Help Needed from a Chemist Please! Temporary Wrinkle Remover — Original Formula Early 1980s

Hi Everyone 

I have posted this same question on an old discussion, and not knowing how this forum works I’ve started a new discussion in case my reply on the old discussion gets “lost”.


A quick background:  Way back in 1984 I stumbled upon a cheap lotion in a drugstore in London, UK called Temporary Wrinkle Remover.  I was only 16 at the time, but had some acne indentation scarring on my temple that made me dreadfully self-conscious. When I saw this lotion I figured if it worked for wrinkles (albeit temporarily) it may fill in the scarring I was so unhappy about.

It was like a miracle. It completely filled the scarring in and my temple looked smooth and normal again. I was over the moon!

I used it when going out socialising, and can honestly say it changed my life — that’s how self-conscious I was of that pitted scarring. To my utter dismay they stopped producing it just a few years later! They did bring out copycat formulas (still do), and Ive tried them all. Every single one. But not one is a patch on the original.

I've even bought copycat lotions that list the same ingredients but the formula is not the same, and they don’t have the same magical effect.

I realise they’re not skin treatments or medication; they’re simply concealers. But for a woman, or man, the impact on one’s self-esteem is incredible just to look like you have “normal” skin.

The original formula contained: D.I.  Water,  Sodium Silicate,  Magnesium Aluminium Silicate, Iron Oxides

I believe it was manufactured for a company in Florida, possibly in China — I no longer have an original bottle. I do remember it came in a small 1 fl.oz White Plastic Bottle and afternoon shaking the bottle, the clear, slightly pink lotion poured slowly out and was like a paste.

Unlike the copycat lotions when the original dried after dabbing a tiny amount onto your skin, you would feel a very strong tightening/lifting effect. Much stronger than the copycat ones of today. But besides that, once it had dried, if you stroked your fingertip across the dried lotion on (in my case on my temple), although it looked smooth it actually felt rough — as though you were stroking sandpaper. That sounds unpleasant, but the effect was simply magical — and it lasted all day too! It didn’t wear off until you washed your face at night.

My question is: what would have given the lotion that very strong tightening effect, and what ingredient would have made it feel like rough sandpaper once it had dried?

I don’t have the exact formula, obviously, nor do I know what strength/type Sodium Silicate, Magnesium Sodium Silicate was used as I’m not a Chemist.

Please, if anyone could help me or suggest what I’d need to make some up for myself that would create that same original formula I would be forever grateful and obviously pay for your time or/and advice

Many, many thanks in advance!

JX

Comments

  • I think the sodium silicate is just a film former. These act to smooth out the skin by filling in crevices/valleys in the outer layers of your skin to leave a cohesive covering.
    According to this patent (https://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/74/1e/51/42b2d994d23ff9/WO2013109850A2.pdf) sodium silicate is also a "contractile adhesive," and pulls on the skin as it dries, which may be why you saw such potent results.

    As for the sandpaper feeling, I imagine either the water in the product evaporated or was absorbed, leaving behind the previously colloidal silicates. Unfortunately it kind of sounds like you were rubbing tiny glass shards around on your skin.

    These are pretty strange ingredients to me and certainly sound like something only Florida could make. This (https://s3.amazonaws.com/ariixdocs/productpdfs/jouve/Jouve_Tightener_Ingredients_List_V05.pdf) is the closest I could find to your description.
  • EVchemEVchem Member
    Not surprised at all when you mentioned the ingredients- this formula has been around forever. we have our own version as I suspect many companies do.

    The tightening effect is coming from Sodium Silicate aka Liquid glass. When it dries it tightens and also creates the rough feeling and you may see some residue if it dries out too much. As great as the instant results are, sodium silicate has an extremely high pH so please be careful especially since it goes in the eye area. If you do want to make it yourself you have to be aware of that and you'll want to check wherever you buy it from provides a good CoA (Certificate of Analysis)  as sodium silicates are used for lots on industrial purposes and those grades may have more/harsher impurities. 

