“SoME – Skincare that’s all you.”
Effective slug line? Time will tell.
Descriptive slug line? In a cryptic (and perhaps for some, creepy) way.
Logical technology? BFT Wonders.
For the fourth July in a row, your BFT hosts recently attended and lectured at The Aesthetics Show at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas. This prestigious event showcases the latest advances and education in aesthetics care, including technology, products and devices from around the world. There is even an awards ceremony for best outcomes in all areas of facial, body and gender specific surgeries.
Because of its target audience of more than 1500 aesthetic specialists in plastic surgery, dermatology, Ob-Gyn, ophthalmology, urology and others, this event is also the logical event at which to launch new products.
A new one launched at this year’s show.
“SoMETM” Launched at The Aesthetics Show 2019
We admit it, “SoMETM” is an intriguing brand name, and one that actually makes some sense when you learn about the technology. Brand name aside, however, questions about the prudence of the product’s scientific underpinnings come to mind, at least to your BFT hosts. Important questions like: “Does this technology make sense, or is it just another example of market-driven product development?”
BFT readers will recall the many times we wrote about the aesthetic industry’s purloining of scientific terms for use as marketing “hooks” to sell products. Most notorious over the past decade are the words “stem cell”, “growth factor” and “cytokine.” Sometimes the words are used correctly. Sometimes they have absolutely nothing to do with the science behind the product and everything to do with the marketing message meant to intrigue and then ensnare unsophisticated buyers.
Let’s explore SoME’s technology and offer our cautions. You make up your own mind.
“It’s a Big Campaign so it needs a Big-Name Celebrity”
Paul Abdul, the singer, dancer and former American Idol judge, is the face of this most recent skincare launch. Despite the fact that we are unaware of any scientific credentials Paula may have, her picture was everywhere at The Aesthetic Show – on overhead banners, posters, large stickers on the carpet, even on the mirror in the bathroom of every attendee’s hotel room, at least of those who had opted to stay at the Wynn or Encore hotels. It was obvious – serious money is being spent launching SoMETM.
Intrigued as to how Paula is being portrayed and utilized in the marketing campaign, BFT visited the website of Aesthetics Biomedical, the manufacturer and distributor of SoMETM.
You won’t learn anything about the science from Paula. At age 57, however, she looks amazing. Our guess is she has had the best of skin products and professional care throughout her career. Expert makeup helps, too. We are certain that SoMETM, given that it is a brand-new brand, has little or nothing to do with how good her skin looks in the video and photos. You can see Paula and listen to her message in a short video at: https://www.someskincare.com/
What SoMETM claims to do for Skin
- Repair & Renew Skin
- Long Lasting Hydration of the Skin
- Reduces Wrinkles & Fine Lines
- Improves Appearance of Acne
- Facial Aging
- Improve Dryness
- Refines Skin Texture & Tone
- Improves Appearance of Skin Discoloration
- Reduces the Visible Signs of Facial Aging
If you are familiar with products in the cosmeceutical market sector, you are familiar with these claims. This is the same list of improvements nearly all “advanced science” manufacturers mention (including our own brands – AnteAGE and AnteAGE MD.) There’s only so many things one can say about skin. You can always count on a new product being touted as “the latest and the greatest.”
SoMETM – the Technology in Brief – Hint: it’s about Platelet Rich Plasma
Elsewhere on BFT, we have written about PRP (platelet rich plasma) and its use during microneedling (the Vampire Facial), with facial fillers (the Vampire Facelift), and other procedures. Briefly, PRP is prepared from the patient’s own blood in the physicians’ offices using specialized centrifugation and separation equipment. Regardless of what equipment is used (each varies in its efficiency of separating platelets), the objective is to exploit the high content of growth factors and cytokines found within the alpha granules contained in platelets.
For their small size, alpha granules contain particularly high concentrations of these important cellular signaling molecules. And, to be fair, the use of PRP after “activation” of the alpha granules to release their bounty of bio-signals is well recognized as having proven medical benefit in a number of applications. These include orthopedics and sports medicine to promote healing and relieve pain e.g. bone defects, tendonitis, arthritis, ligament sprains and tears. It has also found usefulness in urogenital applications including the “O-shot”, “P-shot”, and penile augmentation. It is injected into the scalp with some success in restoring hair growth in balding patients. There is abundant literature attesting to these uses and others. PRP is the real deal, but not for everything. In our minds, there are things for which it is less than ideal.
Daily use of PRP for skincare – week after week, month after month – seems to BFT to NOT be a scientifically sound strategy to maintain youthful looking skin. But we’re getting ahead of the story; we’ll discuss our concerns about chronic PRP use later.
SoMETM’s Innovative Strategy to Harness the Power of PRP
Imagine, you’ve decided to join the SoMETM bandwagon and are at your healthcare provider’s office to receive your three-month supply of product. Because nine milliliters of PRP are required (3 ml placed and mixed with the other ingredients in three one-ounce pump dispensers), a sizable quantity of blood will be taken from your vein – typically from the arm or hand. This is not like giving a unit of blood at the Red Cross, but more than what is required for most PRP applications in the office because it is necessary to end up with 9 milliliters for your three-month supply of “personalized” SoMETM.
