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StriVectin SD: An Update on My Progress

new Strivectin, review

UPDATE: This product has been updated and is no longer available (though the information on the NIA-114 is still relevant). Please head over to my StriVectin SD Advanced Review, which I also loved, but even more.

Last month I shared with you my Strivectin Insider Status. Basically, they gave me some samples and asked me to be honest in a couple of posts. They wanted me to learn about the product (they held a great webinar with a ton of info about the new formulas), try it out, and let my readers know what I really think about the products. (Gotta love a company that teaches you about it’s product, has you try it out, and then says “please, tell people about it, but be honest in your opinion.)

Anyways, I’ve now been using the products for about 9 weeks, so this seems like the perfect time to let you know how I’ve liked the products!

As I shared in my first Strivectin post, since I’m currently pregnant I’m only trying out 2 of the 3 products they sent me. The eye concentrate is currently hanging out in my “to use after delivery” box, and I’ll definitely be holding on to this tube of Strivectin to try on the stretch marks I’m sure will be coming soon (I’m 6 1/2 months but not very big. I don’t see marks yet, but I still have lots of time!).

Nia114, Strivectin active ingredient, Niacin, Niacinamide
First, a little bit more information about what sets Strivectin apart from other skin care products. The main “draw” to Strivectin is their patented NIA-114 molecule. Patented means you will not find this in any other company’s products.

The base of NIA-114 is Niacin, also known as Vitamin B3 (you can see it up there in the left corner). Note that there is an alternate amide form of Niacin known as Nicotinamide (lower left corner). Note as well that you’ll see Nicotinamide in other companies’ products, such as Olay. With niacin and nicotinamide, one can not be converted into the other within the body, but both can be converted into NAD and NADP (important in many chemical reactions within the body, they basically can act like anti-oxidants and accept extra electrons). They have identical vitamin activities within the body, so if you see that Niacin can do something, then so can Niacinamide. The difference comes when you consider pharmacologic activity. When taken in high enough doses Niacin can help lower cholesterol, but the main side effect is a dilation of blood vessels in the skin, seen as a flushing. Niacinamide can’t do either of these things.

Anyways, why would we want Niacin in our skin care? There are a few reasons.

From my cosmetic derm text book:
• The anti-oxidant activity I mentioned above
• Increased amounts of NAD and NADP to the skin cells, which helps with cell function
• Anti-inflammatory effects
• Hyperpigmentation effects: Niacinamide has been found to inhibit melanosome transfer to keratinocytes, helping to fight hyperpigmentation
• Deficiency of Niacin and Niacinamide have been found to play a role in the development of some cancers, including skin cancers

Per StriVectin:
• Improved cell turnover
• Leptin is released, acts as a natural repair hormone in the skin
• Sirtuins are activated. These proteins help increase the longevity of cells
• DNA repair stimulated

All of this sounds pretty great, right? Well, there’s one little problem. Look at those chemical structures again. This time look underneat the Niacin name. Water soluble. That means that Niacin will penetrate into the skin somewhat, but it’s going to have a bit of a hard time doing so. While it’s true that there is a lot of water in the human body, human cells have a membrane on them, the membrane is a bilayer of fats basically. So, things that are fat soluble are going to be able to penetrate further down and get into skin cells much more easily.

To get around the issue of water soluble vs fat soluble, StriVectin has added a cute little tail of fat-soluble goodness onto the Niacin molecule. The result is NIA-114 (down in the lower right). It has the same vitamin activity as the other 2 forms, but it is new and improved! Note that as they started with Niacin, there is still a chance of having flushing as a side effect. StriVectin says that it is seen in fewer users than in the oral form due to the lipophilic tail, but it will still be experienced by about 5% of users. It is said to be self-limited, meaning it goes away on its own and with continued use they have noted it seems less prominent.

This picture really isn’t too exciting other than the fact that I thought it was pretty. I just want to remind everyone that the new StriVectin has increased the amount of peptides in the formula by 400%. As well, there are anti-oxidants.

The Results
All that sounds pretty good. But, does it work?

First, the physician in me feels the need to point out that as far as I know (yes, I’m a doc, but I do Peds ICU, not derm, so I don’t really read all of their journals) only Retinoids are felt to reverse wrinkles in clinical trials. Having said that, I’ve seen some amazing results and before and after images from different companies over the years that I’ve been a beauty blogger, and StriVectin did share some great data with us. While I’m not allowed to share all of it with you (specifically the numbers and changes over time), I do have some cool pictures that were included in the pdf of info and images I could share with readers. But, it turns out that better (aka- bigger) versions of those images were already on the StriVectin website. go check them out.

