, their talk about it’s role in cancer research, before and after “skin micrograph” photos they were shown, all coupled with the wine and hard selling techniques had her nearly convinced that NeriumAD must “somehow” work. She was still confused, however, that the recruiters were verbally insisting that the product actually reduces wrinkles – wouldn’t that kind of result be regulated by the FDA?

    Yes, I told her, it would. In about 30 minutes of research, I confirmed what “anonymous” above found. That the MLM recruiters were speaking out of line and that they cannot and should not have said that the product reduces wrinkles, only the APPEARANCE of wrinkles (http://www.neriumblog.net/nerium-product/nerium-international-research-information/). Nerium Biotechnology (including Pheonix Biotechnology and the Salud Integral Group) do boast a number of patents (and I read most of them in detail, just out of curiosity), none of them are relevant to the skincare line NeriumAD except of those regarding the extraction process (woo hoo).

    Aside from the non-published ST&T “clinical trial,” there is no blinded, randomized (age/sex) study using a control cream (lacking the NAE-8 “active” ingredient or even compared to a cheap $10 drug store cream). When you watch the clinical trial video (the ONLY available “evidence” Nerium provides), the ST&T researchers involved talk about “vast improvements,” which they don’t reveal and honestly might have happened to “patients” simply moisturizing consistently for 30 days. There is absolutely NO WAY to interrogate the data because they don’t show it. In short, the evidence presented for NeriumAD would never sway me or any of my co-workers and would be rejected from any journal/conference we tried to present it at.

    The bottom line is this is “cosmetic.” And the use of the term cosmetic is not on accident. It is not a simple description of just anything we put on our skin. It is a very specific term used for something we put on our skin with NO clinical relevance, not intended to treat or cure a disease or condition (including acne or wrinkles). Even dandruff shampoo is considered a drug cosmetic and is therefore held to a higher standard. The ONLY FDA-approved topical treatment for wrinkles is tretinoin (AKA Retin A). Even Botox has only been approved by the FDA to improve the “appearance” of crow’s feet. Has NeriumAD been approved by the FDA, similarly, to improve the “appearance” of wrinkles? NOPE.

    Listen, I’m am aging lady with a certain amount of vanity. I’m getting wrinkles and sun damage-spots and while I don’t have traditional acne, I get pimples in weird places I never used to. I also purchase and wear eye creams, serums, moisturizers and sunscreens. But I’m not deluded into thinking anything I currently use (other than the sunscreen, of course) does anything permanent. After I put on my creams, I think my face looks better so I feel better. Regular and gentle cleansing, moisturizing and general attention (to my diet, sleep and water intake as well) keeps my skin looking better. Period. Which isn’t to say I’m opposed to using something more permanent, someday.

    Dr. Emily Lowe

  43. Samantha says:

    Very interesting read. Thank you! I have been on the anti-nerium bandwagon for the last year or so. Was enticed to a real results party that I attended because my daughter has severe exzema and I thought this stuff might be worth a try. Assumed that the party would be about the product, what it was made of, etc. WRONG. Hard sell job. Got out of there and had to say NO numerous times/for months before I was finally left alone (my daughter and I did try it for about 2 days and experienced severe burning and stopped use). Definitely just another MLM get rich quick scheme.

  44. SC says:

    If the cells are always under attack by this product , it seems to me that is a dangerous recipe for permanent harm. What do you think?

  45. Sunee says:

    I’m almost 67 & tried Nerium AD for 5days, the results are AMAZING!!! I was just about 2 place an order, but after reading what everyone has 2 say about it, I think I’ll just age naturally.
    Thanx 4 everyone’s input.

    • drjohn says:

      Anything “amazing”after 5 days defies all scientific notions of true regeneration of skin. Puffing & edema from inflammation however can appear within days.

