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Is Nerium a toxin, snake oil, or an anti-aging marvel?

NeriumAD is a topical cream (sold by multi level marketing) that claims to be a “true breakthrough in anti-aging skincare.” The efficacy (and hopefully safety) studies quoted by the manufacturer were conducted by ST&T Research and have not been submitted to any peer-review publication listed in PubMed. Keep in mind that I use the term study loosely, because when something isn’t published and you can’t read it yourself you are really in a danger zone. A poorly done study is a dangerous thing and an unpublished study that no one can access is about as good as saying, “My mom’s friend’s cousin said it’s good and helped lots of people.”

However, the actual effectiveness of NeriumAD isn’t really a concern to me. People do all kinds of things that they think helps their wrinkles and as long as the products are safe and a doctor isn’t promoting something worthless as a safe, effective treatment then who am I to get involved in cosmetics?

Nerium_oleander_flowers_leavesExcept Nerium Oleander (oleander), the plant that the company claims is the source for its “patent-pending age-defying active ingredientNAE-8 is toxic. Not toxic in a poison ivy kind of way, but toxic in a stop-your-heart-and-be-the-cause-of-death-for-people-and-livestock-alike kind of way. Poisoning from oleander is a particularly common toxicological emergency in South Asian countries. My neighborhood is filled with oleander and the first thing I did when I moved in was tell my kids about the dangers.

All parts of oleander are poisonous, the roots, the bark, the leaves, and the flowers. Smoke from burning the plant is toxic. There are two cases of indirect oleander toxicity from eating snails! The snails were contaminated by oleander through regular garden contact and then adsorbed the plant juice via their own slime. (My first reaction was “gross” and my second was “nature is freaky” and my third was “wow.”) All craziness aside, how much oleander juice can snails really absorb? (i.e. even a very little bit of oleander is very dangerous).

The product “monograph” from NeriumAD says, “The Nerium Oleander plant has been used for centuries by traditional herbal practitioners, but due to various components of the plant it has also been associated with negative stories.” Well, that’s a master class in white washing. Yes, oleander has been used for years, and lots of people got sick. Some died. Some still do. People have also used it for years in suicide attempts. It is not safe. In the 90s someone tried to get a supplement with Nerium Oleander passed by the FDA and they were denied because they submitted no safety evidence and, to quote the FDA,

FDA has carefully considered the information in your submission, and the agency has significant concerns about the evidence on which you rely to support your conclusion that a dietary supplement containing N. oleander, when used under the conditions recommended or suggested in the labeling of your product, will reasonably be expected to be safe. N oleander is well-known to be a poisonous plant. All parts of the oleander plant are poisonous to man and animals and serious adverse effects are associated with ingestion, inhalation, and contact of mucus membranes with oleander or oleander extracts. Adverse effects include, among other things, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, cardiovascular symptoms, and peripheral neuritis. The most serious effects that are associated with exposure to oleander result from the cardiotonic actions of the cardiac glycosides in oleander. The main cardiac glycosides are oleandrin, folinerin, digitoxigenin, and oleandringen.

Oh, and the “negative stories” alluded to in the NeriumAD monograph? Well, those are on Medline and in reputable journals of toxicology, cardiology, and emergency medicine detailing the toxicity of the plant and how to recognize and treat oleander poisoning.

So where does that leave us?

NeriumAD is made from a highly poisonous plant and there is zero safety data. It is possible like many supplements and unregulated products that NeriumAD contains no active ingredients and then of course it would probably be safe.

It is possible that the makers of NeriumAD have found some unique way to neutralize the cardiotoxic oleandrin, folinerin, digitoxigenin, and oleandringen and still retain some other “anti-aging” benefit of an extract. Without published studies it is not possible to know. Believing the company hype about safety is a massive leap of faith considering they dismisses the cardiotoxicty as “negative stories.”

However, it is also possible that NeriumAD contains a cardiac toxin and maybe it’s relatively safe for a healthy woman who weighs 100 lbs or more to apply to her face (again, without studies, who knows), but what if that woman had a heart problem that would make her even more vulnerable to the cardiotoxicty? Or what if her 2-year-old smeared it all over her body or ate it? Two weeks ago I had some kind of cardiac event (probably just from a common virus) that slowed my heart rate to the high 30s/low 40s for a few days and caused an arrhythmia. What if I had been a regular user of NeriumAD? Would I have been more vulnerable? Remember, two people became ill from eating snails who absorbed oleander sap/juice/or whatever snails absorb through their slime. It doesn’t take much. What if someone accidentally used it as toothpaste (about 1% of calls to poison control centers are from people who accidentally used noon-oral care products for brushing) or as a lubricant for sex? (people do this, they grab random creams and liquids, sometimes because it’s dark and sometimes because they are just desperate for lube, and sometimes because they want to experiment).

To promote a skin product that purports to be an extract of a potentially lethal substance without safety data while advertising that it is somehow safe because it was used by “herbal practitioners” and dismissing a wealth of data on poisonings as “negative stories” is so ludicrous it’s beyond belief.

If NeriumAD is safe then publishing the safety data should be no hardship at all. Then again, maybe they don’t need safety data because it’s all glycerin, aloe, and brown rice powder.

Without studies you don’t really know anything at all.

*Update, May 27, 2014*

Given the amount of pure vitriol and personal attacks from Nerium supporters comments will be very closely curated and flagged as spam and IP addresses blocked for any comments that are hate based. A personal attack on me is not a counter argument to safety concerns. In fact, ad hominem attacks typically mean the exact opposite.

I find it hard to believe that personal attacks on me are coming from users of the product who love it. To the people that sell Nerium, if there is safety data publish it in a dermatology journal. Otherwise, go spam elsewhere.



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143 thoughts on “Is Nerium a toxin, snake oil, or an anti-aging marvel?

  1. Do Your Research!

    This is a letter from Dennis Knocke, CEO of Nerium Skincare

    “I just returned from our annual visit to the North American Congress of Clinical Toxicology (NACCT) meeting in Las Vegas. As usual, we exhibited and shared product safety information and provided NeriumAD Age-Defying Treatment product samples to the attending MD, PhD, Phar.D., FDA, FBI Toxicologist/Pharmacologist and Poison Control Center Directors, etc.

    We were able to organize a NeriumAD Safety Panel Presentation/Discussion at the meeting. The panelists included five independent MD, Pediatric MD, PhD, Phar.D., and professors of Pharmacology and Toxicology, one a former Medical Officer for the Food and Drug Administration. Needless to say, it was a very distinguished panel with the ability and credibility to speak to safety; and recognizable individuals to the members of the North American Congress of Clinical Toxicology. The presentation/discussion included the review of Dr. Newman’s research and ST&T clinical data, a review of the data base of the American Association of Poison Control Centers as it relates to Nerium oleander, comments about the confusion associated with the generic term “oleander,” comments about what is credible information on the Internet and myths about Nerium oleander, toxicity of NeriumAD as it relates to children, comparison to other safe products that contain toxic compounds, and the final consensus on the safety of NeriumAD. The conclusion of the panel was that NeriumAD was safe. I will share an overview of the presentations, discussion, and comments of this panel.

    Since you are aware of Dr. Newman’s and ST&T’s research, I will start with commentary pertaining to toxic plants, where one panelist (a director from one of the Poison Control Centers, who has studied the National Poison Control Center database of all reports from plant-based poison incidents) commented specifically about Nerium oleander. He shared that the term “oleander” needs to be put in a generic term. There is Nerium oleander (used in NeriumAD), which is often mistaken for a different plant called Thevetia peruviana (referred to as yellow oleander), This yellow-flowered plant is responsible for a large number of toxic reports and is often confused as oleander in a generic sense. So when you hear “Nerium oleander,” you may confuse it with a plant that has a much more poisonous, toxic reputation, when it actually is not poisonous. This toxicologist’s word of advice was to not believe everything you read on the Internet relating to plants, particularly relating to Nerium oleander.

    He referenced a number of myths that circulate about Nerium oleander and have been referenced on the Internet. He referred to these examples as strictly myths. He shared his research on a rather large database that contains case studies of plant poisonings from the American Association of Poison Control Centers. He shared the unintentional and intentional data and put the data in perspective. In about 2.3 million plant exposures over the last 25 years, there have been only 43 deaths due to plant ingestion in the United States. None of them have involved Nerium oleander, and there are absolutely no fatalities associated.

    A summary of the comments of another Pediatric MD at a prominent children’s hospital and Professor of Toxicology and Pharmacology are as follows. The amount of oleander in the entire container of NeriumAD is a non-toxic dose, even to children. He went on to estimate that a one-year-old child could ingest the entire contents of 400 bottles of NeriumAD and it would still remain a non-toxic dose of NeriumAD. In addition, he commented that in all his years of experience, young children do not ingest significant volumes of creams and ointments. He shared that in his 40 years of private practice and experience with his associated Poison Control Center, he is not aware of even one death of a child by ingestion of creams or ointments, as young children are just not wired to ingest large quantities of these types of substances. He proceeded to comment on the NeriumAD container design and shared that the container presented a daunting challenge for the extraction of significant volumes of cream by adults, let alone young children.

    Another MD, PhD, Medical Pharmacologist and Toxicologist shared a quote from Paracelsus (1493-1541), who said, “All things are poison and nothing is without poison.” However, “the dose makes the poison.” He noted that humans use and consume daily foods which are known to contain trace amounts of natural carcinogens and toxins (apricots, apples, tea, cocoa, coffee, cherries, black pepper, mushrooms, etc.). The risk is relative and it is “the amount consumed” that matters. He presented some examples of food containing toxins, such as potatoes and tomatoes, which contain Gycoalkaloids and Solenines. In addition, almonds, apricots, and cherries contain Cyanogenic Glycosides, castor beans contain Ricin, puffer fish contain Fugu, rhubarb contains xalates, and mushrooms contain Muscarine.

    He also noted that Botox is one of the most toxic chemicals we have, but it has been possible to adjust the dose, allowing it to be used by thousands of individuals. He went on to cover ED50, TD50, LD50, Dose/Response Curve, Therapeutic Index, Margins of Safety, etc. At the end of the day, he commented that, “As a result of the studies, the study design, and data captured, NeriumAD has no evidence of toxicity and no absorption into the systemic circulation.” He concluded that the NeriumAD product is perfectly safe to use.

    Posted by Timbo | February 7, 2014, 6:02 am
    • I’m sure the CEO of a company has no bias at all!

      Botox is an unfair comparison, there are a multitude of published safety studies.

      Publish the safety data if it’s so amazing. End of discussion.

      Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter | February 7, 2014, 6:33 am
      • I’ve learned a lot since I went to University to get my PharmD, and Biochemistry degree. Mostly what I’ve come to find out is the Scientific Method prepared me to conclude is I do not know what I do not know and there is a lot I do not know. Also I’ve learned that being dogmatic is probably going to lead me to a dead end pathway without an open mind willing to learn about what I do not know. Oh, and there is a lot more of what I do not know than what I do know.

        Posted by coachronforrester | May 20, 2014, 11:08 am
      • Something that I am not understanding is why you chose to do a review on JUST Nerium.. You have never used it, and in your review, or whatever this page is, you admit that Nerium may in fact work and that it, in fact, may not be toxic. So why the head on attack when you cannot say with certainty that it is toxic and doesn’t work? I have researched other skin care companies that have negative reviews(in all honesty, they all will, because no product has ever worked for everybody) that include breakouts, allergic type reactions, and little to no results. Have they all been published in a medical journal? I haven’t been able to find them if they have. Have you found them? And if so, please provide links so that I can read them. Just a few I would like to see are Rodan and Fields Anti-aging, Mary Kay Anti aging, and any others that you may have found in your research of skin care companies. If you haven’t found those publications, then why not attack them too? What is your beef with Nerium? I’m just curious, as it makes no sense that you would attack one and not the others that have the same few negative reviews with little proof from those companies that their products work.(If I am to rely only on the negative, then none of them work..)