Three-ounce (sixty milliliters) blood draws are recommended. Each one-ounce SoMETM dispenser will therefore contain 3 ml of PRP, a tenth of total product volume. Whereas typical clinical uses of PRP require “activation” of the PRP platelets alpha granules in order to release the growth factors and cytokines for immediate availability, that is not the case with SoMETM. Their literature emphasizes that the platelets should remain intact and that activation will occur on the skin surface when SoMETM is applied. Twice-a-day use is recommended.
Safety & Storage
Because the PRP is derived from the SoMETM purchaser’s own blood, there is no allergic potential and contracting a blood borne disease from another person is impossible. Certainly, if the purchaser has a blood borne illness, it is reasonable to assume the end product made from their blood will continue to contain the causative microbe. SoMETM is therefore not intended to be shared with any other person. Only the person whose blood was used to create the product should use it.
Because there are blood derived ingredients in SoMETM, which are subject to “spoilage” or degradation over time, the purchaser receives a small counter-top refrigerator in which to store the product during the three months of use. Future restocking supplies of SoMETM are stored in the refrigerator. Suggested costs to the patients of a three-month supply of SoMETM, according to company representatives at The Aesthetics Show ranges from $995 to $1300. The refrigerator is free.
The SoMETM Preservative System
One voiced goal of the manufacture in explaining SoMETM’s preservative system is to ensure the intact survival of the purchaser’s platelets during weeks of storage. They do not want the platelets “activated” which, by definition, means the rupture of the alpha granules thereby spilling their growth factors and cytokines into the formula. According to the manufacturer, this exposes them to possible destruction by whatever preservatives are in the product. Apparently, the preservatives they mean are “any of the harsh and unnatural alcohols that typical skin care products use such as phenoxyethanol, benzyl alcohol, and other denatured alcohols that are known to dehydrate and dry out the skin.”
This is a broad condemnation of ingredients that are used safely in cosmetic product around the world. Left out is the concept of “concentration” i.e. how much of these ingredients must be in a product to cause a problem. There is abundant literature confirming the safety and limited side-effects of these ingredients when used at typical “preservative” concentrations.
A couple references:
Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Benzyl Alcohol, Benzoic Acid, and Sodium Benzoate
Skin safety and health prevention: an overview of chemicals in cosmetic products. https://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/31041411
The producers of SoMETM opted to use a preservative system based on two botanical ingredients: Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract and Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract. The reference below confirms the value of these botanical extracts but makes note that additional ingredients (levulinic acid, p-anisic acid, and/or 5% ethanol) were needed in the study presented to make products “microbiologically safe during use” in a three-week timeframe. There may be other references that I did not find that support the exclusion of levulinic acid, p-anisic acid, and/or 5% ethanol when Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract and Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract are used as preservatives.
New alternatives to cosmetics preservation.
What are the Major Growth Factors & Cytokines contained in PRP?
Although there are a great many different growth factors and cytokines contained within the alpha granules of platelets, there are five that predominate, regardless of the method of isolation. In the reference that follows, the five major bio-signals are identified as: VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor), PDGF-BB (platelet derived growth factor), TGF-β1 (transforming growth factor beta-1), IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor-1), bFGF (basic fibroblast growth factor). But that is just the beginning. There are many others of significance including: interleukins 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 13 and 17; TGF-a, TGF- β2, TNF-a, IFN-a, EGF, aFGF and MMP (matrix metalloproteinases.) As has been discussed elsewhere in BFT numerous times, it is the sum of the collective effects of bio-signals that determines whether the pattern is pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory. The summary effect of PRP as depicted above is obvious: strongly inflammatory.
The Relationship between Inflammation and Skin Aging is Well Documented
BFT has covered the relationship between inflammation, especially chronic inflammation, and skin aging elsewhere in several of our posts. The evidence in irrefutable and it applies to all tissues – inflammation is pro-aging. There are innumerable articles available on PubMed and Google Scholar covering this relationship. For a less scientifically rigorous discussion (but, still correct and on point), visit the URL below: http://www.justaboutskin.com/anti-aging-skin-care-guide/inflammation-theory-of-aging From Dermasphere.blogspot.com dated 2.16.13 entitled –
Interested In Anti Aging Skincare -Better Get Familiar With Inflammaging
“Today, the direct link between extrinsic skin aging and inflammation is well established and documented. Studies have demonstrated the reciprocal effect of many chronic inflammatory diseases–such as psoriasis, atopic and Seborrhic dermatitis–on the stratum corneum barrier, which maintains healthy hydration levels in the skin. The integrity of this barrier is maintained by metabolic balance (i.e. synthesis of collagen fibers, replacement of old and worn out fibers) by enzymes called MMPs (Matrix Metalloproteinases) and is regulated by TIMPs (Tissue Inhibitors of Matrix Proteinases). Inflammaging destroys this balance, decreasing cellular metabolic activity and collagen renewal. Externally, the skin loses its suppleness and elasticity and becomes flaccid. It is also known that inflammaging generates Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), causing age-accelerating oxidative damage, which further perpetuates a chronic, pro-inflammatory state.”