  46. Jamie says:

    Hi guys. I think the before and after pictures for Nerium can be pretty bad. They do a contest for the best results on their real clients so some of them may try to get tricky. I started using it 2 weeks ago. I was skeptical but honestly… My skin tone is really even and my pores are tiny. My mom’s old acne scars are half as deep within a month and no, I don’t sell it! But after seeing improvements that aren’t just in wrinkles I am pretty convinced that it actually works.

  47. b. malloy says:

    (phone won’t let me capatalize things) wow, i really should not have checked out this website….i am a current brand partner and it is really sad reading all of these. i worked as a clinical research coordinator and understand the trials that were conducted and back them up completely.

    • drjohn says:

      OK, if that is the case, please tell us all about the trials and why you have confidence in the results. You surely would not “back them up completely” if you had not done some reading and confirmatory analysis. We are ready to listen.

  48. Anna Marz says:

    Funny how drjohn is backing this product up like a mo fo but yet he states “we haven’t tested” Neruim. HA HA HA! What a crock. Not to mention that he/she has a bullying tone about anyone who speaks negatively about the product. This is what we call “brainwashing” people. I’m no doctor and I resisted to even look at neruim because I see how crazy these people become. Mass hysteria. But I had to get a glimpse myself. All I can say is EW. People need to educate and enlighten themselves!!!!! This is all so creepy.

    • drjohn says:

      Backing this product? Anna, I think you need to read all this a bit more more carefully. I don’t bully people who speak negatively – I award them points for being savvy about science!

  49. estrader says:

    it seems that no matter what anyone has to say on here you are putting it down, I wonder if you have worked an mlm and it failed you that is why you are so bitter, or if you are a corporate man and see successful mlm as the downfall. If people try it, and they see a difference and they are happy with it, then it is doing what it says. Some people like channel, they say it is the best smell in the world, I however disagree, I like obsession, that doesn’t make channel wrong or false advertising or ripping people off with the price. if people are willing to pay it, then that is business, that is America. same with l bradley purses, so many people pay hundreds of dollars for them, I think they look like pot holders. it is all in the opinion of the consumer. mlm businesses offer many stay at home moms a little extra money in their pocket and freedom with their children. I say if they have the patients to build a business then go for it! Dr. John evedentily is jealous of anything other than his view on life, and marketing

    • drjohn says:

      I am not persuaded. If people are fully aware, and not being bamboozled and tricked, then the dictum of buyer beware will hold. If, on the other hand, tens of thousands of common folks during hard times are manipulated and played, filled with false dreams of riches, sacrificing relationships for $$, peddling questionable products at whatever prices, then something is seriously awry. Jealous seems an odd description of someone who cares when he hears way too many stories of people being hurt. Young couples filing for divorce, elderly women going bankrupt and losing their homes when the dream turned out to be hokum. We have heard it all here. Jealous seems an odd accusation for someone who cares about such things. How about we all jealously guard the truth. Because without it we are awash in a sea of fraud, deception. You want to impress me with your MLM? How about you start by getting our questions answered. How can substance well known to be “massively oxidating” be good for skin, when oxidation is in fact the cause of skin aging? Find out the truth of that, would you please? Then we might buy your siren song of whatever works for me and oh, isn’t diversity of opinion a wonderful thing.

  50. Injector Humor says:

    I’m having soooo much fun with my local Nerium AD community! I have a successful botox practice in a smallish town, where most of us know each other or are no more than 2 degress of seperation. Our most “senior” local Nerium sales person contacted me, asking if I could come to her house and give her a major botox treatment. She did not want to come to the spa for her treatment. Wonder why?? Lol.. She had been a long term client of mine before Nerium, which she has been selling for 6 months. Her facebook message to me was, “Girlie, please hook me up with some botox!!” My response, I know you are selling that “better than Botox cream”, and of course, you will not represent your botox results as Nerium results, right? Because that would be deceitful. And btw, a few of your Nerium recruits have come to me for botox too!! Talk about a pyramid built on lies!!! She replied to me, oh!!! Nerium really works! It just takes a long time. She then suggested I should try it and then she unfriended me! Oh no!!! I won’t be able to comment on her before and after botox inhanced Nerium photos. I guess she will be visiting my competitor, can’t wait to bump into her!!! Desperate for financial success, she and her cronies are building a pyramid of lies.