        Most, if not all of these companies depend on customer satisfaction averages to determine what they will publish as successful results. Most all of them have very happy customers and most all of them are expensive. If a customer is happy with the product they are using, then one would be led to believe it is working. Right?

        I know that you have the right to review anything you want, You also have the right not to. But I would really like to know why you chose to review/attack Nerium only. And I would also like to see any documentation that you may have showing that Nerium is dangerous. I’m not talking about breakouts and simple allergic reactions. We have all had those using one product or another. I’m talking about life threatening, near death or death cases. Nerium is now three years old and has been in use long enough to cause major damage, if there is a real issue with it’s main ingredient. Surely there is some horrible experience to prove your point? I am researching all anti-aging skin care companies and products and really want to know if you are speaking from true knowledge or medical opinion. Thank You for your time.

        Posted by ntothat | August 9, 2014, 5:09 pm
      • You obviously did not read the post. If you did you would see all the links to the studies/case reports and understand why that the post is about Nerium because Nerium claims to use a plant that contains a lethal cardiotoxin yet hasn’t been studied.

        Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter | August 12, 2014, 7:13 pm
      • I understand that they claim to be using a plant that is poisonous, but I have not found anything on the net that shows that those that are using it have had life threatening reactions to it. The complaints that I have found against Nerium are the same complaints that I’ve seen for all other skin care products. That is the reason that I requested any documentation that you may have. I have been using Seacret, minerals from the Dead Sea. As much as I like it, it’s thru the roof expensive, thus leading me to look into other products that are less expensive. I’m just looking for answers, and all that I have been able to find are positive and negative feedback from customers on review pages. That seems to be all that I can find on any of them. Oh well, will keep looking. Thank You for your time.

        Posted by ntothat | August 14, 2014, 9:29 pm
      • I Used Nerium and my face is in bad shape after using it. It is a bad product for many. You are all so defensive becuase it is poison. End of discussion.

        Posted by Lisa | September 25, 2014, 10:50 am
      • So tell me about botox the thousands have used or sodium laureth sulfate found in almost everything we use here, examples soap, shampoos etc

        Posted by sean ray | October 22, 2014, 5:11 pm
      • The post isn’t about Botox or any other product. Bringing up a different product is a distraction.

        However, Botox has been well-studied. You can go to PuMed and look up the safety, dilution, how to inject etc. So, stop with the Botox. Just publish your safety data if it exists.

        Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter | November 17, 2014, 8:50 pm
    • I find it very suspicious that NOT ONE NAME was given in reference to who all these doctors, professors, etc. were. That’s not very credible.

      Posted by Donna Hagar | June 24, 2014, 6:24 pm
    • Really, Timbo? Are you that gullible? There are no actual names given!! Use. Your. Brain. Haven’t you ever written a research paper? Would you find these credible sources? Come on, man. It’s not that hard.

      Posted by alexis | July 24, 2014, 6:40 pm
    • I do understand that there is no proof of direct cutaneous absorption of Nerium oleander, but I have read studies ( where abrasions and open wounds have led to absorption of N. oleander pastes and have resulted in bradycardia and gastrointestinal problems related to inhibition of Na+ K+ ATPase. I would suggest that a warning about potential problems from micro-abrasions from shaving and any open wounds be labelled and, at least, have this information handed down to the individuals who sell the products.

      Posted by jasonbrumley | August 21, 2014, 8:58 am
      • May I ask what the concentration of Oleander was in this paste? Who made the paste? How was it made? This study was on open wounds in the genital areas of men, and I saw no information on the product used. Also, I don’t anyone that puts any product on large open wounds, unless it is medicine to treat said wounds.

        Posted by ntothat | August 21, 2014, 9:42 pm
      • I have read it too. It seems to me that oleander being toxic you would have to consume quit a bit in order to harm yourself. Pantene has cloriform in it, still on the market. I eat snails or what we prefer to say escargot, I’m still alive. Just there are some people that are paranoid about everything. I take this article with a grain of salt. If I was told that cocaine on my face would help wrinkles I would do it.

        Posted by Barbara | February 13, 2015, 12:32 pm
    • I started to use Optimera, 8 months ago…both the day and the night cream. Followed the instructions exactly and as suggested, took photographs every month to document my progress…to date…there has been no significant change or improvement at all. For me?…the product did not work and was not worth the $150.00/month cost. I am a 54 year old woman with normal aging skin…it wasn’t as if I have issues such as heavy sun damage, scars, unusual thickening etc…Just normal ageing skin, including the fine lines and loss of elasticity. The product had no effect on my fine lines, texture or firmness, as it claimed it would do. I thought 8 months was giving it more than a chance to prove the claims for the product were genuine, and after that period of time I cancelled the monthly auto-delivery without issue. From my own personal experience?…I would not recommend the product.

      Posted by El | January 14, 2015, 10:12 am
    • I used Nerium AD for about 6 weeks. Loved it. Ended up in the cardiologist office with Bradycardia. It was only through my own research into the pros and cons of the Nerium Company that I discovered the cardioglycoside properties and it’s effects. My heart slowed to 42, had shortness of breath, felt a sense of dread of not being able to wake up. I posted my story in the office and another woman was experiencing the same thing plus gastro issues. She too had been to the heart doctor. We both contacted the company. They lied and said they had not had any complaints. I wanted the company to at least warn their representatives that there might be a link between heart issues and their product. I posted on their FB page and it was removed. Please be careful if you sell the product. If any of your clients die of the unexpected “Big One”–it might be linked. Do not be afraid to speak up. I am a Chiropractor who was considering offering the product out of my office. My results changed my mind.

      Posted by Dr. Kim Eastes | February 1, 2015, 6:08 pm
      • Dr. Eastes, I started using Nerium in December and have been complaining of chest pain ever since. I also developed chronic diarrhea. I’m convinced I was suffering the effects of Oleander poisoning. After reading your article, I stopped using Nerium immediately and my symptoms disappeared after 48 hours. My sister had chest pains and shortness of breath after 2 days on Nerium. They claim it is not made from the “toxic” Oleander plant but from a non-toxic one. My daughter is a Nerium rep. Can you please tell me where to find more information on these dangerous side effects? Thank you. Judy Klein

        Posted by Judy Klein | February 10, 2015, 2:21 pm
  2. Also note that NONE of these experts, nor their supposedly reputable medical facilities are NAMED, (therefore, who can say there was really any meeting at all? Who will be accountable, for their so-called comments?), except for the 500+ year old expert Paracelsus. Prove it! with factual, verifiable names, not ‘story-telling’.

    Posted by | February 23, 2014, 9:07 am
  3. They always found witches during the Salem Witch Hunts. Even if they weren’t really witches. You have plenty of evidence that suggests NeriumAD is perfectly fine, but you keep looking for something negative, that just isn’t there. It’s like an Athiest and a Christian trying to battle it out. Oh, and NeriumAD extract is Patented as an Antioxidant. So apparently the government let’s them patents poison as an antioxidant. LMAO

    Posted by Collin | March 5, 2014, 5:44 pm
    • A patent does not equal safety. The government lets you patent just about anything. Gun mechanisms could be patented. Tobacco processing could be patented. Your argument, such as it is, doesn’t hold.
      And I’m assuming you’ve read the latest research that anti oxidants can be bad in medicinal doses?

      Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter | March 6, 2014, 7:56 am
      • Yes but Dr Gunter you use that as an example earlier by saying that another company was shot down and was not allowed to patent Nerium oleander. This person is simply replying. You at length relied on this tidbit about another company being unable to patent Nerium oleander as an example of why Nerium oleander is unsafe. You specifically said that this company was shot down because they could not provide ample evidence. Now that a completely different company has apparently provided the evidence, and was not shut down, and didn’t take a nap at noon,… You are now discounting this as irrelevant. Now you’re saying the fact that it is patented doesn’t make it safe…so basically, it’s a witch hunt. Your second the point is that regardless of whether the product is patented or not, this does not prove anything about the safety of the product. That’s what you’re saying in your second part of the argument, even though the first part of your argument you said that the fact that it was unable to be patented meant that there was not enough research to prove it was safe. Now that Nerium as a completely separate company has patented DNA extract, Nerium oleander, and apparently provided ample evidence that it is safe, you’re saying that this doesn’t prove anything. If this is the case then why did you bring up the patent as an example before? You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Not only was there more than 10 years of research done behind this product, but it is backed by many doctors and toxicologists. I’ve included two links that go into the safety of the product. One document is text, and another document has three testimonial from very well respected toxicologist saying that nerium is completely safe. They even go as far as to say that it is safe even if it is ingested. Even though you also cited an example about ‘what if nerium a 2 yr old rubs nerium on their face’, many people have actually had their kids use it, never once has it caused the child to be poisoned. In addition it’s really not relevant to speculate about whether someone uses a product incorrectly and it causes them harm. You have to be a responsible consumer and individual – and if you buy shampoo, you can’t drink it! I found that to be a very petty argument. Was before you brought up. That. I read your article with consideration to what you were saying even though I have seen evidence evidence to the contrary, once you made that argument I had no desire to listen seriously to what you said. That point, it became evident to me that you were reaching for straws because really, no one can make you safe if you choose to put your hand on a burner or use a product incorrectly. You don’t stick a toothbrush up your nose, Tabasco in your eyes or marbles in your ears!!! Back to the prior issue, my point was that you can’t have it both ways, either you use the example of the company unable to get a patent for oleander as a reflection of that meaning the product is unsafe, or you do not make that argument. But once the product was patented, it does not make sense for you to turn around and say that does not mean it safe. … Circular logic here. Just don’t bring it up at all if you were going to disregard the patent as being meaningful to nerium oleander being safe. Before, the other company you cited, as you claimed apparently did not provide enough evidence that the product was safe. Apparently the Nerium AS did provide ample research because there is a patent. You yourself cited an example that ample research had to be provided I understand any consumers concerned about putting something unknown into their body. There are very few cosmetics that I know of or skin care items for that matter that have been subject over 10 years of research, third party clinical trials, and are back by toxicologists. When earlier Nerium ad was criticized for not having pair of used, I also wonder how many skincare and cosmetics companies have conducted peer reviews for their research. This is seen is oftentimes expensive and unnecessary. Be sure to check out the below links:

        Posted by Courtney | August 8, 2014, 6:11 pm
      • Your links are removed as I am getting tired of the same old links to the company website with information not published in peer reviewed journals.

        Your comment is long and a little repetitive and basically the same as what many other Nerium people have posted. However, one more time…

        A patent doesn’t mean safety. A patent is a patent is “a right to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering for sale, exporting components to be assembled into an infringing device outside the U.S., importing the product of a patented process practiced outside the U.S., inducing others to infringe, offering a product specially adapted for practice of the patent, and a few other very carefully defined categories.” BTW the patent discussion came in a comment and had nothing to do with the post.

        People have their kids use an anti-wrinkle cream? (never mind that it is made from a poisonous plant with no safety studies?). Some people also let their kids drive unbelted in the car, that doesn’t make it right or safe.

        If the product is so safe, publish the studies. Your arguments are poorly constructed. But really, if safety studies exist and it is so safe why on earth the cloak of secrecy?

        Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter | November 17, 2014, 9:03 pm
      • I personally will not put anything on my skin, the largest organ of my body, that I could not safely ingest. I like to use to look up the ingredients in products to check their toxicity levels. I use Renu 28 exclusively as it has only four ingredients, all non-toxic. It received the five-star rating from Dermatest labs (in large part for its purity), and costs just a fraction of what Nerium is being sold for. Nerium will not last long.

        Posted by Terri | November 17, 2014, 10:21 pm
      • I apologize for the extensive errors/typos, I am typing left handed due to a broken arm, and the keys on this screen are tiny!

