Can a product made with a poisonous plant make you look younger?

Posted at 3:59 PM, Sep 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-26 00:10:38-04

 A product made with a poisonous plant is promising to make you look younger in weeks.

This new beauty trend is making its way into Hampton Roads.

Nerium International is exploding with popularity and claims to make age defying skin creams.

Lynda Erickson loves Nerium products and said she paid $150 dollars for three creams for the day and night.

She found out about the product through her Pilates teacher and gets them sent to her house every six weeks.

Erickson said she started using the product eight months ago and immediately felt and saw a difference.

“I like it and it feels good on my skin. I think it is effective,” said Erickson.

Nerium International tells us they’ve seen a 340% increase in sales growth in Virginia in the last three years.

You might have seen the products on social media and you can't purchase them in many stores.

You would likely learn about the products through someone you know, trying to sell it to you.

Every Tuesday night, the company holds a marketing party at the Westin Town Center in Virginia Beach where people can learn about selling the product and the multilevel marketing plan – but public relations officials for Nerium told us our cameras were not allowed inside.

Nerium International declined an interview with NewsChannel 3 at first, but when we told them we were moving forward with a story with or without their involvement, they decided to provide us with more information.

They told us about their clinical studies and gave us links to videos, interviews with doctors, and information about their products.

The company held a four week study to test the night cream that included 35 participants.

Subjects rated the overall product effectiveness with a 7 out of 10 and the report cited that there were two cases of mild skin dryness.

Dermatologist David McDaniel in Virginia Beach said he would like to see more studies on the products, but admits he’s seen more patients coming into his office asking about Nerium.

“I actually have patients that have come in and actually see nice results; some of the people do seem to have a radiance or a glow," said McDaniel. "I don’t know if it’s from irritation or from the beneficial changes in the skin and again, that’s where you want to see the science.”

So, what’s in Nerium? It contains a plant that you can actually find on Atlantic Ave. in Virginia Beach.

It's called the Nerium Oleander plant and it can be poisonous if ingested by humans or animals.

“The fact that a plant has toxicity means it has potency, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is bad,” said McDaniel.

The report from the clinical trial stated that none of the people in the study absorbed Oleander extract in their blood.

McDaniel said, “It’s a very interesting product in that they are using that plus aloe, which we all know is used in healing burns. It’s very calming, so they’ve combined a very irritating plant material with a very calming soothing plant material.”

Erickson described her skin as softer. She said she saw fewer wrinkles around her mouth and face. She also said her neck feels firmer.

Some people love it, while others say they saw no change.

Elizabeth Sume did not see any results with her skin after two months but she said, "Just because it didn’t work for me, doesn’t mean that it necessarily isn’t going to work for someone else.”

The hype of the Nerium night creams is expected to continue more and more as people keep signing up to buy products in hopes of looking younger and sell the products in hopes of getting richer.