  51. kim says:

    I find this very interesting but somewhat ignorant. I’m sure everyone would appreciate you sticking to the ingredient/benficial end of products and do a little more digging into successfull MLM companie. We are launching into our 5th country where MLM is booming; its the USA super pyramid that’s keeping the 99% away from earning their own millions.
    Perhaps you should research Robert Kyosoki’s “Business of the 21st Century” or read articles from Warren Buffet- Paul Zans and Donald Trump on network marketing (Donald trump stated if he had to start all over, he would start an MLM business)

    If you feel you need to discourage people from using products – please stick to the products and let someone else tell the truth about MLM The Business of the 21st Century.

    • drjohn says:

      We removed Kim’s link to her Arbonne site which tells us something of her motivation for writing to you all.

  52. Eagerforbetterskin says:

    Super interesting debates and information here. Thank you! So…..what product WOULD you recommend as a more natural, scientifically proven alternative to enhance and correct my dark spotted/blemish prone skin?

    • drjohn says:

      Not just a cover up. Find a product that addresses the underlying “skinflamm’aging” that leads to pigment problems. Try looking at stem cell or growth factor based products. This site reviews a number of them. And stop the ongoing solar damage with aggressive use of sunblocks

  53. Katharine says:

    I appreciate the information you have provided in the various posts about Nerium products. I have been using the night cream and personally experienced dramatic improvement through minimized pores, elimination of sun spots and red discoloration in my neck and chest, and significantly tightened sagging skin along my jawline. However, the serious questions you raise now give me pause re: ongoing use of the product. I am curious, though, why you have delved into the mlm business side? I thought your issues are about the science and concern over the long-term impact on the skin (and body)? It causes readers to think you have ulterior motives.

    • drjohn says:

      As physicians we are trained in the social side of medicine, not just the biologic. We care when people get hurt (read the many stories here on BFT) economically, not just physically. As citizens in a democratic society, we believe truth matters in the marketplace. We are open to the idea that MLM business models could be done ethically, and we have not heard a lot of complaints about e.g. Avon, or Arbonne. Perhaps it is the combination of questionable marketing tactics and questionable product science that really tips the scale.

  54. Concerned says:

    This company’s claims contradict each other as shown by the below statements:

    Nerium skin care products are developed by Texas based Nerium Biotechnology, a global research and development company dedicated to offering solutions that are based on proven science. 
    Whilst there is little in the way of clinical studies or other scientific proof, there certainly is some merit to the Nerium product.

    So with your statement Nerium AD where is your proven science? The oleander plant is poisonous on every level and you have zero research to prove it’s safety on ANY LEVEL. In fact your product may be destructive to the skin’s surface and could even be fatal.

    With that being said the MLM decision by the company further proves it’s true intent to make a huge profit regardless of the long term consequences for the safety of it’s users. Let’s face it there isn’t anything that comes in a bottle that is going to turn back the hands of time and make us young again.

    There are several amazing products on the market that will improve the moisture level of skin. Products that are less expensive and safe to use. So before you smear an unknown substance on your face looking for the fountain of youth please, please, please do your research and be safe.

  55. Sharon says:

    Why are there no more posts after September 2013?

    • drjohn says:

      There are many posts since then and many many more comments. The last comment to this particular post was just last month (May 2014), but there are many other posts here at BFT with comments coming daily, including a number of other posts dealing with Nerium products and ethics.