        Posted by Courtney | August 8, 2014, 6:42 pm
    • Sometimes it takes awhile for the ill effects to surface. Just the thought of rubbing a known poison on my body every day just doesn’t do a thing for me. I know several women who are using Nerium, and I can’t say that I’ve seen any difference. Maybe it’s the old claim, “makes wrinkles “appear” to disappear”. Probably just your run of the mill pyramid scheme, and as usual someone has to come out on the bottom, and that’s when you will get the real story. Of course, those who got in on the scheme from its inception will swear on their mothers’ graves that it has miracle properties. Will keep an eye out for the ending.

      Posted by Fair of Face Grace | September 18, 2014, 3:14 pm
    • what is the patent # for the antioxidant?

      Posted by Linda | September 30, 2014, 11:38 am
  4. Find me one case of someone being harmed by the NeriumAD product or it’s proprietary ingredient. You can’t. You can conjecture all you want, but that’s all it is. I noticed you did not comment on the Doctors and their findings of Nerium to NOT be poisonous video. Or their myth-busting report that NO one has died from Nerium Oleander poisoning as you fear-mongering Salem witch hunters will suggest or want people to believe. The extract was being used by Dr. Robert Newman from MD Anderson. How about skincare product formulator, Don Smothers and his findings about NeriumAD? He’s formulated over 40,000 skincare products and he has nothing but Positive things to say about Nerium. I wish people would do a little more research (like the ones who actually formulated the Nerium product) instead of basing their opinion of the product from “old-wives-tales” and pure conjecture.

    Posted by Collin | March 9, 2014, 2:06 pm
    • Collin,

      I typically only allow links to reputable sources of medial information, not to people who have a vested financial interest in product.

      Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter | March 10, 2014, 8:57 pm
      • Dr. Gunter THANK YOU for your article. I have been searching for the “science” behind this product and I simply can’t find it. Expiriments, quasi experiments, case studies? I can’t find them. I’m a nursing student and I have learned to search for peer review, journal articles, etc. I haven’t been able to find them. When I asked questions I was attacked viciously by “partner’s.”

        Posted by Mark Pinkerton | March 24, 2015, 7:07 pm
    • Actually, my sister had a horrible reaction to Nerium as she used it on her face. She stopped using it. Face cleared. Used it again the following month with the same red, fiery, massive breakout. She stopped using it altogether. Face is fine. Here’s the kicker, though. She is one of their distributors and just “earned” her Lexus. Go figure.

      Posted by Kathy | May 1, 2014, 10:27 pm
      • Hi Kathy, I would not argue that any product is 100% harmless for all people. People have latex allergies, peanut allergies, shellfish allergies…Etc. Anyone could have an allergic reaction to something. You could have an allergic reaction to aloe, that does not mean that overall the product is not safe. Once again I will use the example of aloe, this is considered safe to be used in lotions and sun screens, this does not mean that certain individuals may not have a reaction to it.

        Posted by Courtney | August 8, 2014, 6:39 pm
      • She probably had a reaction to the aloe or an oil.

        Posted by Kate | September 28, 2014, 4:00 pm
    • Keep burying your head in the sand! Start using your brain and you will find many people who have had terrible reactions to this so called “safe” product. How about the people who have broken out in cyst type sores on their face? How about the woman who was using Nerium every single day and while jogging suffered a heart attach and passed away? How about the people who post on the nerium facebook wall and ask why they are breaking out and “your” people use the excuse that they have impurities and to just keep using the product. If your breaking out using anything new the right thing to say is STOP using it! All these Nerium reps are just thinking of dollar signs and nothing else. This company has a cult like group and ANYONE with a differing opinion is slammed by the neriumites….pretty pitiful~

      Posted by curlygirl | June 25, 2014, 12:49 pm
      • IF you will read the dermatology review on Retin A – The product that Dr. Gunter says that she uses, you will find that they include the same type initial issues in some. They even say to expect it and that patience is the key. So your claim that. Here it is in their words:

        “Side effects?

        As with most creams, some individuals may undergo some side effects. Pay attention your skin. Some people may have very sensitive skin and therefore cannot tolerate Retin-A Creams. The most common side effects include irritated, peeling, and dry sensitive skin. Sun sensitivity is common with Retin-A use so be sure to use a sunscreen during the day.

        To the tried and true users, Retin-A Creams are a miracle product. Some may battle with the initial dryness and peeling skin- but with continued application and persistence, the miracle of Retin-A will prevail. The key is patience. Rome was not built in a day, just as your acne cannot be cleared in a night. As with most great experiences, it will be worth the wait.”

        As I stated in my initial comment on this page, “NO product is for everyone. To attack one company, when all others have had the same issues, makes me wonder why only Nerium is being attacked on this page.

        Posted by ntothat | August 11, 2014, 11:42 am
      • The point of the post is that Nerium claims to use a product that has a known cardiotoxin, yet has no published safety studies. It’s not about Retin-A, which has been studied.

        Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter | August 12, 2014, 7:08 pm
      • I used Nerium AD for 2 months. In that amount of time, my whole body swelled. I was having a difficult time breathing. You can say whatever you want, I had a terrible reaction to the product, it took me a while to put it together, when I stopped using it the swelling went away in two or three days. I was comfortable again. I called my friend to tell her what happened to me, she said to go have my heart checked because the company had never had anyone complain of that and she was sure it was not the product. I told her I had only stopped the night before and that morning and was already feeling better, she refused to believe it was that product. About a week after I stopped using it,I was back to normal. I have not had any problems since I stopped using it. I am dissapointed that the company never called me to have testing done, or even offer me my money back! I could have died using that stuff, and others are having the same reaction, but don’t put it together because they market it as safe for everyone. If you have any questions I can be reached at .
        Mrs. Brenda Woodford RN

        Posted by Brenda woodford RN | October 5, 2014, 11:58 am
  5. So if it had a beautiful study then you would believe it?

    “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.” – See more at:

    Posted by steventothemax | March 10, 2014, 8:32 pm
    • I take it you sell Nerium, hence your interest in my post.

      There are plenty of bad studies in medicine, many of which have drawn my ire. If you had taken the time to read a few of my posts instead of just trolling on behalf of Nerium you would know what I think of poorly done research.

      However, the facts stand that Nerium claims to be made with an extract from a poisonous plant yet there is no published safety data. It’s no different than saying I have a cream made from poison ivy extract, but hey, just believe me that it’s safe!

      I suspect the lack of data means that there is no Nerium Oleander in the product, but again, without data it’s hard to know. If it as great as the multi level marketers claim then if it doesn’t contain Nerium Oleander extract no one will care.

      And BTW, saying that some studies are bad is a poor debating technique (general a sign that your argument has serious flaws) and a dismal attempt to distract yourself from requesting safety data on a product that claims to be made from a poison.

      Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter | March 10, 2014, 8:54 pm
      • Yes I sell Nerium. Just like you hate network marketing. So may’be everything we both say about the subject is useless.

        You claim to do research yet you don’t even mention that there are two types of Oleander. Yellow (seriously toxic) and Nerium which has never had a documented poisoning. If it is Nerium Oleander in your neighborhood you gave your children the wrong information before looking at the proper research. Seems like their might be a pattern.

        You should probably start by watching

        As a doctor you also know that something can be “thoroughly” studied for safety, but when many people in the general public take it then some serious issues arise. Yet the company has sold over $400 million dollars without anyone suing them for damages from such a toxic product.

        Since your probably took basic biochemistry before 1994 I would suggest that you go back and study up on oligosacharides. You will find these non-toxic sugars (present in both Aloe and Nerium Oleander) have stunning immunomodulatory benefits. But of course you already knew that since they are present in breast milk.

        Posted by steventothemax | March 10, 2014, 9:16 pm
      • Ny quotes on Nerium Oleander are from the FDA and medical journals of toxicology.

        You are banned for misuse of science and spam.

        Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter | March 11, 2014, 7:14 am
      • I’m considering selling Nerium, reading all this, I am quite confused. Dr. Jen, do you use anything at all (anything you eat, touch your skin, inhale) that you have not researched? I mean, have you tried Nerium before or after your “research”? I’m just curious besides this Nerium if you you are scared of the world when you look into things like this?

        Posted by Andrea | July 19, 2014, 3:05 pm
      • I wouldn’t consider using something extracted/made from a known cardiac toxin until it was well tested. That’s kind of the point of the post.

        Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter | July 19, 2014, 3:17 pm
    • Beautifully said. Your quote speaks volumes, especially given the position you held for 2 decades as an editor of a medical journal. Thank you for sharing. I too have came to such an unsettling opinion regarding the grain of salt we must take studies with.

      Posted by Kim D | October 15, 2014, 6:18 pm
  6. This chain of comments is very interesting. I also found an article written by someone by the name of “Mike Taylor” that purports to be a “blasting” of Nerium AD by someone who is supposedly a licensed esthetician (Rachel A. Sauer, L.E.). Rachel makes several comments against Nerium AD, most of which mirror the comments/concerns expressed herein. For every “licensed esthetician” who condemns or questions the safety/effectiveness of Nerium AD, I can likely show you 2 – 3 other licensed esthetician, medical doctor or naturopathic doctor (all of whom HAVE reviewed the research on their own) who will wholeheartedly support and recommend Nerium AD (and no, not all of them are distributors!). While the research may not have been “published” in anything as prestigious as the New England Journal of Medicine, it IS published and available. By the way, last time I checked, the New England Journal of Medicine is, by its very name, for MEDICINE and medicinal research! Since Nerium AD is NOT a medicine, I wouldn’t think the research would be published therein!

    It is exactly the same situation as when you take the exact same scientific criteria and have it examined and investigated by two different scientists — both of whom start out with two very different points of view and reference — and those two scientists will come up with two entirely different analyses — solely based upon their original point of view!! In other words, if you start out believing that something is no good, you will likely never be convinced otherwise. Likewise for someone who starts out thinking/believing that it might be possible that something is good! There is a very old saying — “A man convinced against his will is of the SAME opinion still!”

    Posted by Josie | April 17, 2014, 1:35 pm
    • A lot of dermatology and cosmetic plastic surgery journals publish articles about skin care products. If a cosmetic dermatologist or plastic surgeons recommends the product they get a big boost.

      However, you can’t claim that doctors read the research and say it is sound. That’s like saying my grandmas’ friend said it was great. That is hearsay and unless the data is available in published form for review by all who are interested it simply does not exist. A poor study is at times worse than no study and that is why peer review exists.

      I am sure many skin care journals would welcome the opportunity to publish safety data on Nerium. If the studies exist and they are sound, why the reluctance to submit them? It makes no sense.

      Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter | May 3, 2014, 8:08 am
      • I find it funny that if someone doesn’t agree with you then they are banned for “spam” … Note- I don’t sell or support nerium, was simply reading your article and noticed the one sided comments.

        Posted by Bailey Meade | July 2, 2014, 8:05 am
      • The banned comments contain personal attacks. Once you do that, you’re flagged as spam. If people have a constructive or even a non offensive other opinion it will get posted. However, I also have a policy re: evidence based medicine and so comments that cross that line typically don’t get posted.

        Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter | July 2, 2014, 8:15 am
      • Would they? This is a competitive world we live in and I would think that if Nerium works as well as most say it does, that it would take away from the products that most Dermatologists make money off of. They ALL sell something for profit, so not seeing where they would welcome a product into their journals that took that money away from them.

        Posted by ntothat | August 9, 2014, 6:17 pm
      • Papers are not turned away from journals based on anything but lack of scientific merit or issues of bias. You Nerium people and your conspiracy theories!

        Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter | August 12, 2014, 7:15 pm
  7. Thank you for your review. It is difficult for anyone to get real honest data about this product from a impartial source, as searching for information on this product through Google is seriously compromised by the number of brand partners who have SEOed their web pages up the ying-yang. As a result, Google’s first page results are so-called review and authority sites by brand partners who have every interest in distracting truth and providing false reviews. For what? To get some extra money. It’s always about the money.

    This is extraordinary frustrating for those of us who just want real data and real results from real people with nothing to gain, or lose. And, as it happens, Google is just full of skin care sites with each one offering the latest scientific breakthrough. It is a game designed to suck in aging baby-boomers, desperately clinging to the last vestiges of youth and one of THE most abused topics on the Internet. Nerium is just one of many, with the incentive being getting rich while retaining youth.

    Nerium claims to be safe and perhaps it is safe enough, although one thing which makes me pause is that “Nerium International” is launching in Canada as Optimera, after adjusting the ingredients slightly to pass through Canadian government standards. My question to Nerium proponents and other Kool-Aid drinkers is, if Nerium is what it claims to be, why did it need to reformulate the product for release in Canada?

    And actually, the safety issue notwithstanding, does it actually work? I can point to dozens of skin care products with before-and-afters. Since Google is flawed in this quest, I choose to look at the reviews at Amazon as one source. The reviews were extreme, with multitude of 5-stars from obvious brand partners to 1-star from disappointed users, with very little in-between.

    Surprised? Neither am I.

    Posted by Cam | April 17, 2014, 5:16 pm
    • Would you not give positive feedback for something that worked for you, and negative for something that didn’t? Common sense would tell you that those extremes would be found with any product, based on who liked it and who didn’t…I don’t know how reliable the reviews on Amazon will be since the company being discussed is an MLM. That would be the last place that I would look, since we don’t know how old the product is or what conditions it has had to withstand before getting put on Amazon. MLM’s don’t sell on Amazon, so beware of feedback for MLM products being sold on there.

      Posted by ntothat | August 9, 2014, 7:01 pm
    • Cam you are correct.
      Health Canada denied initial approval of Nerium & this delayed the Canadian launch. Now the product name is changed & the product is approved. These facts certainly raise the question of whether there is any Oleander extract in the Optimera product at all?

      Posted by Aj | February 19, 2015, 2:27 pm
      • There is absolutely no oleander in the Optimera product. Zero! What happened to the miracle accidental discovery? It makes no sense.

        Posted by ihearttruth | February 25, 2015, 2:55 pm
  8. Typo second paragraph: *extraordinarily* – I need a good editor ;)

    Posted by Cam | April 17, 2014, 5:25 pm
  9. Sounds like every color/type is toxic. Which is not what the CEO himself claimed. I agree with the last statement of this article. “If NeriumAD is safe then publishing the safety data should be no hardship at all. Then again, maybe they don’t need safety data because it’s all glycerin, aloe, and brown rice powder.
    Without studies you don’t really know anything at all”. Exactly. If it isn’t toxic, it’s solely because it lacks the claimed miracle ingredients and you’re using a $100 bottle of Lubriderm. But people are buying and you’re making some money. Very little I’m sure, but still some money.

    Read on:

    Posted by Hmm | April 19, 2014, 1:00 am
  10. I thank you for putting things into perspective. I have done my research into this “product” and whole heartedly agree that it is dangerous. I read the name and said to myself “that sounds familiar!” I’m not a doctor and I live nowhere near where any type of oleander grows but a quick Google search on Nerium popped up the Nerium Oleander.

    I know oleander is poisonous. I only know that after reading White Oleander by Janet Fitch.

    My friend hocks the stuff and the “network marketing” (multi-level marketing). I understand he likes the support but when I told him that the main ingredient is poisonous he scoffed. He said that they “removed all of the poisonous parts.” What you said has just backed up my views on the matter and kept my perspective. Thank you!

    Posted by Victoria | April 29, 2014, 8:36 pm
    • Where did she say that she KNEW it was poisonous? On the contrary, she did not.

      Posted by ntothat | August 9, 2014, 7:04 pm
      • She states it above when she talks about the oleander plant.

        “All parts of oleander are poisonous”

        Your reply to my comment states to me that you did not read the posting and you have not done any independent research on the subject.

        Posted by Victoria | August 21, 2014, 4:07 pm
  11. You may be a doctor, but I seriously question your motives and your lack of information about Nerium AD! and the the connection to the patented NAE-8 Extract. Do you know what is the level of Nerium Oleander in each bottle? Do you know of any cases where people have been hospitalized due to the use of Nerium AD! and the oleander? Do you know anything in regards to the extensive clinical studies done by Dr. Newmann and the Nerium Biotech Lab? Do you know how many human deaths there have been in history from anyone coming in contact directly with the Nerium Oleander plant?

    There is so much fear mongering for no valid reason. Documentation beats speculation; go back and see all the clinicals and then make the correct judgment. What is worse you banned people that effectively counter prove your arguments. LOL! Hope mine stays.

    By the way doctor, did you know that water can also poison you. Here is your research: Quickly everyone stop drinkin water!… LMAO! what a joke.

    Posted by Ricky M | May 1, 2014, 2:16 pm
    • Oh my you Nerium sales people are hilarious (and poor readers and even worse students of science).

      I can’t know about the “extensive clinical studies” because they are not published. If it isn’t published, it doesn’t exist. How can you question my lack of information about the product when there are no safety studies! That’s the point of my post!

      If you really read the piece that you responded to you would see numerous links to articles about deaths and injury related the Oleander.

      Anything can kill you, that is true. But water is not poisonous, it is inappropriate use of water that kills you. Oleander is a cardiac poison, so there is no appropriate use. So your water is dangerous analogy is poorly constructed and not applicable.

      If you make a product that you claim contains a plant extract known to be cardiotoxic it is on you to prove that it is safe, not me. If you have the studies and the product is safe, publishing them should be a breeze! So what’s the fuss? Get them published. Otherwise, the lack of publication leads one to conclude that A) there are no studies that would ever be accepted in a peer reviewed journal (and that’s a pretty low bar, because you just really have to be able to click the “return” button enough times to get someone to accept an article these days) B) Nerium doesn’t contain any oleander and so showing that might affect sales as the very product name is derived from the plant.

      My post is not fear mongering at all. It states the clinical data on oleander toxicity (the plant that your product claims to be made from), the dangers of even very minute exposures, and the fact that there is no published safety data. If I made a skin product from poison ivy people would want proof that it didn’t cause a rash, the only difference is many people are unaware of how toxic oleander really is.

      Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter | May 3, 2014, 8:00 am
      • People are unaware of the toxicity of oleander because it’s a pretty name. These are very deep people that back this product, obviously.

        Posted by alexis | July 24, 2014, 6:27 pm
      • The fact that not one person who has ever used Nerium has had a toxic reaction resulting in cardiac arrest or death says something in itself. Such anecdotal information is far more valuable than any “methodological” study. Anecdotal results are far superior than that which is studied in a controlled environment, hence an unnaturally occurring environment. The lack of toxic effects among hundreds of thousands of individuals that have used the product speaks for itself. And no, I do not sell Nerium. I am just curious about what people are saying about it. And yes, I am a doctor. Btw, just because a product has not done safety studies, does not automatically make it unsafe. There are a lot of natural and effect products out there that have not have studies done on them.

        Posted by Kim D | October 15, 2014, 6:10 pm
      • Regarding Kim D in the comments of this post:

        Kim, you say “The fact that not one person who has ever used Nerium has had a toxic reaction resulting in arrest or death says something in itself.” First of all, how can you say this? How many health problems go on undetected as to the cause? Many, many, many! Degenerative heart conditions are not usually able to be tagged to anything as a “fact.” Toxic reactions are not necessarily researched as to why they happened. Example: I took my daughter into the emergency room because she had streaks of rashes that were very uncomfortable for her on her back. I told the doctor that we had been hiking in the woods and through brushes and slipping under fences to get to where we were going, and was suspicious of plant poisoning as there was poison ivy in the area. What did the doctor do with this information? The doctor ignored it and wrote a prescription for antibiotics as if she had a communicable disease, specifically she referred to as measles. The doctor was not interested in the cause, but what she was going to do to treat the condition. I then treated my daughter myself for poison ivy, and tore up the prescription. Point? Improper diagnosis and lack of interest in the cause.

        I suspect that with many people, it is not even thought of to check what skin regimen the patient is on to check if that’s the cause. They will treat the condition walking in the door ~ not look at the cause. It is not in the doctor’s protocol to check for this kind of poisoning. I DOUBT THAT I COULD WALK INTO A DOCTORS OFFICE AND ASK FOR A TEST FOR NERIUM POISONING. For all we know, there may be many deaths and health conditions caused by the use of this product, but are not identified, or unreported. We do know that many, many people are reporting negative conditions from it’s use, but of course we can not call that a fact either unless it is proved. However for the user, it’s a fact. Where can a person even go to report their reaction (if still alive), and who is going to do anything about it? And where can anyone (if they think about it) go to find out other’s reports besides Facebook or buried deep in the internet blogs?

        About a year ago, a Nerium salesperson (my friend) gave me a sample of Nerium to try. My feelings are that if I can’t eat it, I am safe not to use it. However, since she is such a good friend, I thought I would try an area on my leg as I am not about to experiment on my face. I am a very healthy, health conscious person and very aware of differences in my health. I noticed a funny numbing in my leg after using it, and decided that I would not continue. The salesperson claimed that the product only absorbs into the surface of the skin, but does not enter the body systems. I disagree. For the product to cause my leg to react in areas where I had not applied the product indicates that it does affect other areas. How extensive, I do not know and am certainly not going to take chances.

        As far as dose? Long term use? No one really knows what will happen with accumulation in the body ~ this is a big concern! Many poisons are absorbed through the skin. Why would Nerium be any different. What is the long term affect on the liver to deal with excreting it, once it’s absorbed? Some people’s livers are stronger than others and can handle a fair amount of poisons, but for others, they may lose their livers and their life when toxins exceed ability.

        As far as Nerium is concerned, I wonder if the positive results would be no different than what is experienced if they took out the Oleander altogether. There are good and effective ingredients in the product – ingredients that are also inexpensive.

        When I look at my friends that use the product, I am concerned for them that what they are thinking of as “wrinkle” reducing is really inflammation. Skin inflammation from toxicity through topical use makes sense in this case. If this is really an inflammation reaction, then what are the long term affects of that condition to the skin?

        There is of course the talk about Oleader poisoning regarding cardiac issues, but what about the immune system attack? My feelings are that toxic substances send one’s immune system into a frenzy. Often times, using a product/medicine that is toxic, has short term benefits, but long term use works the other way. Putting anyone’s immune system in a reactive state using a product regularly sounds dangerous to me. Many devastating diseases are caused by immune systems out of order. Products that cause allergic reactions are definitely taxing the immune system, and continued regular and long term use may cause problems far greater than inflammation or rashes. To name a few immune disorders: MS, Kidney Nephritis, Lupus, Goodpasture Syndrome, Graves Disease, Vasculitis, Arthritis, Type I Diabetes, mental issues and so much more. Just Google reputable sources for immune disorders and use of poisons. The dangers are there and the use of Oleander would be wise to weigh out any benefits.

        Another point is that there is extensive use of plants in history, mostly folklore for reference. I have not found long term use of Oleander in any folklore, unless you were trying to kill someone as it is a deadly poison. The fact that this “hidden” benefit hasn’t been figured out by now is suspicious that it’s really not all it’s cracked up to be. Buyer be wary.

        Posted by VMO | November 11, 2014, 10:13 am
      • Can you tell me if clinical data is posted anywhere for us consumers to research the various brands of skin creams and cosmetics? I have relentlessly searched the internet and find only one consistent source, “the Dermatology Review” and even that seems advertisement-laden and has no credentials listed. I am frustrated with this whole process. I have used which identifies safety levels, but not effectiveness.

