I recently found myself bumping into references to an amazing new breakthrough in antiaging skincare called Cynergy TK. Although there are plenty of phony blogs extorting its virtues, I couldn't quite work out what it was. Then I noticed that some of the products featuring Cynergy TK seemed to hail from New Zealand. My thoughts went immediately to sheep. I hereby apologize to all Kiwis for such crude, stereotypical thinking, but it turned out that I was on to something. Cynergy TK is kinetin from sheep's wool.

Now, can sheep-derived kinetin really get rid of wrinkles, or is the New Zealand sheep marketing board just trying to pull the wool over my eyes?

Keratin is a protein that is a major component in skin, hair, nails and teeth. Depending on the various amino acids that combine to form keratin, it can be inflexible and hard (toe nails) or soft (skin). The surfaces of hair, skin and nails are mostly dead cells, which are shed as new cells push up from underneath. If the dead cells are kept in good condition, they will serve as an insulating layer to protect the delicate new keratin below them. Keeping the external layer of keratinmoisturized will prevent cracking and splitting.

Sheep's wool is, of course, is typically destined for the textile industry. But, if you think about it, there is more to wool than knitting. Often, you'll see keratin as the active ingredient in shampoos and usually this is sourced from sheep's wool (a noble exception is Joico, which claims to have “captured” human hair keratin as this is supposedly best way to ensure a match with the hair’s 18 amino acids).

Now scientists are trying to break down the wool fibers and get at the keratins and their amino acids for cosmetic use. There isn't much independent research on the actual effects on skin, but there are studies that claim to show that wool kinetin's peptides and lipids increase skin moisture retention and elasticity.

So Cynergy TK may be on to something. However, it isn't really convincing about why its particular form of keratin should work, other than it comes from wool, rather than hooves. The Cynergy TK blurb also says that it boosts collagen production because of the zinc protein present in keratin. Trying to double check this, all my searches on zinc protein, sheep and keratin merely threw up references to, guess what... Cynergy TK.

Cynergy TK can be found, appropriately enough, in combos with kiwi fruit extract such as Protective Day Cream with Cynergy TK Keratin and Kiwifruit ($16.95). I haven't tried this product, but it looks OK, does little evil and wool is, after all, biodegradable.

Ingredients:

Purified New Zealand Spring Water, Octyl palmitate, octyl methoxycinnamate, glycerine, glyceryl stearate and PEG-100, PEG-120, octyl saliyilate, benzophenone, Cynergy TK, Avocado Oil, Vitamin E, Pro-vitamin B5, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Chamomile Extract, Kiwifruit Extract, Manuka Honey, natural preservatives, natural fragrance.