  56. aladyinWA says:

    While I appreciate the information and it helped me to ‘choose out’ of using or becoming a partner with Nerium, I am a little tired of the badmouthing of Relationship Marketing. Bottom-line is, no matter WHAT you purchase you’re paying someone to advertise. Frankly, I hate paying so much more for my products than necessary because they have to spend 65% or more of their profits on advertising. At least with Direct Sales, MLM (or whatever you choose to call it) I’m getting actually spoken to by people I care about and things they believe in. It’s a FAR better avenue for providing products to the market than the corporate crap we’re fed, with product crap, food crap, or whatever ‘crap painted gold’ out there. There ARE excellent, amazing products out there provided by Relationship Marketing, it is NOT a crazy avenue designed to trick people and that connotation is bogus. IT’S NOT THE MODEL THAT DOESN’T WORK, IT’S THE PEOPLE WHO BUY INTO THE HYPE AND THINK THEY’RE ACTUALLY GOING TO MAKE MONEY BY NOT WORKING THEIR OWN BUSINESS. When you buy into a business, ANY business, you better be prepared to do the work. Too many people buy into this sort of model (there are many good products to drive it) and then don’t realize it takes improving THEIR skills to make it work, and it will NOT be EASY anymore than it’s easy to earn a PhD or other degree, or easy to develop a good-paying career in any industry. The issue is not Relationship Marketing or Direct Marketing, it’s the people who make it more than what it should be … a delivery system for getting better products to the consumer than the general crap you’re fed through the corporate advertising campaigns. It’s a method of Directly Selling products to people through other people, rather than blasting them with visual and audio tricks to get them to buy. It’s a non-thing until we make it something it isn’t. It’s merely a form of advertising. Just like corporate advertising it’s the people behind it (at the ‘top’ if you want to think of it that way) and their INTEGRITY or LACK THEREOF which creates the ‘bad taste’ as well as those of us who actually buy into any thought process that you can run a successful business without going through the process of developing new, real skills. I come here for real knowledge about a product, and I appreciate the frankness. However, the whole ‘I hate MLM’s’ aspect of this is pretty silly to me. To make, to use, to waste … Thank God for the MLM model, giving those bull*&#% Pyramid Scheme corporations and government lobbyists some freakin’ competition.

    • drjohn says:

      Sounds like the lady is herself an MLM enthusiast, yet has looked at Nerium and has chosen “out” based on her perception of the integrity of the people “at the top”. We are willing to consider such a thesis. Indeed we have had many people who have defended the MLM model to us without trying to defend Nerium International. Indeed, we have even had one forthright MLM purveyor of skin care offer to explain/debate the science of their product. We find this rather refreshing. We would welcome the opportunity to separate the issue of Nerium from the issue of MLM. In pother words we pose the question…is it possible to have a benign or non-evil MLM’pire?

      • Traci says:

        Yes, of course it is. There are companies whose focus is product rather than recruiting driven and they tend to be the ones with slower, more steady expansion. And many reps choose to make their money just retailing, not building a team.

  57. Jean Tannerinsky says:

    Wow, so I received a sample of this so-called miracle product, within 4 hours I started breaking out! I personally feel that everything about Nerium is bogus, from their false advertising ie. using a photo of Ray Liotta as a satisfied customer(he’s filed a lawsuit against them) to the eternal push from their distributors…Really, someone would have to be seriously desperate to “work” for this company…

  58. Chrissy says:

    A friend asked me to try this product. Right away the written information looked like a Pyramid issue to me. Because they are a friend I will try the product. Since I have very sensative skin I always research any product that I am buying or am being coaxed into purchasing. Thank you for all your information and posted comments. I now have enough info to test this product with intelligence and caution. Which unfortunately not every does. Again thank you!