        P.S. I do not sell, but have used Nerium for a year with nothing but great results. In fact I took pictures of my husband’s red, crusty sun patches before AND after a few days of Nerium application, and those patches went awa with a daily application of Nerium.. As he got tired of applying it and stopped (he hates skin care routines of any kind) the red patches came back.

        Would appreciate any help finding a reliable research tool for consumer use!

        Posted by Lynn | January 1, 2015, 9:51 pm
  12. RE: Nerium AD = I’m curious about it’s safety and effectiveness. Having worked for a handful of years in a major medical school research environment, my experience tells me that doctors and researchers usually don’t put their names on things that could be harmful, but publish research to share information to gain clarity and to prevent further disease and improve medical treatment and protocols, etc. I just watched and it strikes me that these doctors and researchers wouldn’t put their reputations on the line and agree to make a video to be seen my millions only to give inaccurate or misleading information, because they could be held accountable for giving false information, and being accused of malpractice is something doctors don’t take kindly to. Dr. Jen, while I appreciate your intention to seek the truth, I’m not clear on why you can’t find published findings or what they would tell you, that these doctors aren’t saying. Is it possible that because it’s a skin care product and because the extraction method is patented, that it wouldn’t be published in a medical journal? Do major cosmetic firms publish their findings? MD Anderson in Texas is a highly respected cancer center. Many of these doctors in this video work there and/or have had highly respected positions in public health in various parts of the country. In order for it to have a patent, product study information would have to be published somewhere. So to condemn this product seems extreme, and yet to accept any product without listening for it’s legitimacy is also foolish. At some point, we the individual need to weigh the pros and cons and seek out answers and decide for ourselves.

    Posted by Patricia S | May 5, 2014, 7:24 am
    • Thank you for pointing out that doing a video about a product is advertising and publishing a paper (not done) is science. Any researcher or physician would know the difference.

      BTW MD Anderson has said time and time again that they have nothing to do with Nerium. They have not given it their stamp of approval nor did they develop it.

      Again, if you claim that your product is made from a plant that is cardiotoxic then you have to prove that it isn’t. Promotional videos don’t count! If you want to put a product that claims to be made from a cardiotoxic plant on your face, have at it!

      Promoting a skin care product that does not require FDA approval is not the practice of medicine, so your cry of a false malpractice claim doesn’t wash. It might be a good idea to look up the definitions of research, advertising, malpractice before you try and discuss them. Also, it’s a good idea to look up the fact that a patent has nothing to do with publishing. Every pharmaceutical in the US was once patented and required publications to get approval! If the safety data exists, as you claim, it should be easy to publish somewhere, the recipe isn’t required you know. Really. Failure to publish means A) said safety studies do not exist B) said safety studies do exist but do not show what the makers want it to C) said safety studies exist but someone is too lazy to submit them.

      Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter | May 12, 2014, 9:05 pm
    • Patricia,
      With your educational pedigree I’m sure you can separate the reference to MD Anderson in company advertising from the obvious lack of relevance to dermatology applications. Yes this prestigious institution researched Oleander extract effects on cancer tumours; BUT NO they do not endorse Nerium for wrinkle magic.
      The reference is obvious fodder for advertising. As are the Brand Ambassador claims that Nerium makes more revenue than Google or Apple. These statements are conspicuous as false. If they were honest statements then the applicable research from MD Anderson would be screaming from the Neurium company website, investment traders world wide would be covering the company in breathless prose.
      Instead it’s insults and derision from trollers & BA’s who can offer nothing else In the face of reasoned intelligent questions which threatens their capacity to flog “Miracles”. Again, to the point – peer reviewed journals & published science is the consistent request here. If the requisite research was published appropriatly & safety questions answered in that data then the issues identified herein would be question is not to ‘hate’.

      Posted by Aj | February 19, 2015, 2:58 pm
  13. Thanks for the information, Dr. Jen. You seem to be an extremely intelligent, informed (and patient – yikes!) woman. After several months of use, I recently cancelled my recurring order of Nerium night cream (it wasn’t working, anyway). A friend who sells another beauty line, with which I’ve been very pleased, mentioned the concerns with the ingredients in Nerium, Several other friends sell Nerium, so I wanted to be prepared for when they try to twist my arm to go back to it. Your blog here has been very useful.

    Posted by Heather M. | May 21, 2014, 9:45 am
    • I am a week into a trial of using this product (at a friend’s invitation), both the night and day cream regimen. A skeptic by nature, I’ve taken many pre-treatment photos without makeup, in the midday light of Southern California (blue sky, no direct sun etc..). I shall use the product as prescribed and take photos in 4 weeks time trying to replicate the same time of day/light conditions for comparison. If I find significant results, great, but I’m a hard one to convince so I have my roommate in on this to keep us both honest. The toxicity doesn’t concern me, but I’m of scientific mind, wholeheartedly agree that if a company makes a claim that scientific studies have been conducted, then they should involve enough subjects to be able to infer the results to a given ‘population’. There should be more than a single study, It should be designed and carried out by those without a vested interest, it should be a double blind study, results should be published for other interested parties to critique the scientific method used, attempt to replicate it exactly and compare their results with someone else’s. If a company is convinced that it’s product is as good as they claim it to be, they should welcome input from the scientific community based upon THE PUBLISHED RESULTS (without which there’s no ‘proof’ other than here say that research was carried out, or that it was scientific in nature). Too many respondents on this site are using inappropriate emotion, are not educated in the practice of research, and have deficient debating skills. Whether you are selling the product or not, shouldn’t you have the curiosity to question everything about it? It will stand the test ..if it is what it purports to be, but personal testimony is not science. Placebo sugar pills have cured amazing conditions in those who believe, so use it and believe ..or not. A significant percentage us desire the scientifically produced facts for our academic satisfaction. Just as some believe in a God we can’t universally prove to exist, others are in denial, or sit on the fence until presented with something undeniable, giving us no option but to believe that God exists. The two parties will rarely agree and the world needs both the emotional and the pragmatic perspectives, but Dr Jens statement is that she cannot find that elusive holy grail for the scientist…a scientifically published research paper on the safety of NeriumAD.

      Posted by Juanita | August 24, 2014, 5:16 pm
  14. Dear Nerium Sherry, just in case you come back here your comments were deleted because they were rude and had little to do with the post. Vitriol isn’t allowed. With a name like Nerium Sherry one does have to wonder if you do sell the stuff? Posting anonymously and ranting rudely is so easy, but not allowed here.

    Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter | May 24, 2014, 3:57 pm
  15. Dr. Jen,

    You do a very admirable job of identifying the risks of accepting as truth ANY company’s house created ‘sales pitch’ for a new ‘miracle’ product that is peppered with referrals to totally credible & famous research centres such as MD Anderson. When that link is extremely peripheral (i.e. that Dr Newman worked at MD Anderson and evaluated the potential of oleander as an adjunctive therapeutic contributor for treatment of a specific cancer tumour) – yet put forward to the public to strongly imply that MD Anderson and Dr. Newman had researched and verified Nerium works for dermatological application – specifically on the face – the suspicions and concerns should correctly surface. I had an acquaintance who is now a Nerium executive (in only a few weeks) tell me the company was “better than Apple”, & glibly claimed that there was easy wealth to be made, “a gold mine” etc, all the while claiming “scientifically proven miracle benefits”. I was told I am blind to the opportunity. Just drink the Kool-Aid…

    Over the past decade+ I have presented seminars on various products and technologies (including cancer detection technologies developed with support from MD Anderson and approx. 50 million in NIH funding): and I refer to published studies that demonstrate the efficacy of the product/technology. These studies MUST be published in peer reviewed journals, they must have been undertaken in multiple research centres by clinicians/researchers with NO funding or financial connection to the manufacturer, they must demonstrate reproducible results, they must have a quantifiable focus for measurement (not before & after photos….), must be able to support questions about longitudinal analysis as requested (and ongoing if the product is in early commercialization) and so on. A previous comment stated that a researcher’s bias means they find what they look for; implying that anti-Nerium attacks are all biased. I don’t agree with that oversimplification. If any manufacturer wants to claim value they can skew a study by creating a poor study designed to support their desired result. The construction of such a study may lead to a specific result that may in fact support an argument for/or against the product/technology in question but also raise questions of bias, that in the end prevent that study from being published in a peer reviewed journal and subsequently accessed through PubMed and so on. Before and after photos are NOT an acceptable research study. However, you have clearly explained these realities in your post. The angry retorts seem to mesh the company sales pitch blather (the facts according to Nerium which support the suction of the MLM platform) with confusion over FDA requirements and so on, as if this is an intelligent counter argument to your statements. The bottom line is simple – hey Nerium people, answer the questions asked with facts supported by evidence acceptable to peer reviewed journals & publish that data. As you have asked, send the studies summary, send the links to the published studies, etc.. Why was the application for Nerium AD commercial sale denied by Health Canada for sale in Canada? Why can’t Nerium provide the Optima ingredients list for independent analysis and publish the exact formulation results: i.e. is there Nerium extract of any kind in the bottle? What % of Nerium is in the bottle? And so on.

    I am not a ‘hater’, I would love to see everyone benefit from the “miracle” of Nerium products. I am not paid to promote any products in the Nerium domain and not paid to attack them. The only reason I am posting my thoughts is to establish that the most basic expectation for any such product such as Nerium is that when asked, they can supply the research references to the public that is asked to purchase the product and use it. In fact all such credible research should be a simple click on their website tab. It is a broadly analyzed, understood & accepted fact that MLM’s feed of the new recruits in the down-line and the vast majority of those in the down-line will never make any significant money from the product they represent. Mr. Olson is an acknowledged expert in the creation and implementation of the MLM concept and has had enormous success. That is why he understood how to craft the Nerium compensation program which is so attractive to new recruits. Yes some will get a Lexus and yes some will make a very good income; but they all feed off the down-line and thus they promote wealth under the guise of health. Brand Ambassadors etc ‘howling’ their indignation at anyone who may impede their sales pitch is transparently self-motivated. Miracles are not kept secret from clinical validation; rather they are SUPPORTED by research validation which would only mean that such a product would truly ‘sell itself’. BA’s would not have to push any sale….but that is virtually all they do. Isn’t that obvious??

    Posted by AJ | May 27, 2014, 3:47 pm
    • Thank you AJ for posting this-as a research physiologist I am amazed at the ‘buzz’ around this product and the claims being made without peer reviewed scientific studies. I don’t mind people giving their time and energy to a MLM company, that is their prerogative. However, I do mind that a product is being sold to people without full disclosure of ingredients as you have mentioned above. One would think that a MSDS should be included in the packaging.

      Posted by studioapro | July 23, 2014, 10:12 am
    • Ahmen (and yes, I’m agnostic)

      Posted by Juanita | August 24, 2014, 5:22 pm
  16. There is no point in arguing with Nerium Brand Partners….this is an MLM cult, plain and simple. They are taught to “never talk to negative people” which simply means people asking regular questions. They must “believe and achieve”…they go to rallies, motivational events, etc where they get “whipped into a frenzy” and all critical thinking skills in the brain are completely shut off…I know-I was part of a multilevel marketing cult and understand this mentality. I have also lost 3 friends to the Nerium brainwashing cult.

    Posted by Hannah | June 3, 2014, 1:00 pm
    • So true. They are completely brain washed. Its highly disturbing.

