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Which is Better: Olay Professional Pro-X or the New Olay Superstructure?

Posted May 31 2011 11:31pm

Although I’ve reviewed both Olay Professional Pro-X SPF 30 and Olay Regenerist in the past, a reader’s recent letter inspired me to give it another look.  Check it out:

Dear Nicki,

Firstly thanks for your efforts on skin care.
Based on your reviews and some of my own homework I am now using the Olay Pro-X Age Repair lotion SPF 30 as my daily moisturiser.  It’s great.
Only problem is the price (on Amazon) has doubled since I last ordered it.
I now find Olay Regenerist Superstructure Cream SPF30 has come onto the market, at a better price point.
Is there any significant difference between the two – anything I should watch out for before I switch?


The major reason I love Olay products is due to their inclusion of relatively high concentrations of niacinamide.   Niacinamide , also known as nicotinamide, is a water-soluble component of the vitamin B complex group.  Based on previous research, I’d go so far as to say niacinamide does more than just about any other skin care ingredient on the U.S. market today, except for maybe retinoids.  Niacinamide reduces the appearance of age spots ( Dermatologic Surgery ), suppresses the development of future age spots and hyperpigmentation ( British Journal of Dermatology ), aids in the treatment of rosacea ( Cutis ), and is hydrating to the skin, preventing transepidermal water loss ( International Journal of Dermatology ).  In fact, niacinamide is so impressive in treating hyperpigmentation that 2% niacinamide (similar to that in Olay products) has been compared to hydroquinone in efficacy ( British Journal of Dermatology ).  Considering that hydroquinone has been associated with occasional uwanted darkening of the skin, called onchronosis, in patients with darker skin tones, niacinamide becomes all the more desirable.

Very few adverse reactions have been associated with use of topical niacinamide.  For all of its proven benefits, it is not regularly associated with allergic reactions or contact dermatitis.  As always, of course, it is best to check with your dermatologist first anyway.

Both Olay Professional Pro-X SPF 30 and the new Olay Superstructure SPF 30 contain broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection in the form of chemical sunscreens homosalate (8.0%), avobenzone (3%), octocrylene (2.25%), and ensulizole (2%).   Some customers prefer chemical sunscreens over physical sunscreens because they are often completely colorless and odorless. Unfortunately, the components in chemical sunscreens have been found to cause photoallergic  contact dermatitis in some users. Avobenzone and oxybenzone have also been demonstrated by  Hayden et. al to be absorbed into the body and secreted into the urine of users; it is also known that avobenzone breaks down into other smaller compounds in the presence of UV light.  For these reasons, some ultra-cautious dermatologists recommend that patients who are pregnant and nursing, as well as small children, not use products containing avobenzone.   Avobenzone use is further limited in cosmetics and skin care products in Japan.  However, it continues to be used in skin care products due to the fact that toxicity has only been found when avobenzone concentrations are significantly higher than patients are subjected to with regular use of products.

The difference?   Olay Professional Pro-X SPF 30 contains palmitoyl pentapeptide-4 (Pal-KTTKS), a peptide with the same peptide sequence as type I collagen. Palmitoyl pentapeptide-4 has been found to stimulate production of certain types of collagen and glycosaminoglycans, effectively making the skin firmer over time. Limited studies from Procter and Gamble (the makers of Olay), including  this 2003 study by Linter et. al. , demonstrate that palmitoyl pentapeptide (pal-KTTKS) exhibits similar effects to 0.02% all-trans retinoic acid, the percentage of retinol typical to drugstore skin care products.

The bottom line is that Olay Pro-X SPF 30 and Olay Superstructure SPF 30 are nearly identical products, except Olay Pro-X SPF 30 contains the skin-firming peptide palmitoyl pentapeptide-4, while Olay Superstructure SPF 30 does not.  But here’s the real kicker:   Olay Pro-X SPF 30 is $60.00 retail for 2.5 ounces, coming down to $25.00 per ounce, while the new Olay Superstructure SPF 30 is $40.00 retail for 1.7 ounces, coming down to $23.50 per ounce.  For $1.50 more per ounce, you’re getting the long-term skin-firming benefits of a drugstore retinol product with Olay Professional Pro-X SPF 30 !

So, in response to your question, Chris:  Don’t be fooled by a seemingly higher price tag.  Not only will the bottle of Olay Professional Pro-X SPF 30 last longer, with 0.8 more ounces per bottle, but it will also stimulate collagen production, and save you money on a drugstore retinol product!

and submit your question!  At least one Facebook fan question will be selected each week to inspire a blog post, and all Facebook fan questions will be answered from May 31 – June 7!

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