  59. Betsyg16 says:

    I’m sure I will be open to much MLM bashing here. I am in Marykay and have been for 8 years.
    I like the company. Here’s a few things that might help. Not everyone gets rich. Selling just isn’t for everyone. It’s hard work. You must be willing to take rejection. I definitely know not everyone benefits from my product. I have to take returns with politeness. If I had to approach people the way this Nerium girl did at my church vendor event I would quit. The girl that was from my church was new and there was no less than 8 uplines, with walking around recruiting. One of them , seeing I was Marykay walked up to me(did not ask me a thing about myself) and started putting down my company. She proceeded to let me know I could do it all faster all better with Nerium. It was a complete turnoff to me.
    I have really worked at getting and keeping a good customer base. I do know we do a lot of testing on products. I’m sure there are products you will believe are unsafe. I know one issue we are having is parabens. We haven’t gotten rid of all of them yet. Some products do carry them. I called research and they know about and are working on it. There is also an issue I am seeing on spfs. The only real problem I’ve seen is on a blog and so marykay isn’t changing that as of yet. I certainly hope my company addresses anything that could be dangerous or harmful. Because Marykay has been around so long, they have had to fix and change what goes in our cremes, lotions, foundations, and the like.
    As far as an MLM. You have to be honest yourself, and do your research. Of course the company wants me to sell more, recruit more. It’s the only link between the public and them. I have run into snake oil salesman here also. I believe you will find them everywhere.
    This Nerium thing really bothered me. I’ve never had someone come up to me and just start bashing my company and right from the git go, tell me how much better there’s is. What if I’m not a good fit for Nerium. What if I wasn’t a person of my word. What if I didn’t put forth effort to build my business with ethics and morals and just plain hard work. Would she still want me.
    I can tell you I don’t want someone on my team I don’t even know. And if they just want a discount to get products 1/2 off I would rather keep them a customer. I make more and they still get discounts and I don’t have to dog them to work.
    It sounds like for the most part there wouldn’t be an MLM you would like, simply due to the fact you believe it’s all hype. I spend quite a bit of time building relationships, delivering products, finding out if it worked or they were happy. And then asking if they refer me. If they do I’m happy if not then it’s up to me to book another party.
    Thanks betsy

    • drjohn says:

      Betsy, we love your honest, matter-of-fact approach. I might be a little more lenient on an MLM that was staffed by folks like you, instead of the Neriumites that decided your church was good place to do commerce (I guess the girl hadn’t read in the gospels where Jesus turns over the tables of the moneychangers for the same acts of desecration of God’s house). Mind you, I suspect it all comes from the top. Having learned a bit about the people who head Nerium, I believe the company stands for the opposite of what your church teaches. Instead of self-sacrifice, its sacrifice your friends and family for a buck. That ethic trickles down to the bottom of the pyramid, like blood from human sacrifices flowing down the steps of the ancient pagan worship temples. So, maybe MLM’s aren’t inherently evil. Maybe they just provide fertile soil such that evil people can turn them into evil MLM’pires.

      • drjohn says:

        PS someone like you could earn a good living as a product rep for a legitimate company. MLMs aren’t the only game in town.

  60. Dr. Daniel says:

    Wow. I bet you feel foolish for jumping to conclusions like you did in this article. Now that Nerium Int’l has been the fastest growing company as well as making the top 100 global DSN list two years in a row, as well as being the biggest donators in time and money to Big Bros Big Sisters, more money than Nike, as well as building a customer base that is only comparable to multi billion dollar companies that the company can stand on alone (which makes it a far cry from a pyramid scheme), as well as transforming lives across the nation and now Canada, as well as launching in Mexico to do the same, as well as so much more. I think it’s sad that your skepticism kept you from being insanely wealthy like most of us, while you’re words obviously don’t have much of an impact on the company, I hope mine do have an impact on you. Pride is a harmful character defect that will keep you from achieving all of your dreams. It’s not too late to join.
    A quick note on “pyramid schemes”:
    They were in the 1980’s when often there wasn’t even a real product or service available. Scam artists targeted vulnerable people with get rich quick schemes, and the people at the top were the only ones who made all the money. Now, let’s think about that… The only companies out there that are of a true pyramid structure would be… oh, that’s right… CORPORATE AMERICA!!! YOUR CEO MAKES ALL THE MONEY!!! I passed up my sponsor because I worked harder. That’s something you can’t do in Corporate America! I invested $500 and I’ve generated more income than most people in any other profession on the planet in the last year. That means that my ROI is higher than any decision you could make, unless you decided to join Nerium and follow the simple system that an orangoutang could do. You could join today and produce more money than me if you work harder. I hope that I’ve helped everyone on here get some closure. I do appreciate critical thinking when it has a point. When you think that half the world is in on some “conspiracy theory” to get your $500 then you’re literally insane. Half the world didn’t put together a bunch of fake before and after photos just to get your measly startup cost that most of us produce in a day. Come on. That’s ridiculous. Good Luck. I hope that in the past year since the last comment was posted that you have come to your senses. Sorry if I came across as rude. I’m so passionate about the company that I represent and so proud to be a part of the first multi-level marketing company that stands behind “making people better”. I do apologize for any harsh words I’ve used. Blessings to all.