      Posted by alexis | July 24, 2014, 6:21 pm
    • Contrary to your comments, brand partners are not “whipped into a frenzy” and “all critical thinking skills in the brain are completely shut off.” I DO know what you are talking about and have been involved in several of those types of MLM ‘cults.’ Brand partners are also NOT taught not to talk to “negative” people. We are actually taught the exact opposite — to be friendly with EVERYONE, to encourage EVERYONE (even those who have opposing points of view), and to never disparage someone else or other some other product. I totally agree that there are many such “cults” out there and always will be. We do not simply “drink the Kool-Aide!” FYI — totally agree that the ‘science’ that is referred to in the news broadcasts and/or referred to by the doctors therein, is definitely not the type of “science” one would expect to find on these products. I’ve seen some of the scientific studies that were conducted but I’m not a doctor so I’m not in a position to “judge” those reports. However, I have personally met and talked with a naturopathic doctor from Nashville, Tennessee who was extremely skeptical when presented with these products. She did do her own, independent, research. She knew exactly where to look and confirmed to her own satisfaction that the research was genuine and the products were safe. Otherwise, she would NEVER recommend the products to anyone — especially to her own patients and thereby jeopardize her own private practice and reputation. I’ve also met and spoken with licensed estheticians and dermatologists who have done the same thing and have also recommended the product to their clients and patients — again why would they do that and jeopardize their personal/professional reputation and livelihood? Just saying …

      Posted by Josie | August 5, 2014, 9:06 am
  17. There was a well done segment on Nerium done by a CBS affiliate in San Francisco, Feb 2014.
    Thanks for getting out the word on this shady product!

    Posted by Chris | June 3, 2014, 9:57 pm
  18. The bottom line to me is the fact that there are too many products that are safe and not questionable in anyway. So why would anyone take the risk? Not me. I am too busy trying to get the garbage OUT of my cosmetics. I get amazing results out of rosehip oil, so why bother with a product with a dirty laundry list like Nerium?

    Posted by Darla | June 4, 2014, 9:35 am
  19. Reblogged this on Beautiful Botanicals.

    Posted by Darla | June 4, 2014, 9:35 am
  20. Dr. Gunter,
    What are your thoughts on its long term application to the skin? Is it a mild inflammatory response that creates the quick wrinkle reducing results? If it’s inflammation, then long term application to the face will cause more harm than good!

    Posted by Concerned | June 12, 2014, 1:53 pm
  21. Trying to find some objective Nerium information on the product’s not so easy. I guess that’s one of the dangers for consumers with MLM products, you get info from people trying to make money off you or people bitter because they lost money from the company. Thanks for weeding out the crazy and actually helping the consumer Dr Jen!

    Posted by Susan | June 14, 2014, 8:09 am
  22. This is my concern as a consumer when first hearing about Nerium, its safety. Being part of the ‘getting older’ group, a quick fix for a few decades of living is very enticing; however, so is the protection of my vital organs! I need to see and hear more than anecdotal testimonies. Show me the peer-reviewed articles supporting the claims – not interested in making copious amounts of money or earning a Lexus because the true value is in having good health.

    Perhaps some individuals commenting on here are not aware of what is involved in validating claims and providing supporting evidence? This was the initial request. When this is provided (peer-reviewed articles, not white papers), I may take a closer look at purchasing what appears to be an amazing product. Until then, I am remaining an informed consumer instead of an emotional purchaser.

    Posted by Healthy Mama | June 16, 2014, 1:00 pm
  23. I’m just wondering if this article is also in reference to Nerium’s international product, called Optimera. Apparently, according to one of its sellers,
    Nerium, the US product contains oleander extract, but Optimera, the international counterpart, by Nerium uses a SAL-14 extract as their main ingredient. Do you know anything about this international product, and if not, do you know how to go about researching its safety, or lack thereof?

    Posted by Anna | June 17, 2014, 9:09 am
  24. I just wanted to thank you for posting this article. It’s always refreshing to see critical thinking applied, even in spite of those with a vested financial interest in confirmation of their assumptions. All too often it seems that once people have taken their blind leap of faith into a product, a business venture, (or a religion for that matter) they are then so steeped in confirmation bias (and protecting their emotions) that they are unwilling to see the counter evidence or rational argument. This is such a tragedy in our society but I am glad there are people like yourself who are willing to point it out. Thank you!

    No sound evidence and irrational arguments = NO SALE!

    Posted by philodragon | June 24, 2014, 1:27 pm
  25. Dr. Jen do you recommend any face cream or anti wrinkle.

    Posted by Jose gonzalez | July 1, 2014, 10:01 pm
  26. My wife and I almost became brand partners in this product. We are very thankful for your unbiased review and intelligent, well informed arguments. It is very transparent to me that the people who disagree with you can not back up their said of the argument with any fact based documentation to dispute what you are saying. When they read your post the simple reply with anger and childish abbreviations such as LMAO and the like. This does not bode well for their endorsement of the product. Name calling and obvious venom or disdain for others that don’t share their views is also very transparent. Also, there is absolutely no legitimate reason anyone can give to explain why they do not have peer based studies published or anything to prove their claims. Safety issue’s aside, look at the before and after pictures.The colour of the peoples teeth are different and the over all background and lighting is different. How do they put these out and think people won’t notice. Thank you for your article and educated opinions on this subject, you have been very helpful. On a side not, just out of curiosity, I too would also like to know if you have any info on Optimera. I am from Canada and our country has strict safety laws so it seems it may very well be the toxicity of the main ingredient in Nerium that is banned. It is also very suspect that you can have some miracle face cream and change the ingredients to be accepted in another country and the product works just the same.
    Thanks again Dr Gunter

    Posted by B Nicholas | July 4, 2014, 10:28 am
    • That’s exactly what I was thinking. I’m also in Canada– so we are not going to allow a product with unproven safety, thus causing the company to reformulate and remove the suspect ingredient. Yet, remarkably, the new product is just as wonderful. Hmm…

      Be very aware of any MLM. A very, very small percentage of people make a profit at all, let alone a large one. This isn’t because they just aren’t working it– it’s a pyramid and the market becomes saturated. Plus, in spite of their rhetoric, the products are always severely overpriced. Sure, they cut out the middleman, but they’ve added dozens more. If they all have to be paid, well, the math is easy.

      It infuriates me that these things exist. The folks on the top make all the money and the poor minions below do all the work for them.

      Posted by Coleena D. | February 17, 2015, 5:18 pm
  27. PS, If its not to late…spelling errors…Line two I wrote the word -said- should be -side- and line three the word -the- should be -they-…Thank you :)

    Posted by B Nicholas | July 4, 2014, 10:37 am
  28. On top of the health risks that are highly likely to result from using this product, if it in fact contains oleander, it’s a pyramid scheme! It baffles me how people will spend $80 on a product without doing any research on it. Unless you’re a complete yuppy, common sense should warn you against getting sucked into a “business venture” like this. I’ve noticed that these Nerium pushers are extra defensive too. Facts don’t mean anything to them. If you’re ignorant about the problem, there’s no problem, apparently. I totally agree with your article! Ignore the morons; they’re going to be very sorry when they developed cancer in a few years.

    Posted by alexis | July 24, 2014, 6:18 pm
  29. I tried the product for 5 days this week and my entire neck and face became beet red and burned.

    Posted by Debra Sanders | August 1, 2014, 4:27 pm
  30. Help! I have 3 friends that sell Nerium – I have tried,it- I am very sensitive- it didn’t work for me- most things don’t… Friendship saved, I have another friend that swears by “a new technology that transforms 4000 years of skincare” called.LIVIO – Other than their website – I hadn’t heard of it before. I checked your blog for information on Livio – nothing. He did tell me about the dangers of Nerium – after I told him I wouldn’t try his product. Of course, he gave me free samples. I tried Livio for the first time yesterday – no redness, no swelling, so far.. but I’m no doctor – and I know the reaction can happen after a few days. . Have you heard of this company? or their product? They say their product is safe and patented, that Doctors discovered it – but honestly after reading this page -who can you trust?. I’m trusting a third party -you Dr. Jen – I don’t want to hurt any of my friends feelings.and I also don’t want to jeopardize my skin! I truly appreciate any info.

    Posted by Dana LaRue | August 2, 2014, 12:43 pm
  31. thank you for posting this. I went to work for a company that said they were all about being green and healthy for our clients.. and they were.. UNTIL they found nerium. THEN that’s all they posted about. They got everyone else who worked there selling underneath them. Nerium was on our shelves. The pressure to sell to my clients was always prevalent though it was only discussed a couple of times. In the end.. it’s one of the contributing factors in my decision to leave the company. I would NOT feel safe giving this to my sweet mother.. so I would NEVER sell it to anyone else.

    Posted by k. Howell | August 6, 2014, 4:48 pm
  32. Thank you for posting this. Being a former biochemist, I thought your article was straightforward and fair. If it is a miracle cream, i always wonder why it isn’t hitting the market place.

    Skin has a high level of absorbtion, and you bring up a solid point that while it may be fine for some, what would it do the the vulnerable? Naturally, their website covers safety, but like you said, if like to ready a published study.

    Posted by Amy | August 7, 2014, 9:59 pm
  33. Jen, I’m a guy who has no intention of using Nerium, but as I read your post I had to wonder whether or not you have a financial interest in whatever competition the product may have.

    Posted by Noel A. Taylor | August 10, 2014, 1:45 pm
  34. Thank you for this blog. A friend of ours in the medical field is now selling this after using the product on himself. I am astonished. I asked about FDA approval and received no fact based argument… HE was the proof. A glow similar to that of a Retinal product appeared as well as some fullness. Not enough for me to apply a product that has no clinical safety record. I’ve had great results with products that can be purchased at Dermotology and Plastic surgeon offices. There are clinical safety studies. I happen to have a history of family heart disease and controlled elevated BP. I’d be an idiot to apply something that could be absorbed into my system without knowing the long term effect, just as I choose to dislike statins(for myself)where the pros and cons are equally stated in the papers. It’s all about money. Check out EBay where people who are attempting to recoup their wasted money. The company refuses to take back it’s precious product from dissatisfied customers. There are many reports of burns and rashes that don’t go away. The manufacturer claims NO knowledge of this because they REALLY don’t know! They haven’t the papers because the research has not been done to prove HOW it works and what the Long term results will be. I agree with you Dr, Jen and will leave the brilliant debating to you!

    Posted by Kitty | August 12, 2014, 10:12 am
  35. Your having used Retin A is a great rabbit trail, but interesting nonetheless, since there is evidence based medicine to show that it is both teratogenic and fetotoxic. It would appear that birth defects and fetal death are acceptable to you whereas a hypothetical possibility of some minor cardiovascular symptoms are not. Fascinating!

    Posted by Noel | August 12, 2014, 6:31 pm
    • Clearly you are incapable of understanding the difference between using a product that is studied and and using it as it was meant to be used and using an unstudied product.

      Oleander is recognized cardiotoxin, since there are no safety studies you can’t say anything else. BTW most of your other comments were spammed as you appear to be trolling.

      Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter | August 12, 2014, 7:06 pm
    • Another example of unreasoned attack tactics. I haven’t read anything by Dr Jen suggesting the use of Retin-A instead of Nerium. She merely stated what she uses personally. You have incorrectly paraphrased what you read. The debate is about the existence or not of a published scientific research paper on Nerium and it’s safety. Illogical argument does not your point make!

      Posted by Juanita | August 24, 2014, 5:35 pm
      • Where, exactly has anyone stated that Dr. Jen recommended it’s use? She said she used it and inquiring minds researched the product to see how safe it really was, then stated the findings.

        Posted by ntothat | August 25, 2014, 9:32 am
  36. I found this blog after starting Nerium firm. I’ve tried everything there is to try after having my daughter to firm up my skin and nothing has worked. Then I saw a picture of a lady who used the product and had amazing results. I was floored and ready to try, I’ve been using it for about 8-9 days now and have been noticing arrhythmia and weird chest pain at night. I haven’t changed anything else other than using this product. I would be happy to hear from you Dr. Gunter about this, as I am feeling a little nervous about what I’ve done to myself using this product that promised me multiple times it was completely safe.

