Is Nerium a scientific breakthrough, extremely toxic, or complete marketing scheme?
Is Nerium AD toxic skin care? I’ll discuss if applying Nerium Oleander to your skin can be harmful.
A friend recently asked about Nerium after an MLM rep approached her. She was concerned about the controversy of applying Nerium Oleander to her skin because of possible toxicity. I did some research on Nerium AD. I've uncovered gimmicks before, but with this product I was surprised what I discovered
The toxicity of actual Nerium Oleander is no joke
The key ingredient in Nerium AD is NAE-8™ which is supposedly oleander extract. Nerium claims that Oleander extract contains beneficial ingredients for your skin.
The problem is that every part of the Oleander plant is highly toxic. It contains Oleandrin, which is a cardiac glycoside. This is a fancy name for a certain type of drug that can stop your heart in very small doses. It happens to be the chemical in the plant that has a pharmaceutical affect.
There are several reports in scientific journals of the harmful affect of Oleander after ingestion and application to the skin.
According to the American Cancer Society, “There have been numerous reports of poisoning and death from ingestion of oleander, oleander leaf tea, and its extracts.”
After my research, I am left wondering if this product actually works. More importantly, I am wondering if I want it to. It is not just your heart that Oleander can affect.
Nerium says there is no problem with toxicity
Nerium did substantial independent safety testing with ST&T laboratories. Subjects applied the cream to their skin and subsequently a blood test was performed. At no time during the study, was oleandrin found in their blood work. This is rather odd to me because even small amounts of Oleander can pass through the skin and become harmful. In fairness, it seems to be a well designed and conclusive study.
I truly don't believe Nerium AD is toxic. The studies seem conclusive and the downside of harming someone is too great. However, this is not the end of the story.
To take it one step further, an analysis from a medical doctor concluded that a child could swallow 400 bottles of Nerium AD and not get toxic levels of Oleander. This is where my suspicion turned into high gear – and possibly yours should too.
Does NAE-8 even contain Oleander?
I'm not sure Nerium AD contains Oleander at all. I can hear the MLM reps shouting now. “Rick, didn't you read about their Oleander farms and strict quality control standards at every phase of production?”
There is no doubt that Nerium Biotechnology is affiliated with or owns Oleander farms. They have performed a significant amount of research on Oleander for cancer treatment. My question is whether the Nerium AD skin care actually contains detectable amounts of Oleander.
Why do I suspect a marketing gimmick?
Gimmicks are EVERYWHERE in skin care. Claiming to have a secret miracle ingredient causes instant intrigue. It attempts to separate you from the other skin care brands. It creates mystery. This is perfect for multi-level marketing because it's an easy story to share. Once the mystery deepens into controversy you have instant visibility.
Besides the need for a marketing gimmick, there is no research for Oleandrin and skin care. All of the true research is for cancer therapy. When you dig below the surface, their “scientific” statements are mostly smoke and mirrors. They flash credentials but never say anything at all.
Lets' do the math
Don't just take my opinion; let's put this hypothesis to the test by analyzing their statement.
“If a one-year-old child ingested the full contents of 400 bottles of NeriumAD product, the child would still only reach a non-toxic dose of NeriumAD”
- 400 bottles of Nerium AD x 30ml = 12000 ml (approximately)
- Pure Nerium Oleander contains at about 0.4% Oleandrin.
- As little as 1 gram (approximately 1 leaf) can be lethal to a child.
- 1 gram / 12000 ml = 0.00008 gm/ml = 0.008%
This might seem like a lot of numbers and calculations. What this means is that even if Nerium AD skin care contained 0.008% Nerium Oleander and 0.000002% Oleandrin, ingesting 400 bottles would still be toxic to a child.
If this is true, it is ludicrous to base the entire scientific foundation of your product on something that is essentially undetectable. Skin care gimmicks are based on marketing stories rather than science.
Will it work?
It is hard to refute all the stories from Nerium MLM sales people. There are plenty online testimonials. This is not uncommon with an MLM product.
Also, they performed a study of the clinical results of Nerium AD products. The before and after photos on their website are impressive. The consumer will have to decide whether these legitimately reflect the results for actual users. It is very unlikely it had anything to do with Oleander extract or Oleandrin.
The other ingredients are less than stellar. What is absent from these formulas is high concentrations of active ingredients. For the Nerium AD night cream, the highlights are glycosaminoglycans and natural oils. These will moisturize and enhance the protective skin barrier. Ingredients like rice bran oil and castor oil are good but hardly breakthrough anti aging science.
My final take is that it is probably not harmful and might have minor benefits based on the emollients and glycosaminoglycans. A cheap bottle of Olay Regenerist is a better non-professional formula at half the cost…and without the gimmicks.
That's my take. What's yours?
About the Author: Rick Rhoads, Pharm.D. is a compounding pharmacist and creator of BioRenew Skincare. To get a free sample of pharmacist formulated skin care, send us a request here!