Is Good Skin Genetic — Or Can Products Help? Olay Solves The Riddle Using Twins

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olay-twins-skin-studyPhoto: Courtesy of Olay.
By now even toddlers are familiar with those skin-care ads that show a split portrait of a person who used a product on one side of their face and not the other. That's been the beauty standard for many companies on how best to demonstrate the efficacy of their products. A tester slathers one side of their face with the latest miracle cream for a few weeks time and leaves the other bare as a control. At the end of the study, you then see the "dramatic" difference in the skin.

That's all well and good, but as many dermatologists have pointed out, it's not exactly an accurate representation of how effective that skin cream actually is. According to dermatologist Dr. Doris Day, those side-by-side face comparisons have too many variables — which side you sleep on, which cheek gets more sun exposure due to driving, etc. — to be the best indicator. "You don't age the same on both sides of your face," she says.

P&G senior scientist Dr. Laura Goodman agrees, adding that during many of those studies, she finds participants tend to have a hard time sticking to the protocol. They like the results they are getting on one side of their face, she explains, so they are tempted to just apply it all over because they don't want to look uneven.

In an effort to showcase just how effective their Pro-X line is, Olay decided to ditch the usual half-face comparisons and instead enlisted 21 sets of identical female twins, ages 20 to 53, to test out its Intensive Wrinkle Protocol and Even Skin Tone Protocol. One of the twins was given the three products to use, and the other was told to use her existing skin-care routine. Eight weeks later, the brand brought the two twins together to see the difference in their skin. And, boy, was there a difference.

Beth and Sara, the twins featured in the photo above (that's Beth on the left and Sara on the right), told us they were both taken by surprise with the results of the study. Beth teased her sister for wearing makeup everywhere, telling us how Sara was the kind of girl who wore a full face of makeup to swim practice. Sara then told us, beaming, how after the study, she now felt comfortable enough to go to work without makeup on some days, a big coup for her.

The brand is sharing the results of the study this weekend at the annual American Academy of Dermatology meeting. They've also launched a website for consumers to check out the study for themselves and hear straight from the participants what the experience was like for them. The video is pretty adorable — watching the twins interact with each other when talking about their skin was pretty heartwarming/hilarious — but we also think it's a pretty innovative way to approach the problem of showing product results on real people.

Check out the video, then tell us what you think — was this more informative and enlightening than the usual side-by-side face comparison you're used to seeing?

Pro-X by Olay Anti-Aging Starter Protocol, $39.09, available at Ulta.


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