    Posted by P52611 | August 13, 2014, 9:33 pm
    • My neighbor sells the Nerium product and gave me a bottle of the night cream to sample. I used it as directed for one month and noticed results within two weeks as did others. I am not currently using the product due to its cost, even though I did like the results. I decided to research how a product containing a known poisonous plant could be marketed and how the oleander extract was helping with the anti-aging process. I came upon websites, blogs, medical journal articles, etc. informing of the pros and cons of the product and its ingredient N. Oleander extract. This is how I arrived at this site and this is what I have found through much reading (online only). I am mostly concerned with what this product will do to my skin (I am going to leave out arguments of what the plant, and its parts, when ingested, can do to the heart and nervous system). N. Oleander has compounds of oleandrin and oleandrigenin, known as cardiac glycosides, which, in a cell, causes failure of the Na+ -K+ pump. A failure of this function in a cell causes swelling of the cell through the retention of water. This may be why skin appears to have reduced wrinkles when Nerium AD is topically applied because they are essentially plumped with water. However, this occurs because the balance of potassium and sodium in and out of the cells in compromised. This leads to what is referred to as “lyse” a breakdown of the cell. So here is my conundrum: Does Nerium AD have the potential to damage my skin over long term use? Or is the dosage of the oleander extract low enough that it allows for skin cells to maintain water retention (thus appearing less wrinkled)? If so, will skin cells be able to maintain their proper function with the use of and application of the oleandrin/oleandrigenin compounds in the extract? In my vanity, I would like to look less than my age. I know nature has many answers and one plant remedy does not fit all. I would really like to use this product, but to dispel the arguments surrounding Nerium AD, it is my opinion that those that make it need to provide information about how it works as an “anti-aging” remedy.

      Posted by Buffy | September 7, 2014, 10:43 am
      • Very well stated Buffy!

        Yes, doseology is a prominent concern for all theuroputic agents & the molecular agents of interaction are ridgedly defined by the laws of physics & biochemistry. In order to intelligently utilize the best available agents for patient treatment the ingredients & potential contraindicators of any theuroputic product clearly should responsibly be available for reference. If not: it’s a sell focus not a health focus.
        The requirement to predict exact dose per ounce or squirt or tsp and so on is absolute. Exact spec’s on all constituent ingredients must be provided to Health Canada to get approval for retail sale. Defiant personal attack seems to masquerade as rebuttals by some comments with transparent vested interests that just verify the obvious:
        “The Emperor Has No Clothes”

        PS. Note that Canada withheld approval until the product name was altered as were the listed constituent ingredients (as commented above).
        Asking intelligent questions separates us all from sheep. We all want a “miricale”. We share our desires to remain healthy. But: we should not allow ourselves to be victims of gullibility.

        Posted by Aj | February 18, 2015, 4:01 pm
  37. Jesus! I just got here to learn a little more about this Nerium product and it seems there is a war here. People took your article too personal, like if they were really defending something of their own (if you know what i mean).
    So, it seems to me that it’s the same old formula: an exotic plant that’s been used for centuries, a multilevel company involved, no studies open to the public, a lot of before and after photos, and so and so. I think I’ll past.

    P.S. And thanks for making me laught with the glycerin, aloe, and brown rice powder thing!

    Posted by Robert | August 14, 2014, 7:53 pm
  38. I enjoy what you guys tend to be up too. This type of clever work
    and reporting! Keep up the good works guys I’ve incorporated you
    guys to our blogroll.

    Posted by best pre workout supplements with creatine | August 17, 2014, 2:03 am
  39. I am looking for an MLM opportunity that I can believe in and stand behind. Recently I reconnected with an old friend and found out she just earned her “sexy Lexy” as I’ve heard it called, her Lexus bonus from Nerium. I saw the vehicle in the parking lot of the restaurant where we ate, was impressed, and came home eager to “google” nerium and find out what all the buzz is about.

    Well, after several clicks, it’s disappointing to learn that it is likely just another snake oil that gullible people are buying. Someone above referred to it as “wealth disguised as health” and I think that’s pretty accurate. It’s sad that a cult like following rallies around a product like this, that that is what it takes to make something like this actually sell. I know all the people who sell it are wild about the product, but folks, Dr. Jen is spot on here. There is no unbiased documentation about the safety of oleander used in this way. Ignoring that fact places belief over science and viola, you have cultish behavior. Sorry, but it’s true.

    And I don’t know what is worse, the thought that the main ingredient in the brand name could be toxic or that maybe said ingredient isn’t even in the product at all – and no one who has jumped on the bandwagon seems to care. Yikes! This is so deceptive I can’t even believe it.

    I’d also like to add that at quick glance of the before and after pics, it was clear that the lighting was different… brighter lights on the before pics which emphasized the wrinkles, darker lighting on the after pics which disguises the wrinkles. Granted, I’ve never tried the product, so I can’t speak to its efficacy. But the pictures did not impress me at all.

    I really do think there is merit in the MLM business model. It’s so simple. And in defense of MLMs, they are NOT a pyramid scheme. A pyramid scheme results when there is nothing that is actually sold. Every business model works like a pyramid in one way or the other. Execs at the top, managers in the middle, grunts at the bottom. It just seems like so many of these “relationship marketing” companies peddle snake oil. Give me a REAL product and I might just jump on board.

    Thanks Dr. Jen for your unwavering commitment to the truth and your no BS approach. You have exposed all the weak arguments and logical fallacies as they have presented themselves.

    I’d also like to ad that this whole thing reminds me of another MLM company peddling snake oil, Monavie, the acai berry drink with all the supposed antioxidants. My brother jumped on that bandwagon and was convinced he’d found life’s great elixir. He died of brain cancer a few years after starting his monavie. I’m not in any way blaming Monavie, just pointing out that it didn’t save him from anything and was likely just very expensive fruit juice.

    Posted by Julee K | August 30, 2014, 1:06 pm
    • Just curious. What did you learn on this site? I mean REALLY learn..I learned that there are no answers here as to whether or not this product works or whether it is, in fact dangerous or not. I have not learned anything that would make me feel comfortable in making a decision about this product, either way. You seem to have seen something that I did not. Please share what that was. Thank You in advance.

      Posted by ntothat | August 30, 2014, 5:18 pm
  40. You are right, I have no proof of anything. I just have been down this road before and have yet to find a product that claims miracles to really produce miracles. Some of the testimonials about this product scare me enough to know I would never try it because there are no unbiased facts out there that assure either safety or that the proprietary ingredient is even present. I see that people get sucked in to the business model based on emotion and excitement about big earnings – which, by the way, I have NOTHING against. I think it’s great if it works for people. It just doesn’t work for me. I can’t be a part of something that is based on emotion and facts that may or may not be true. My opinion is that it is like a cult following of sorts. I have to really believe in something to endorse it and I haven’t yet found a product that I can say I unequivocally believe in. There is SO much snake oil out there. So much money is made on hype and emotion around the hype. In a way I wish I could just get involved anyway – rationality be damned – but, alas, I am not wired that way.

    Posted by Julee K | August 31, 2014, 2:48 pm
    • I understand about the testimonials. There are scary ones for every skin care product out there, but then there are also more very good ones for all of those same companies and their products. I have researched several of them extensively and the scary ones are always from an allergic reaction. Every MLM is going to have negative feedback. Most every business is going to have negative feedback. My advice would be to read the bad, but also look for the good. If your research is thorough, you will give the good information a look too. I have researched Nerium, Mary Kay, Rodan and Fields, Beauty Control, Nu Skin, RetinA and a few others and they all have very positive and very negative. The only two that I could find published journal studies on was RetinA,which was not all positive, and Rodan and Fields Pro-active, which also had it’s issues. i found no published medical studies or FDA approval on any of the skin care products of any of these companies, unless a prescription was involved at some point. There are a lot of great companies out there, so good luck in finding the one that fits you! Have you ever heard of Paycation? It’s a travel agent MLM and I have a few friends that seem to like it.

      Posted by ntothat | August 31, 2014, 3:34 pm
      • Poison ivy causes an allergic reaction. There are substances that are much more likely to cause allergic reactions. So when a product causes several allergic reactions among the population, one needs to take heed.

        One of the problems with this company is that they refuse to make public its peer reviewed, “scientific data”. What reason could there be for that, unless they had something to hide, like poorly constructed experiments, etc. There are many doctors who can easily be monetarily persuaded to validate a product. Just ask the pharmaceutical industry!

        Certainly, there is good and bad in everything. But when we have a company that insists that the alleged results are because of oleander yet, when not allowed to use oleander in Canada (because of the health concerns that the company was apparently unable to assuage), reformulated without it but insists it’s as good… well, that raises huge red flags.

        Posted by Coleena D. | February 17, 2015, 7:46 pm

    If you would so please direct yourself to this video clip, it should end this online debate.

    The last time our country has passed a federal law to regulate care products was in 1938. Any company can slap a “safe”, “nontoxic”, or “organic” label on their products and it really means absolutely nothing.

    For more info., I welcomed you to my website at
    If you like what you see, please consider contacting me at the site for more details on what truly safe, quality products is all about.

    All in all, we MUST always educate ourselves when it comes to the ingredients we put in our bodies.

    Take care.

    Posted by Samantha | September 1, 2014, 7:28 am
    • Thanks for sharing, as I initially had a reaction to the nerium day cream within a 12 hours and took Benedryl to get eyes back on track. Unfortunately, I kept using nerium firm twice a day for four days starting on 10/18/1014 and finally went to a dermatologist on 10/30/2014 to get rid of the patches itchy red bumps that developed where nerium was used. I stopped using the night cream because the smell watered my nose/eyes. Praying for supernatural healing over my skin and now know nerium is simply not for everyone. Dermatologist also confirmed that the nerium product is a bit pricey with no FDA backing to support conclusive anti-aging success.

      Posted by L. | November 3, 2014, 12:13 am
  42. I am very relieved I found this blog. I was very close to purchasing this product but after finding out there are zero safety studies done on this product, I will not risk applying oleander to my face.
    I am very suspect of any product that won’t release data and probably have none. It is foolish to think I would believe sales reps over an M.D. who writes this blog. Also when I saw the before and after pictures, it appears at least one of the pictures look photoshopped. And all of the pictures seem to good to be true, if not impossible.
    My best defense against wrinkles is sun block and a ph balanced moisturizer.

    Posted by Christine | September 8, 2014, 6:39 am
  43. Dr Jen,

    I am curious what type of doctor you are? Are you a medical or scientific Doctor??

    You article certainly creates a good deal of concern regarding NeriumAD but you do not apparently have any factual data to support your claims. I read a number of ‘what ifs’. I use the product and love the results. I did quite a bit of research and the serum does not penetrate the skin to the level it gets into the blood stream. So your position relative to this products seems to be more of a scare tactic than anything else.

    So my proposition to you is, rather than creating non factual hype about a product, why don’t you do further research to answer your own questions before posting an article like this?

    Posted by Eileen Bedinghaus | September 12, 2014, 12:47 pm
    • To find what kind of doctor I am you could start by reading the “about me” section on my blog. Unless of course you just wanted to make a snarky comment.

      If you actually read the post you would see that there is no factual data. That was the whole point of the post. There is no research to find as nothing has been published.

      Great you love the product. Any “research” you did isn’t medical research, just company propaganda. It has to be published to be research.

      Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter | October 19, 2014, 10:22 am
    • Very well stated Buffy!

      Yes, doseology is a prominent concern for all theuroputic agents & the molecular agents of interaction are ridgedly defined by the laws of physics & biochemistry. In order to intelligently utilize the best available agents for patient treatment the ingredients & potential contraindicators of any theuroputic product clearly should responsibly be available for reference. If not: it’s a sell focus not a health focus.
      The requirement to predict exact dose per ounce or squirt or tsp and so on is absolute. Exact spec’s on all constituent ingredients must be provided to Health Canada to get approval for retail sale. Defiant personal attack seems to masquerade as rebuttals by some comments with transparent vested interests that just verify the obvious:
      “The Emperor Has No Clothes”

      PS. Note that Canada withheld approval until the product name was altered as were the listed constituent ingredients (as commented above).
      Asking intelligent questions separates us all from sheep. We all want a “miricale”. We share our desires to remain healthy. But: we should not allow ourselves to be victims of gullibility.

