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Can Hemorrhoid Cream (Prep H) Work for Wrinkles?

If you asked people what they'd most like to change about their appearance, many would say their wrinkles. Can Preparation H get rid of them or not?
Can Hemorrhoid Cream (Prep H) Work for Wrinkles?

Have you looked in the mirror lately? If you are like us, chances are pretty good that you have noticed a few (or perhaps more than a few) wrinkles. They come with age. Sun exposure can also cause premature aging and wrinkles. There are lots of anti-aging (age-defying) formulas in department stores and on the web. Some are incredible pricey. A couple of ounces could run into hundreds of dollars. Perhaps you have heard of an old-fashioned hemorrhoid remedy for wrinkles. Yup, we’re talking about Preparation H. But beware, the Prep H you can buy in the U.S. does not have the original ingredients. Some online products don’t either. 

No one likes wrinkles, but could Preparation H work as well as pricey skin creams?

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 Preparation H comments from visitors to this website:

Guy shares his wife’s experience:

“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.”

Tom P. offers this unique historical perspective:

“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 the 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.”

Bill also offers a family perspective:

“George Sperti was my ‘Dutch Uncle’ and this product came out of research on shark repellents for the US Navy during WWII at facilities in Palm Beach and in KY near Covington. So my family had been using Preparation H since around the end of WWII.

“It was and still is a greasy application that removes all gunk from cuts and bruises as long as you change band-aids twice a day for the first few days and every day thereafter until healing is completed. It also worked on burns and other skin abrasions.

“The reason for the hemorrhoid use was a perception that internal use would negate the greasiness. Topical skin applications never really got off the ground under the Preparation H and the Sperti’s Bio Dyne labels.

“There never was and still isn’t anything like it. The only resembler is a Middle East sesame seed-based ointment also not available in the US due to the federal bureaucrats. When did FDA make such a wrongheaded decision?”

Rebecca adds this caveat:

“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.”

Mary is a believer:

“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.”

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

You can learn about other ways to deal with wrinkles and dry skin in our Guide to Skin Care & Treatment

Revised June 27, 2019

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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