When I came across Athena 7-minute Facelift with these before and after pictures, my first thought was that I had found my next victim (um, subject) for Dept of Daft.

I particularly liked the claim on the Athena website that "in seven minutes it significantly reduced the appearance of fine lines and facial wrinkles an average of 83.7% on a full face evaluation". And all this with only natural ingredients. That's some cream.

I guess you could say, strictly speaking, that the active ingredient Acetyl Hexapeptide-3 (also known as Argireline) is natural.  It is an artificially created peptide (a chain of six amino acids) that was developed by a Spanish company and it works by limiting the neurotransmitters that tell your facial muscles to move (so the effect is a bit like Botox).

At a 10% concentration and used over 30 days it can reduce the appearance of wrinkles by 30%. This was based on a test of eight women. This is cited by every manufacturer that uses the stuff and is the study behind the 83.7% effective claim made by Athena. Acetyl Hexapeptide-3 is in a suprising number of products: Creme De Vie, Pretox, Cellular Skin Rx and La Prarie to name but a few.

If my experience is anything to go by, don't expect long-lasting change. Acetyl Hexapeptide-3 is the key ingredient in Avetone and I've been using that for about a year without any noticable effects (good or bad) and I'm going to stop once I've finished up the pot I'm currently using.