It was a trip to the dentist that led Nikki Benett, a former owner of a marketing agency, to discover a radical new natural anti-ageing treatment that offers the same results as Botox, but without the need for injections.
At the time, Nikki was recovering from a major illness and had developed several allergies, including to local anaesthesia. When she needed dental treatment, a dentist recommended using an alternative – a plant that has been used for hundreds of years in South America as a local anaesthetic and treatment for pain relief.
Nikki was instantly intrigued by the power of acmella oleracea and its extract, spilanthol. “Since my childhood, when my grandmother taught me about herbal tinctures, I have been fascinated by nature,” she says. “It offers a solution for everything. I started studying acmella oleracea and spilanthol in depth, and discovered academic studies on its effects on the skin.They showed spilanthol had an incredible effect – wrinkles got smaller from using it on the very first day.” Because it functions like a natural anaesthetic, it has an immediately reversible muscle-relaxing effect.
Nikki felt her illness had prematurely aged her skin, that her expression lines and wrinkles had deepened. Here, she thought, could be the answer. Two years of research followed and the result was a skincare range that uses high-dosage, medically isolated spilanthol for the very first time.
She commissioned independent testing to see whether her products, made only from natural ingredients, would deliver a visible lifting effect and smoothing of facial contours. “When I got the results, I fell off my chair,” says Nikki. “I believed in my products, but to know that they really work was so amazing. We have a genuine, purely natural alternative to Botox and fillers.” The clinical tests found users of Spilanthox Therapy products had up to 56.1 per cent fewer wrinkles only 15 minutes after application. Over four weeks, users had up to 81.7 per cent fewer wrinkles – their depth and length were reduced and the skin became smoother and significantly firmer.
Getting the fragrance right using entirely natural ingredients was also a challenge that Nikki worked hard to perfect. “I wanted the product to work on wrinkles, but I also wanted it to lift your mood too. Modern life is stressful, people have to juggle so many things. You want your skin treatment to smell good, too.” Orange and grapefruit provide the product range with a fresh, citrus aroma; vanilla and coffee scents are used for warmer products. Spilanthox Therapy products are also free of mineral oils, parabens, PEGs and silicones.
Spilanthox Therapy is expanding, with Princess Elna-Margret of Bentheim and Steinfurt (pictured, opposite) serving as its new brand ambassador. But, for Nikki, the business is still personal. “I was flying so high in my life before I was ill – I had a great career, I had a baby, I was very healthy and sporty,” she says. “When I had a sudden cardiac death, I kept thinking, ‘Why has this happened to me?’ Now, I think everything happens for a reason. If I hadn’t been ill, I would never have started this business. I was given a second chance at life and I want to do something that has real meaning and makes a difference to other people. I want to support people who have been through tough times and create a product that can help women and men feel more radiant, more beautiful and happier – and with a clear conscience that the product they are using is entirely natural.”