There is more in-depth info on the actual product packaging. All of the numbers included on the packaging were taken from StriVectin’s clinical trials. The trials were completed at the University of Arizona and used the final release products as they are sold. The info came from a few sources. First, there were human volunteers that used the products. Their results were graded by the patient and an “expert” (aka- dermatologist). The human volunteers also underwent punch biopsies and this skin tissue was test for things like amount of collagen. Finally, “skin equivalents” (fake skin pieces) were exposed to the final products in vitro and tested as well. There was no animal testing. I believe they said the data was being written up for a medical journal, but I have no further info on that at this time.

StriVectin SD Intensive Concentrate for Stretch Marks & Wrinkles
This is the “main” StriVectin cream. Meant originally to be a stretch mark cream (hence, the big tube), it was quickly embraced as an anti-aging cream. I love that they’ve kept the big size. Using the “typical” amount of a large pea to apply to my face and neck twice a day, this tube would likely last me about 4 months or more.

The scent is described as a mix of Peppermint, Bergamot and Sage. I can pick up all three notes, but they are somewhat subtle and the scent disappears after about 2 or 3 minutes. The cream is relatively thick but it does spread easily and I found that it only takes a minute or so to completely sink in to skin. I had no problems applying makeup over it. I found that it was enough moisture for my combination skin in the early fall, but recently I have added a light moisturizer over it as the weather has gotten cooler and the humidity has dropped.

During my time using StriVectin I thought I had pretty good results. Note that since I’m pregnant, I do seem to have some pregnancy related skin issues (aka- blemishes). I had a few when I initially started my trial, and since they were all on my chin I simply avoided applying StriVectin to this area so I wouldn’t confuse myself as to why the blemishes were there. The blemishes cleared on their own (once they did, I applied StriVectin to this area but the blemishes did not return), but I didn’t develop any in locations where I was actually using the StriVectin. So, I did breakout, but that seemed to be completely unrelated to the StriVectin.

As well, I don’t have wrinkles or hyperpigmentation issues. However, I did think that after a few weeks of using it my skin seemed a bit “glowier” and my pores did seem to be less prominent as they were clearer. Overall I really enjoyed using it and I’m definitely going to be keeping this tube in my backup skin care drawer for in between product reviews.

Water (Aqua/Eau), Myristyl Nicotinate,Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Cyclopentasiloxane, Isocetyl Stearate, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, PEG-100 Stearate, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Dimethicone, Cetearyl Alcohol, Arachidyl Alcohol, Polyacrylamide, Behenyl Alcohol, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Panthenol, Stearyl Alcohol, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Arachidyl Glucoside, Mica, Dicetyl Phosphate, Ceteth-10 Phosphate, Benzyl Alcohol, Xanthan Gum, Laureth-7, Benzoic Acid, Sorbic Acid, Synthetic Wax, Tetrasodium Edta, Menthol, Chlorphenesin, Resveratrol, Ci 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Aminomethyl Propanol, BHT, Urea, Sodium PCA, Ceramide 2, Malus Domestica Fruit Cell Culture Extract, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Polyquaternium-51, Trehalose, Hydroxyethyl Behenamidopropyl Dimonium Chloride, Cetyl Hydroxyethylcellulose, C20-40 Pareth-10, Rutin,Lecithin, CI 77491 (Iron Oxides), Polyquaternium-67, Triacetin,Sodium Hyaluronate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tetrapeptide-21, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Phospholipids, Phaseolus Lunatus (Green Bean) Seed Extract, Lepidium Sativum (Sprout) Extract, Hexamethylindanopyran, Citrus Aurantium (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Homolinalyl Acetate, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, P-Menthanone, Dodecahydro-tetramethylnaphthofuran, Salvia Sclarea Oil, Methyldihydrojasmonate.

Peptides, Anti-Oxidants, NIA-114

What is this chart? This is my “anti-aging checklist”, where I keep track of the different anti-aging ingredient categories. In my opinion, it’s best to come at a problem from different directions (I think this is the ICU doctor in me), so I look to include these ingredient categories in my beauty regimen if possible. Not all ingredients need to be included in a single product.

StriVectin SD Instant Retexturizing Scrub
As you know, I think exfoliation should be part of everyone’s anti-aging regimen. Whether you include this via physical exfoliation (via a scrub or just a rough washcloth) or chemical exfoliation is up to you.

For scrubs, I look for evenly sized, round grit. The last thing you want is grit that is sharp, you’ll basically be tearing in to your skin with it. I also like a pretty high concentration of grit, simply to ensure that I’m exfoliating my skin evenly. Scrubs should also rinse off easily.

