Q. I have a friend who says that Preparation H can smooth wrinkles on your face. She has lovely skin, but I am dubious. Could a hemorrhoid product really do any good against wrinkles, or is this an urban legend?

A. Preparation H has a reputation for unique uses beyond the obvious one. For decades people told us that they used this ointment on bed sores, surgical scars (to reduce itching and inflammation), burns, cracked dry finger tips as well as wrinkles. One woman told us that Preparation H rescued her plum tree after she scraped the bark with her lawn mower.

All of these unorthodox uses were with the original Preparation H formulation, which included live yeast cell derivative (LYCD) in addition to shark liver oil. But the FDA made the manufacturer remove the LYCD because the studies supporting its effectiveness for hemorrhoids did not convince the agency it worked. We think that might have been short-sighted.

We suspect the LYCD, also known as BioDyne, may have been responsible in part for the positive results people reported. Scientific studies show this ingredient can hasten wound healing.

A study published in the Journal of Burn Care & Rehabilitation tested an extract of LYCD in a diabetic mouse model. These animals (like their human counterparts) have a hard time healing after wounds. The mice receiving the topical LYCD extract experienced 100% wound closure 24 days after their wounds. Less than one-third of the mice receiving the placebo treatment had wound closure within that time.

Elsewhere in the world, the formulation of Preparation H still contains LYCD. If you would like to try it, you can get some from Canada via the Internet. Search for Preparation H with BioDyne.

Here are some comments from visitors to this website:

“My wife is having a terrible problem with the skin on her fingers splitting easily. Nothing worked until we tried an old tube of Preparation H that had not been thrown away. It contained the LYCD (live yeast cell derivative) you mentioned. This stuff is definitely helping. Trouble is that we are running out. Our pharmacist says he can’t get any more Preparation H with the original formula and cannot make it for us. I guess we will have to shop for it via Canada.”
Guy


 

“I am past 80 years old. About 40-50 years ago, at Walgreens, they had an ointment named, ‘Sperty BioDyne ointment’ and it had shark liver oil and LYCD ingredients in it. We started using it for cuts and abrasions and found that it healed them real fast and with very little scarring. We were really impressed with it.

“Then, it became unavailable, and we found that the old Preparation H had the same ingredients and started to use that. The old Sperty BioDyne Co. of Cincinnati went out of business.

“Then the dang FDA got to meddling in the affair and Prep-H formula was forced to change the ingredients. The company removed the LYCD from it. Now after considerable searching I just today received five 75 gram tubes of Prep-H from a Canadian drug firm at $21.00 U.S. per tube plus S/H. The last tube of Prep-H that I bought in the USA cost me $2.50 at Dollar general Stores. Thanks to FDA meddling that’s quite a jump in price.”
Tom P.


“I have spoken to several people over the years who use Prep H with BioDyne and swear by it for wrinkles and eye puffiness.

“Even though people say you can find it via online Canadian pharmacies you have to search the actual ingredients. If you read the fine print you discover that LYCD is not always there.”
Rebecca


“I have used the old-fashioned Preparation H formula with LYCD as a moisturizer under my makeup. I am convinced that it improves my skin texture and smoothes out the wrinkles.”

Mary


We would love to learn about your experience with Preparation H. If you have used the original formula did it help? Comment below.

You can learn about other ways to deal with wrinkles and dry skin in our Guide to Skin Care & Treatment. We are especially fond of Udderly Smooth Extra Care Cream with Urea (a sponsor of our radio show). There is growing evidence (The Journal of Investigative Dermatology) that the urea found in this affordable skin cream is a magnificent skin protector.


If you find these sorts of practical, affordable home remedies of interest, you may wish to subscribe to our *free* online newsletter. It offers questions and answers about drugs, home remedies, nutrition and non-drug approaches to healing; commentaries on the most pressing health issues of the day; special alerts on breaking health news as it happens and coverage of the top health headlines of the week.

Stay informed with us, The People’s Pharmacy.

