Is a scientist's face proof that a £20 skin cream really gets rid of wrinkles?

It doesn't cost £400 a jar and arrive in a gold-embossed box decorated with pseudo-scientific jargon.

Instead, the £19.75 No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Beauty Serum can be found on the shelves of Boots – and as of today it becomes the first anti-ageing cream scientifically proven to eliminate wrinkles.

The scientist who invented the revolutionary skin cream spoke yesterday of the secret, military-style operation which he hopes will up-end the multi-billion-pound global cosmetics industry.

Stewart Long, chief scientific adviser to Boots, said the 160-year-old Nottingham company had stockpiled "warehouses full" of the cream ahead of today's publication of an independent scientific evaluation of the product.

At £19.75 for 30ml, the cream is a fraction of the price of other beauty serums which have impressive lists of ingredients but less effect. It was tested by 60 volunteers with typical signs of sun-damaged skin and the results of the randomised double blind controlled trial, the first of a skin care product, showed 70 per cent had significantly fewer wrinkles after 12 months of daily use compared to those using a placebo.

The study has been published in the British Journal of Dermatology, and Boots is braced for an onslaught by women demanding the new elixir.

Mr Long, 42, said: "We have been producing the product for months, wrapping it in black plastic packaging and storing it in our high-security warehouses to make sure none gets out or on to eBay."

The cream, which comes in two versions, standard and "intense", triggered near-riots among shoppers when, in March 2007, a BBC Horizon documentary revealed initial laboratory tests showed it worked better then more expensive creams. Boots sold almost 6m tubes in the nine months following the programme, proving the marketing power of hard science. But critics said the laboratory tests did not prove it would reduce wrinkles in humans. That led to the new trial, paid for by Boots and carried out at the University of Manchester.

The patent on Protect and Perfect, launched in 2003, is ascribed to Mr Long, but as a Boots' employee he does not benefit directly. "I don't get a royalty on it – I wish I did. But the better the company does the better I do in terms of a bonus," he explained.

Chris Griffiths, professor of dermatology at Manchester University, who performed the original tests in 2007 as well as the new trial, said yesterday: "Very few over-the-counter cosmetic 'anti-ageing' products have been subjected to a rigorous, scientific trial to prove their effectiveness. Our findings demonstrate that a commercially-available cosmetic can produce significant improvement in the appearance of facial wrinkles following long-term use."

The cream, which contains white lupin, retinyl parmitate, a derivative of retinol (Vitamin A), and peptides and anti-oxidants, is thought to work by stimulating production of fibrillin – essential to the structure of the skin in the same way tent pegs hold a groundsheet smooth. Fibrillin is destroyed by the effects of the sun and ageing.

However, the British Association of Dermatologists said the size of the benefit had been exaggerated. "Approximately one in five people using the cream will get something extra for their money over plain moisturisers," a spokesperson said. "It is an interesting step forward in research although the long-term benefits are unknown."

The UK's £673m skin care market is dominated by Boots, Procter & Gamble and L'Oreal, according to analysts Mintel, and anti-ageing products are the fastest-growing area. After yesterday's results for the Boots product, dermatologists predicted a flood of similar trials as companies compete for domination of the market.

Dr Richard Weller, senior lecturer in dermatology at the University of Edinburgh, said: "This will raise the bar for what we should expect from the cosmetic companies in showing that their products work."

A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Rodgers showered praise on Balotelli last week, which led to speculation he could sign the AC Milan front man
Life and Style
life – it's not, says Rachel McKinnon
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing & PR Assistant - NW London

£15 - £17 per hour: Ashdown Group: Marketing & PR Assistant - Kentish Town are...

Senior Network Integration/Test Engineer

£250 - £300 per day: Orgtel: Senior Network Integration/Test Engineer Berkshir...

Software Developer - Newcastle - £30,000 - £37,000 + benefits

£30000 - £37000 per annum + attractive benefits: Ashdown Group: .NET Developer...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home