    • drgeorge says:

      BFT said it before, and believes it still – the Nerium marketing machine is first rate, certainly effective in enticing new recruits to sign up as brand partners on a regular basis, each one expecting, no doubt, to become “insanely wealthy” (to use your words.)
      What is not in doubt is many former recruits are not enamored with the company any longer, particularly when their refunds don’t come, or are only a fraction of what they gave the company, or when they have a significant skin reaction to this product.

      You seem to have lost sight of what BFT first asked about this product, something we have repeated many times since, and something that been asked on other blogsites. The public is still in the dark as to the science behind the “accidental finding” that prompted the launch of a product with an active ingredient that the FDA considers a drug, causes “massive oxidative stress” in cells, so much so that it was studied for its effectiveness in killing cancer cells. How and why is this beneficial to normal tissue? And what are the long term results of daily use of such a cellular toxin on normal tissue? Does it not interest you that the product launched in Canada does not contain the Nerium oleander extract that is the claim to fame of Nerium AD?

      Does none of this interest you, or are you too busy counting your money to care?

  61. askthetrainer says:

    I have to agree with ScienceIsTruth…the ingredients list and “results” appear to provide a localized swelling/water retention with an accelerated exfoliating combination effect. Individuals who take care of their skin daily and exercise regularly likely have the same results but its not as dramatic as the testimonials seem. The normal moisture content with regular skin care as well as improved muscle tone for those who regularly exercise does the same thing. It seems like this product would help people who have epidrmal problems for the improved hydration and exfoliation effects but could also be accomplished with OTC and/or prescription (via insurance – cheaper) products.

  62. PIa says:

    Cut and pasted from the prweb.com (find link above), “Founded in 2006, Nerium Biotechnology, Inc. was created to fund research focused on new technology and applications of the Nerium oleander plant, with ongoing research at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the University of Texas at San Antonio, ST&T Research, and Louisiana State University. Use of the Nerium oleander plant has been identified in ancient texts and folklore for more than 1,500 years, but it wasn’t until the last century that the scientific community took interest in researching its properties. While researching the uses of the Nerium oleander plant, Nerium Biotechnology, Inc. made an accidental discovery: Nerium oleander possesses unique qualities that produce remarkable age-defying results when applied to the skin.” There are numerous smoke and mirror sentence structures but my favorite is the use of the phrase, “age-defying results” in the last sentence.

  63. Susan says:

    But thank her for her honesty.

  64. Pam says:

    I am so glad I found this site. Several co-workers have jumped on the Nerium bandwagon recently. I thought I would give it a try. Most daytime/night creams irritate my eyes even though I never apply it close to my eyes. They feel like they are burning and weeping while I am wearing the cream. I am told this would not irritate my eyes. I did not find this site until after I had put on the first dose. It made my skin feel terribly dry like I was wearing a mask. After reading this blog, I went and washed it off. I know that surface scrubbing can only remove so much. I will not be using anymore. I would rather live with sun damage, wrinkles, and dark spots. Thank you!

  65. Lulu says:

    Thanks to this site I learned that this product has Sulfate which I am allergic to. Perhaps you might be allergic to the sulfate in it as well.

  66. Kalie says:

    Why did you start being a brand partner? If you are facing financial issues and made a large investment, you are probably under a lot of stress to make that money back. I will rarely break out (one spot here or there) through out the year, but around finals in school (college) and when I work more hours and I’m under stress, I break out like crazy no matter how much sleep I get or water I drink. It could be stress related as your new situation would also bring on stress.