    Feel free to message me and I can give you a formula close to our own, I don't know it if will have the exact properties you like but all these instant wrinkle formulas are just variations of another.
  • JLLL18JLLL18 Member
    I think the sodium silicate is just a film former. These act to smooth out the skin by filling in crevices/valleys in the outer layers of your skin to leave a cohesive covering.
    According to this patent (https://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/74/1e/51/42b2d994d23ff9/WO2013109850A2.pdf) sodium silicate is also a "contractile adhesive," and pulls on the skin as it dries, which may be why you saw such potent results.

    As for the sandpaper feeling, I imagine either the water in the product evaporated or was absorbed, leaving behind the previously colloidal silicates. Unfortunately it kind of sounds like you were rubbing tiny glass shards around on your skin.

    These are pretty strange ingredients to me and certainly sound like something only Florida could make. This (https://s3.amazonaws.com/ariixdocs/productpdfs/jouve/Jouve_Tightener_Ingredients_List_V05.pdf) is the closest I could find to your description.


    Thank you for your message — I’ve only just seen it!

    That’s very helpful, thank you.

    so it sounds like the sodium silicate is what goes glass-like once dried? I know it sounds bad, but I used it, albeit for just a few years, and whilst I know it wasn’t a skin conditioner in any way, the effect was fantastic and it never did any harm to my skin, either short-term or long-term.

     I have looked at the link you sent me of the Jouve product, but I tried that one before and although it was OK, it definitely wasn’t anywhere near close to the original. Thank you for looking for me, though — I really appreciate that :)

    I just wish there was a way to replicate that original...

    If you do have any ideas I would be so, so grateful!

    Jx
  • JLLL18JLLL18 Member
    edited March 23
    EVchem said:
    Not surprised at all when you mentioned the ingredients- this formula has been around forever. we have our own version as I suspect many companies do.

    The tightening effect is coming from Sodium Silicate aka Liquid glass. When it dries it tightens and also creates the rough feeling and you may see some residue if it dries out too much. As great as the instant results are, sodium silicate has an extremely high pH so please be careful especially since it goes in the eye area. If you do want to make it yourself you have to be aware of that and you'll want to check wherever you buy it from provides a good CoA (Certificate of Analysis)  as sodium silicates are used for lots on industrial purposes and those grades may have more/harsher impurities. 

    Feel free to message me and I can give you a formula close to our own, I don't know it if will have the exact properties you like but all these instant wrinkle formulas are just variations of another.
    Hi Evchem, thank you for your reply — I’ve only just seen it! I have tried probably every other similar lotion on the market but not one comes close to the original.

    The original differed in that it went much, much tighter than all the others I’ve tried since then, and also had a feel of sandpaper which the new ones don’t. Going by what you say it sounds like it’s the water glass (sodium silicate) giving it that sandpaper feel: would that be correct?

    Yes, I realize the lotion isn’t a skin treatment, nor probably good for your skin, but it certainly did no harm to mine whatsoever. And would that mean the original formula used more sodium silicate or a higher strength? I shall message you too...thank you so much !
     Jx
  • chemicalmattchemicalmatt Member, Professional Chemist
    Jill18, it was a Jeuvenessence product you found and used, and they are based in Florida. It had Argirilene in it too - a very expensive peptide ingredient for dermal rejuvenation, but the sodium silicate did most of the coverage as noted.  I duplicated the formula many years ago but no longer have my notes. I seem to remember 5.0 - 8.0% sodium silicate 40%, but not all of these are alike, there are silicate ratios to consider. Best of luck.


  • Apologies for my late response but I’ve only just seen your post!  I had no notification that there were more replies.

    Thank you for your help and advice; I do appreciate that so much.

     I am 99% certain that the original formula was not made by Jeaveennessence, as I seem to recall buying that at some time after the original was no longer produced, and it just wasn’t the same, unfortunately. Similar, but nowhere near as strong, as in “tightening” and feeling rough and “glassy” once dried. It sounds awful, but it was invisible to the eye and was a temporary fix. I only used it on special occasions, but did so for a few years and never had any problems at all.