Overall, I thought this was an ok scrub. The grit wasn’t sharp and it was evenly sized, I just wished there had been more of it. The scrub has the same light scent as the Intensive Cream above, has a small amount of foaming action and it did rinse off pretty easily. Glancing at the ingredient list you can see that NIA-114 and Tocopherol are both present in the formula. I’m never sure how much these ingredients stick around after use, but it is nice to see that they’re included.

Water (Aqua/Eau), Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Polyethylene, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-2 Cocamide, Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil, Stearic Acid, Cetyl Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Sucrose Cocoate, Triethanolamine, Jojoba Esters, Alcohol, Polyquaternium-39, Cetearyl Alcohol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Glycerin, Ceteareth-20, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide Avena Sativa (Oat Kernel) Flour. Myristyl Nicotinate, Disodium Edta, Magnesium Nitrate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Potassium Sorbate, Tocopherol, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Magnesium Chloride, Methylisothiazolinone, Sodium Benzoate, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Oil , Salvia Sclarea Oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter orange) Oil, Hexamethylindanopyran, Tetramethyl Acetyloctahydronaphthalenes, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil. Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Dodecahydro-Tetramethylnaphthofuran, Homolinalyl Acetate, P-Menthanone.

Peptides, Anti-Oxidants, NIA-114

I’m part of a team of bloggers that agreed to review the products and post about them for Strivectin. However, Strivectin told me to be honest about my opinion. I have signed no legal paperwork making this arrangement more official, and I’m not being paid for these posts in any other monetary form.

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About Me

I’m a doctor, a mommy and a bit of a beauty addict. If you let me, I can take 2 hours to get ready in the morning. Really. I'm on a quest for faster beauty that works!

Leave a Comment


  1. 10.29.10
    Renee said:

    I'm so happy you did this review. I am in serious need of a product like this and I wasn't sure which one to buy. With all the information you provided, it made the choice MUCH easier. 🙂

  2. 10.31.10

    As always, your review is excellent. Thanks for the science. I can refer my patients who ask about StriVectin to your straightforward explanation.

    I'm curious about the punch biopsy results, which were not available on their site. When will we be seeing those?
    Cynthia Bailey MD, Dermatologist

  3. 11.2.10
    Christine said:

    Renee- I'm glad it was helpful! I know a tube is expensive, but you use so little of it it will last for a long time! I saw a link on Gilt Groupe that it will be on sale on Nov 3rd!

    Whew! I'm glad you like it. 😀 I try to make things simple (good for my ICU brain, I'm simple), but I worry about over simplifying. I asked about showing the punch biopsy results and they asked me not to share the images, but they did say the researchers in Arizona were going to be writing it up, so hopefully they'll be included in a paper soon.

  4. 11.7.10
    Anonymous said:

    Hey! I'm very excited with the science you presented!I'm a woman facing the stretch marks problem but also a scientist, I'm finishing my bioengineering master!is there any way you can give me acces to the webinars you mentioned?? Or to some other info source, more than the strivectin website?? Thank you so much

  5. 11.9.10
    Christine said:

    Hi Anon-
    The webinars were made available by the company and will not be available to the general public. The webinars were live, I'm not certain that they were even recorded. As mentioned above, they're writing up the results but I don't have any further information about the publication.

    The active ingredient categories (anti-oxidants, peptides and the modified Niacin) are easy to read about in the medical literature (just try a pubmed.gov search, since you're in school you should be able to get free access on-line to the medical journals from your library), or check out a cosmetic dermatology book. I love Leslie Baumann's book, but there are a few other good ones available that most medical schools should keep on their shelves.

    Also, within the post you can click on each ingredient category and go to a post where I talk about the effects associated with it. I've pretty much condensed info from those sources, though to make it easier for the "lay" public (and my ICU doctor brain) I don't usually quote actual studies. I don't have a separate post about the Niacin and the modification to Nia-114, but information that I got from my cosmetic derm book is included above. The science behind the modification to improve penetration is correct according to what I learned in Med School, and my Biomedical Engineering Professor hubby (who does some drug delivery research, though he mostly concentrates on stem cells and the ECM interactions with cells) says it makes sense to him.

    To my knowledge, there is no topical treatment that has been really proven in the medical literature to work for either minimizing or preventing stretch marks. While there are many topical treatments that claim to work (including StriVectin) none of this has been published to date. The actual publication is important since the research needs to stand up to peer review. If you're very concerned about stretch marks, I do believe that lasers have been found to work against them, so you might want to check with a dermatologist as well (I would NOT go the medi-spa route).

    Hope that helps!

  6. 10.16.12
    Brownie said:

    Thanks for your super in depth review of Strivectin. Going out to get some to try. I've been sitting on the fence for awhile as there have been many claims that the cream doesn't work as per what the company claims. I also like that you did look at it from a pregnacy point of view too. Thanks!!