Join Over 52,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

Each week we send two free email newsletters with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies and a preview of our award-winning radio show. Join our mailing list and get the information you need to make confident choices about your health.

  1. Kristi
    Reply

    Make up artistry is my hobby. I always use a mixture of Prep H, Monistat Anti-chaffing cream (not antifungul), caffeinated instant coffee and a tiny hint of toothpaste as part of my skin regime. I then wash with Noxema and reapply the monistat as a make up primer alone. People say I look 18! I love it :D

  2. blanca
    Reply

    I want to know if it does work for wrinkles and lines and want to know if in the long run messes up your face.

  3. RW
    Reply

    Years ago while camping, one of the children got sunburned. She was so uncomfortable and miserable she couldn’t sleep. Aside from a small tube of First Aid cream, the only thing we had with us was a tube of Preparation H. In desperation we decided to give it a try and… sure enough! It took the heat out of the burn and eased the pain and swelling!!! Wasn’t long and she was able to go to sleep. Who’d of thought?

  4. candice
    Reply

    It has worked very well for my seborrheic dermatitis especially on my face and neck…the tube I found at my parents house was dated 10/04.

  5. chris
    Reply

    Oh my gosh!!! I had accidentally been using prep h on my sergical incision and was freaking out when I found out what is was. I googled it for information and found that people have been using it for years for incisions. Actually I think it helped with healing, itching and cooled it down.

  6. Josephine
    Reply

    I don’t really know if that is very effective for my skin. I am afraid to use it so I still need to consult my doctor about it. However, I am hoping that this cream will be a big help for others.

  7. Dolores
    Reply

    I used the old Prep H to shrink boils on my butt. My doctor was skeptical, but he humored me and said if I thought it worked go ahead. It cleared them up without lancing them.
    Maybe we need to bombard the FDA and tell them to OK the ingredients that they had removed as not being useful.

  8. PG
    Reply

    About 15 years ago, I was bitten by a fire ant at my mothers house. It was very painful. I looked for something to put on it and saw a tube of Prep H. I slapped it on the bite and the pain went away instantly. What a relief!
    I don’t know if it was the old Prep H or the new, but I would use it again if bitten.

  9. DS
    Reply

    I’d like to read all the comments. Sounds intriguing. Is it terribly expensive if you happen to go to Canada as a tourist? I will look for it if I ever travel there. Foreign pharmacies and grocery stores are always fun to shop.

  10. Pattic
    Reply

    This is very interesting. I’d like to try the Prep H with LYCD (BioDyne) for my facial wrinkles. I just did a search on google and came up with a place to buy it but much too high $$ and looking at where it comes from Canada, seems to be the stuff you are talking about BUT fulfilled by Amazon, stored in their warehouses. Really? Really? Trying to do my Seinfield impression. :-) Another seller is importing it from Canada but again is much too high. I’ll bet you it’s on Ebay too.
    I do remember a episode of Everybody Loves Raymond where Marie told Debra to put it under her eyes for the puffiness or wrinkles and she did.
    Thanks I love reading the Peoples Pharmacy, always informative.

  11. Susan S.
    Reply

    I have not used the “old formula” of Preparation H for myself; however, I have used it on my horses and always included it in my first-aid supplies at the barn.
    My mare once snagged her neck badly on a small-diameter cedar-tree limb that was incompletely cut and sticking out on a fence post. It was quite deep. After I filled the wound completely with the Prep. H just a few times, it healed completely, leaving no indication of the wound — no scar or anything.
    I was disappointed to read years ago about the formulation being changed to eliminate the shark liver oil and the LYCD. The “new” product did not heal as the other.
    Thank you for sharing how to get the original formulation! I plan to order some more immediately!

What Do You Think?

Share your thoughts with others, but be mindful of protecting your own and others' privacy. Not all comments will be posted. Advice from web visitors is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. In posting a comment, you agree to our commenting policy and website terms and conditions.