     I can’t understand why other companies try to reproduce that same formula, but can’t seem to get it exact? Why is it so difficult? I’m not a chemist, so have no idea, obviously, but I just wish I could make a batch up for myself.  What is the ingredient that dries and gives the tight pulling effect and that feels gritty? It’s that which seems to be missing from all the dupes.

     I hope you can help me 😊
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    The culprit is sodium silicate. There's a ton of different varieties/qualities, production/synthesis, purity, pH and so on have a tremendous and unpredictable impact on polymerisation (which causes tightening as well as glassy/gritty feeling whilst precipitating and drying). Minor differences in how and with what you make the product likely has a noticeable impact (obviously, this impact is most probably more often negative than positive).
    Given that we don't know too much about silicone/silicate chemistry, let alone how to fine-tune it, paired with often not so pure starting material of varying batch qualities (true for all ingredients but water) and silicates unpredictable/erratic behaviour makes formulating a real gamble.
    Sure, we do now know more than back in the '80 and you might, after thorough literature research and even more trial and error, have a fighting chance (though not an economically viable one) of making something equally good or even better than the original product. That is, until you buy a new batch of sodium silicate, magnesium aluminium silicate or iron oxide and have to start all over again.
    Me, I would use a synthetic magnesium aluminium silicate though I don't know whether or not for example synthetic zeolite would work too... synthetic because of way higher purity (less metal ions which mess up chemistry) and better batch-to-batch consistency. Else, I'd at least use Veegum Ultra or another highly purified version which contains as little bound metal ions as possible.
    The other partner in crime is iron oxide because iron ions have a tremendous impact on how and how fast silicates polymerise and precipitate. Replacing this with a different pigment would be worth looking into although I wouldn't know of any except synthetic fluorophlogopite which, as brown pigments, are covered with iron oxides and aren't alkali stable either ;( . At least get a high purity iron oxide of known composition and high quality from a reliable source.
    Obviously, go with fresh good quality water glass. Maybe produce it yourself from dry sodium silicate of known SiO2:Na2O ratio and play with that ratio: the lower, the more alkaline, more stable and smoother, the higher the less alkaline (called "neutral") and better drying but more gritty. Using dry silicate requires a pressure cooker to properly getting it into solution. Or, if your filthy rich, use tetraethyl silicate as starting material :smiley: .
  • Oh, thank you so much for your detailed response - you’re teaching me so much - thank you!

    I don’t understand science at all, unfortunately, so apologies if I ask dense questions. This sounds stupid, but I wonder how the man who made the original formula managed to keep the batches consistent? It was in production for about 10 years (possibly longer as I only discovered it in the ‘80s), and then suddenly ceased production. I understand the man died, so that’s possibly why...

    He must have been a chemist, I am sure, and I wonder if he discovered it by chance. It was only cheap to buy, so I can’t imagine he tried so many formulas for something that he was going to sell for almost pennies.

    You’ve explained things so well to me, but I’m unsure on what sodium silicate I need to buy? Obviously, I want the one that has the rough “sandy” feel when it dries. You’ve explained ratios etc, but would you be kind enough to recommend a particular one I need, as I’m slightly confused as to which sodium silicate/waterglass I need to buy?

    Thank you so much - you are so helpful 😊
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    Unfortunately, I can't help you further. As said, silicate chemistry is not straight forward inorganic chemistry and hence, you'll just have to try something. For the sake of your skin, go with a more 'neutral' quality and just see how it performs. This one is also more likely to give a sandy feeling rather than turning into a hard sheet of smooth glass.
  • biofmbiofm Member
    Let me know if you want to recreate this formula. We can work together and see how far we go with it.
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    @biofm Are you considering to include one of your ionic liquids? IMHO this might actually work though I'd rather try deep eutectic solvents first... you'd just have to find one which is stable enough at alkaline pH.
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