      Posted by Aj | February 18, 2015, 4:10 pm
  44. I just wanted to thank you for posting this. A couple of my friends have been trying to recruit me and although I wasn’t interested in doing it, I decided that I wanted to do some research. I’m so glad I found this post. I have a young sister who enjoys getting into my things so the last thing I would ever want to do is have that Nerium stuff around…I also would be unable to live with myself knowing that I’m selling things that could hurt people. Thank you so much, again.

    Posted by lysmurr94 | September 28, 2014, 11:36 am
  45. Your blog post on Nerium is fantastic! Loved your very real to the point conclusions reviewing this product as I have come to the same conclusion.

    Posted by Jodie | October 3, 2014, 4:01 pm
  46. I used retinol, had facial peels, Botox and fillers. A friend from church recommended that I try Nerium AD. My friend who recommended the product tried to get me to sign up for selling it, saying I would get the product for free, it was a very large start up fee, and she said that the benefits for signing up would save me tons in the long run, not having to go to the Dermatologist for up keep, as Nurieum would take care of that. She told me that it was made of the oleander plant, and that there were two kinds, one that was poisonous and one that is not. At that time I did not even know about the oleander plant so I did not even check the facts before I started using the product. She told me that I may have breakouts, since Nerium would help rid the toxins in my skin causing acne. I was skeptical but wanted to try it. After the call to her directer, who tried to really push me into selling it, saying that the company is young, and that its sales in the first year made more than Google, and that the potential for making money was huge and the founder revolutionized the healing power of curing skin cancer. I declined and insisted that I try it first. I started to use Nerium 3 months ago. The beginning results were amazing. I looked in my magnifying mirror and was shocked with the texture of my skin, it was almost like the tissue its self was regenerating, making pores literally disappear!-leaving behind a smooth texture in patches. It is 3 months in. I used up my sample product, and invested in the night and day cream as well as the firming cream. Upon using the day cream, I had started to note cystic pockets forming. First I am 42 years old, and never have had cystic acne. I have always been prone to Adult acne, and this did relieve that-at first-Now I have a cystic pocket that has started to fill out under my eye, and then another formed on my cheek this week. The one under my eye swelled to the point my eye was almost shut. I did not use any other product except the Nurieum. Now I have to go to my Dermatologist and have the cysts taken care of, which will cost me I am sure. It has been one day since I stopped using it. I now notice no regenerating of skin, or even less acne. Just huge cysts.

    Posted by catinacat | October 12, 2014, 3:39 pm
  47. I am a licensed esthetician.. have been since 1999… I also joined the Nerium team.. for about 3 months.. I used it regularly at night for 30 days.. actually 90 days.. i was really truly hoping for something to happen.. I did not see the overstated results.. I also did NOT SEE team members skin GETTING ANY BETTER!! sure there are a billion photos out there.. but I wonder how many are real… Also.. the active ingredient in Nerium.. well.. conveniently .. there are NO PUBLISHED STUDIES ANYWHERE OTHER THAN what nerium has done in their lab.. interesting.. but LOOK UP RETIN-A or VITAMIN C.. and you will find thousands of articles BY DIFFERENT COMPANIES AND DIFFERENT LABS!! interesting huh? and why.. if this ingredient is soooooo AMAZING>. why no one else has used it?? hmmmm… yet so many other companies use vitamin c, vitamin A etc..

    ALSO THERE IS A PENETRATION FACTOR!! HOW DEEP DOES A CREAM GO? hmmmmm… never thought of that huh?

    its DEFINITELY NOT GOING TO REACH THE DERMAL LAYER LIKE A PEEL OR A LASER?? and dont tell me it will cuz you will sound really stupid… LOL

    I agree with this doctor.. not that it will kill you but ITS NOT EVEN MICRONIZED.. of course you nerium people wont even know what that means…















    NERIUM HASNT CHANGED THE SCIENCE OF SKIN CARE ONE BIT.. they just pray on ignorance…

    find me a study on the active ingredient ANYWHERE outside of their own testing facility and we will talk


    you also NEED A GOOD DIET






    Posted by bubbles | November 26, 2014, 6:17 pm
  48. Interesting read! I tried NeriumAD Cream last night and thought I was going to the ER ! This stuff is poison and I had a very bad reaction including, cold sweats, breathing problems, anxiety. It took me about an hour and a half to figure out it was the cream on my face! As soon as I washed it off my symptoms started to get better! This product is poison and should not be used! I was lucky, I really thought I would not make it thru the night. I feel much better now after washing it off my face.

    Posted by Patrick | January 5, 2015, 6:29 am
  49. Patrick thank you for posting. I was given a trial bottle of the Nerium day and night creme from a friend and used for about a week. Just stopped 1 day ago and glad I did. I am experiencing chest pains..really heavy at night..and anxiety. That is why I searched on the internet and see others have this reaction. I am an avid runner and never had chest pains prior to using this product. I had no intentions of becoming a dealer..MLM is always a scam and preys upon the simple minded money hungry. I am embarrased that I even used the product. You that want to continue in your ignorance, its your choice. I’ll go back to jojoba oil. Christy

    Posted by Christy | January 30, 2015, 7:18 pm
  50. Thank you Dr. Kim for a clear sincere personal report from your own experience!
    The shame about the bombardment from Brand Ambassadors on this blog is that they just can’t own the issue of the failure of their company to provide peer reviewed published science to address the obvious concerns. Please just do that & we can all get a
    safe miracle. However, There is no witch hunt as previous comments have repeatedly trotted out. Just because a BA can make money & a Lexus from abusing the trust of others & leveraging the financial need or perhaps the greed of the uninformed does not make the protocols of science change. Enough of the corpprate basic training blather. The bottom line is simply Nerium is an effective MLM constructed by a brilliant MLM strategy. No miracle here & buyer beware. Asking the ‘pusher’ to get a sincere conscience or to advise potential customers of risk or contraindications is a waste of time. A couple days getting the Corporate whip up in Mexico can not be addressed by intelligent debate. There is an endless supply of ‘Wolves’ dedicated to prey upon us all. The message is to stop! & think for yourself. If it sounds too good to be true … It is not true.

    Posted by Aj | February 4, 2015, 3:27 pm
  51. I love Nerium and will continue using it until “my body is poisoned & I dead” at least my face will look awesome in my casket ;)

    Posted by BB | March 2, 2015, 9:42 pm
    • My sister sells Nerium too and said the exact same thing, BB. This was my comment I posted on Facebook a couple of days ago, which, in course infuriated her…

      Let’s see, what would I like to purchase to put on my skin?

      Product #1 Cost is $95 for 1 oz.

      Reduces appearance of wrinkles using an array of highly toxic substances (look up Nerium Oleander) and produces chronic, insidious inflammation (the expected result of “massive oxidation” applied regularly). Okaaay…


      Product #2 (Renu 28) Cost is $35 for 2.7 oz. (that works out to $12.96 per oz.)

      Dermatest, one of the leading dermatological research institutes in the world, gave RENU 28 its coveted 5-star clinically tested seal. In clinical trials, twenty women used RENU 28 for 28 days. In addition to standard dermatological tests, digital scans were made of individual features such as wrinkles and skin texture.
      The results of ASEA’s RENU 28 were amazing.
      Average decrease in eye wrinkle depth of 21%
      Improvement in overall wrinkles of 23%
      Improvement in facial skin texture of 22%
      Increase of 23% in the smoothness of skin
      20% increase in elasticity
      Skin moisture showed an average increase of 11%

      It received the 5-star rating also because of the purity of its ingredients. Four ingredients, all non-toxic.

      Now, what was the question, again?

      And, yes, I am a distributor of Renu 28.

      Posted by Terri Russell | March 3, 2015, 1:03 pm
      • I guess it’s according to who you are asking. ALL Anti-aging skin care products have those that love them and those that hate them, based on personal results or lack of. I just googled your product and this is the first thing that came up where reviews are concerned. I’m not saying that it’s a great product or a horrible product. What I am saying is that there are those that don’t agree with you either.

        Posted by ntothat | March 3, 2015, 8:20 pm
  52. Yep, we can google most anything we care to. Horrible way to do one’s due diligence. I would much rather put my stock in the findings of Germany’s prestigious Dermatest who did the testing on Renu 28. Dermatest is THE place where reputable cosmetics get tested. The testing is rigorous. Renu 28 was awarded Dermatest’s coveted 5-star rating. That’s the best you can get. The results were amazing (see my post above) and there is zero toxicity. Unlike the product being discussed on this page.

    Posted by Terri Russell | March 4, 2015, 6:55 am
  53. I appreciate reading the piece above as well as all the comments. A friend of mine gave me the day and night creams to try and talked to me about “all the financial opportunities” of becoming a brand rep before I had even heard two words about the product itself. Warning bells were going off in my head like crazy but I let her leave the product and said I would try it. I used the night cream twice and the day cream once. My face turned red and felt like it was on fire – to the point that I had tears in my eyes (and I have gone through childbirth three times, so it takes a bit to pull tears from me). I scrubbed the night cream off tonight and told her I would be giving it back. I have no interest in a MLM skin care company. I prefer a company that doesn’t need a pyramid scheme to be successful, just long term customers. I personally am going back 100% to my Mario Badescu routine. I was horrified to learn that I had smeared oleander all over my face without researching the product. And no, I have no vested interest in my skincare company… I buy it from a store.

    Posted by Kelly | March 14, 2015, 7:51 pm
    • LOL. Good for you! But want you to know that Mario Badesdcu has an active Class Action law suit against it and is having to pay vouchers to customers who had reactions to some of their products because the company hid the fact that they were putting steroids in them. I tell you this only to make the point that there is not one skin care company out there that hasn’t had some customers react negatively to their products. That includes products that are strictly bought in stores. I had the same reaction that you did to the Mary Kay Anti-aging skin care products. I did not feel the need to find an opinion blog to go diss the company, as I understand that fact. Off of the topic of skin care…..Direct Sales companies are as legit as any other. Most are not pyramid schemes, as if they were, they would not be in business, as pyramid schemes are illegal. It’s also interesting to know that 82 percent of women that are making 100K or more a year are doing it thru Direct Sales. Just some information that I thought you might be interested in knowing!

      Posted by ntothat | March 16, 2015, 2:36 pm
  54. Hola, today somebody was trying to sell me the Optimera creams, so I was corious to check review on the net but honestly get so confused. but for sure I´m not going to get it just in case. By the way this product is in Mexico now but honestly it´s extremely expensive. So I preffer to use my grandma´s advices :) at least they are safety.
    Greeting from Mexico!!!!

    Posted by Ximena | March 15, 2015, 5:47 pm
  55. I am no scientist or professional…so my comment is based purely on personal experience with the Nerium/Optimera products.

    I used the Optimera products for 8 months exactly as directed and saw little or no improvement from the first photograph I took, to the last photograph, 8 months later. I have the normal, aging skin of a 54 year old…I would have thought I was a pretty good candidate. Apparently not. For me?, it was a waste of money, I get better results from over the counter, drug store products.

    Seems that lately, there are numerous products like this available on line, and thus far?…I have yet to see one that truly lives up to it’s claims or expense. They all show these great before and after photos…some even the same ones as another. Wish there were better regulations in place to prevent the claims and false advertising. Just saw an article where Nerium was falsely using Ray Liotta before and after pics to promote their product… apparently he sued them because he not only never gave them permission to use his likeness, he has never used the product. For me as a consumer…that speaks to their credibility… on all levels.

    Posted by El | March 18, 2015, 11:13 am

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