  67. ASkepticBut... says:

    I actually know someone personally who is now selling this product. I knew her and her mother before they ever started using this product, and I do have to say, the before and after (especially with her mother) are really quite remarkable. I also have a coworker who used a trial sample on her stretch marks (again, amazing results for only a few applications). These people are just average, everyday folks, who I know put up honest to goodness pics on outlets like facebook, and I could see it with my own eyes. However, I have another coworker who tried it, and it did absolutely nothing for her skin, other than to make it feel uncomfortably dry and tight. Now, here’s where my skepticism comes in. Obviously (to me, having known actual real people that have tried NeriumAD) the product works (for some, or maybe most…two out of three people I actually know, anyway). But the active ingredient is said to be oleander leaf extract. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t oleander quite poisonous? Even if this product does work “miracles”, what kind of long term damage/affects could putting what basically boils down to a poison to absorb into your skin have? How harmful would that be? That is why, as tempted as I am to try it (I really hate those darned stretchmarks!), I am far too concerned about what the long term affects could be down the road. I’m not willing to sacrifice my health just to get rid of some stretch marks or wrinkles. Can anyone answer those questions I have in regards to whether or not long-term use of oleander extract on the skin would be harmful down the road? Thank you!

  68. Drgeorge says:

    Thanks you for your comment. You raise important points and questions worth repeating. Some people do claim remarkable improvement with Nerium AD; some claim little or no improvement; some report significant negative effect. We have no idea what the mix of experience is in the general user population and do not consider barefacedtruth.com a valid cross section of opinion, in large measure because of the high emotion our series has generated. No one seems to be lukewarm. The “yay” and “nay” sayers are adamant in their voiced opinions and we have posted comments from both camps during the past year.
    Let’s be clear – BFT’s concerns have less to do with user experience and more to do with possible user risk. Recall BFT long ago asked the company to explain how a cellular toxin studied for possible use as a cancer killing drug can now be marketed as something “beneficial” for the skin i.e. the mechanism of action. And more importantly, what assurances can the company provide that long-term use does not have deleterious local effect at the site of application.
    This is NOT the same as asking if it has systemic toxicity, something we long ago agreed is not a concern. It does not matter how many hundreds of bottles a one year old child can consume in one sitting without toxicity if the cells and tissues being exposed to it night after night, month after month, year after year, are ultimately being damaged. No one from the company has yet addressed these concerns.
    There are ingredients in the product that may account for some of the changes being seen. Aloe, glycerin, and water binding collagen, elastin, glycosaminoglycans and mucopolysaccharides can plump skin superficially (although penetration into the skin is impossible for some of them due to molecular size). Increase in tissue fluid content is also seen in inflammation, something that occurs when tissues are injured, even if sub-clinically. A state of chronic inflammation is well known to be pro-aging. Which begs the question: improved appearance today at what price tomorrow? BFT continues to argue the consuming public deserves answers to these fundamental scientific questions.

  69. Karen says:

    Potentially, after really long use, couldn’t it theoretically create an auto immune reaction? So much of that these days and no one looks at all the crazy lifestyle things that might influence their immune systems.

  70. drjohn says:

    Immune complexes form in the region of chronic inflammation, anywhere in the body. Chronic inflammation may lead to long-term complications such as fibrosis, amyloidosis, and autoimmune dysfunction.

  71. Anon says:

    I’m curious to know too. I hope Dr John answers this one. :)

  72. drjohn says:

    The dummy text one? That’s easy. They don’t call it dummy text for nothing!

  73. flipflopcowgirl says:

    The Latin text is a standard fill-in text for web sites and simply means that they haven’t written that page yet. Good grief.

  74. drjohn says:

    We prefer conspiracy theories invoking Roman Empire zombies speaking and writing dead (or should that be “undead”?) languages & using the web to catch their unsuspecting prey.

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