Gwyneth Paltrow is the New Face of Restorsea Luxury Face Cream

If you’ve ever looked at Gwyneth Paltrow’s web page, goop, you know that Gwyneth loves to recommend products: from clothing, to food, to beauty aids. A closer look quickly reveals that most of these products are outside the price range of the average shopper.

So it shouldn’t be too surprising that one of her most recent recommendations if for a luxury face cream line called Restorsea.  Paltrow was named a “brand ambassador” for the product just this past week. The product claims to be an all natural skin care line with anti-aging properties that can be used by women of all ages. In a press release from the company, Paltrow said:

“I was ecstatic when I learned that Restorsea is natural. Over time, I saw a real difference –- a kind of freshness and dewiness. I love how it smells, that it works, the story and the fact that it is a brand started by a woman entrepreneur. I never promote anything that I don’t use, love and believe in, and I’m thrilled to support the brand and its mission to encourage women to embrace their age.”

According to their website, the secret to this formula was discovered by the company’s founder, Patty Pao. Pao, a longtime beauty product developer who has worked with brands such as Avon, Elizabeth Arden, Guerlain and Peter Thomas Roth, was reportedly on a hike through the fjords of western Norway, when she came upon a large salmon hatchery. While there, she noticed that the hands of the hatchery workers seemed remarkably smooth compared to the skin on their faces. She believed it came from something in the hatchery water in which their hands spent so much time.

(NOTE: while investigating this story I came across other companies who talk about the smooth hands of salmon hatchery workers as the inspiration of their product – surely not all their founders went hiking in Norway???)

stratum-corneumFrom this water was isolated what Restorsea named Aquabeautine XL®, an enzyme salmon release into the water at birth enabling them to safely emerge from their eggshells. These eggshells have a protein structure similar to that of the stratum corneum of human skin. The stratum coreum is the outermost layer of the skin which consists of dead cells (right).

Stratum CorneumThis enzyme is also similar to one normally secreted by our skin which break down the proteins in specific sites in the stratum corneum called corneodesmosomes. Corneodesmosomes act like connectors between the cells which holds the skin cells together. This allows dead cells to detach and slough off, leaving the underlying living cells intact.

Restorsea claims this allows their product to selectively exfoliate only dead skin cells,  and that it “provides the same benefits as glycolic acid and Retin-A without the abrasive side effects.”

Several other companies also tout the benefits of salmon roe (eggs): LiftLab’s Purify & Clarify, Dr Perricone’s Blue Plasma line, and Aqua Bio Technology’s Dermaclarine™.

But dermatologists caution that the cream may not do any better than less expensive brands, and that the evidence supporting its use may be thin. The Daily Mail  reports that dermatologists in London claim “the product has not undergone rigorous clinical tests, the sample size of 40 used to test it was too small and there was little evidence that it worked.” Bruno Ballardin, from the London Skin and Hair Clinic, said: “In order to truly support the benefits of skincare products, manufacturers need to test the formulation on enough subjects to be statistically significant, i.e. hundreds.”

So what does this “miracle cream” cost?  A 1.7 oz/50g size of Rejuvenating day Cream will set you back $150, Revitalizing Eye Cream (0.5 oz/15g) – $85.  An exclusive goop travel size set is only $299!

What price beauty?

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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