The Question for Our Readers to Ponder (and the one BFT wonders about): Is a twice-daily potent inflammatory stimulus applied to the skin an appropriate anti-aging strategy?
We don’t think so. For regular readers of BFT, you are long aware that DrJohn and DrGeorge maintain, and the literature supporting us is abundant and dates back a very long time – inflammation, and especially chronic inflammation, is pro-aging in all tissues of the body, including the skin. Pigmentation abnormalities and fibrotic healing are well known and undesirable sequelae of inflammation of the skin.
Does the inclusion of PRP into this novel skincare product have to do with finding the next marketing “hook”? Or, are the manufacturers of SoMETM on to something that will teach all us old dogs some new tricks. Time will tell.
A Cautionary Side-story from the PAST
A Different Celebrity Spokesperson’s “Interesting” Experience in Skin Care
The side-story below is hopefully not a harbinger for Paula Abdul, who appears to be a “rent-a-name” celebrity spokesperson for SoMETM, and nothing more. Not so for Kathy Ireland, the celebrity spokesperson, supermodel and business mogul. Ms. Ireland was (is?) the face of NuGene International Inc., the makers of the NuGene skincare line, which was very visible at The Aesthetics Show in July 2015. To be clear, it is our understanding that Ms. Ireland’s branding and marketing company, Kathy Ireland WorldwideÒ (“KIW”) has always been the contracted party to NuGene International Inc., not Ms. Ireland personally.
NuGene’s Marketing Pitch Line: ”Did Kathy Ireland just discover Botox without the needle?
Of course, Kathy Ireland did not discover “Botox without the needle.” Neuromodulation had nothing to do with NuGene’s products; the science of the product was entirely different from Botox. But the pitch line was not supposed to be about science, it was about creating investor excitement. In retrospect, it seems quite obvious this part of the NuGene campaign was a “pump and dump” scheme, typically done to enable a company’s executive team and other early investors to reap $$$$ from the sale of stock they had purchased earlier for much, much less per share. There were warnings early on. Don’t take our word for it. The investor community gave a huge warning on June 1, 2015.
Presciently, the financial website Seeking Alpha posted this headline for an online article about NuGene International Inc. on the same day the stock NUGN peaked at $4.18 a share. Some four years later, it now trades for $0.002 per share! That a 99.9995% loss.
This Seeking Alpha headline is for an article that describes how a 28-page hard mailer promotional campaign was launched by an unknown third-party shareholder of NUGN in the middle of May 2015, sending the stock to an unsustainable valuation of $135 million. According to the article, eleven million of the shares of NuGene International Inc. (NUGN), which were immediately eligible to be traded into an unsuspecting public marketplace, had been purchased for only $0.003 per share! Not a bad return, eh? If you’re lucky enough to be among the chosen few to purchase at bargain basement prices and reap enormous profits as the marketers pump the stock aggressively thereby allowing you to dump your stock onto unsuspecting investors who are practically preordained to lose their shirt. Granted, there may be transactions in the interim, aside from readily visible public market transactions, but these are not easily identified with ordinary internet searches. It seems reasonable to assume that some investors somewhere are still licking their financial wounds. To learn more about how a pump and dump scam works, go to: https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/05/061205.asp
Snippet of the Legal Fallout for NuGene International Inc. and Kathy Ireland Worldwide (registered trademark)
Within a NuGene Form 8-K filed Feb.3, 2017 with The United States Securities and Exchange Commission, is described the settlement of a lawsuit involving defendants Ms. Ireland’s namesake company, KIW, and others including two of NuGene International’s executives. The settlement, in which Kathy Ireland WorldwideÒ agreed to pay $50,000, provided for the lawsuit’s dismissal and for KIW to receive warrants for 3 million shares of NuGene, among other things. (No mention is made as to whether or not these warrants were ever exercised.) According to the filings, it appears that the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, a physician and his nascent stem cell-based skincare company, were not pleased when KIW allegedly reneged on its agreement to collaborate with him and his company in bringing a different skincare line to market in 2013. For whatever reason, that relationship did not go as planned. The lawsuit appears to allege that Ms. Ireland’s company decided to join another company producing another skincare line, one that was promoted with Ms. Ireland’s name printed directly on its products and marketing materials.
To be clear, BFT is NOT implying that SoMETM and Paula Abdul are involved in anything similar to what is described above regarding NuGene International Inc. and Kathy Ireland WorldwideÒ. Just that celebrities and skincare marketing seem to go hand-in-hand, sometimes with less than desired outcomes for many.