The amazing facial called Iron Cream Mask (it combines ingredients such as zinc and iron to create a magnetic field over the skin) that Copley wrote about a few weeks ago has come to New York. In what in retrospect seems like an inevitable chain of events, my esthetician read about it on TIA, was intrigued, got trained, and I booked myself in. There aren't many degrees of separation amongst wrinkle warriors.

In anticipation of my Iron Mask facial (scheduled for about 10 days from now), I have been trying out Leni-K Crema from Dermophisiologique (the spa-sold skin care line behind the mask). It is one of the potions used in the procedure and a moisturizer for sensitive skin in its own right.

Leni-K Crema is billed as being ideal for those afflicted with rosacea and, as that would be me, I have been specifically trying it on the patch of my left cheek where I am sometimes likely to suffer a flare up and, indeed, where I am always a bit pink. Leni-K has indeed been a soothing experience.

There are plenty good things in this moisturizer, such as beta sitosterol (an antioxidant that can be found in rice bran and flax) and escin (derived from horse chestnut and a whizz at mending broken capillaries) but I was particularly intrigued by glycyrrhetinic acid. I had a hunch that it might have something do with licorice, which I knew to be an anti-inflammatory. Glycyrrhetinic acid is the active component in licorice root and scientists have swooped on it as an alternative to nonsteroidal therapy to treat inflammatory skin diseases.

It seems that its powers to transform a traumatized epidermis are legion. Research has identified it as anti-inflammatory, antiulcer, antiallergic, antiviral, antibacterial, and hepatoprotective effects demonstrated systemically by glycyrrhetinic acid.

How licorice root works as an anti-inflammatory is still under investigation. Howeever, it primarily seems to act on enzyme metabolism, inhibiting the specific enzyme that converts the active hormone cortisol to the biologically inactive product cortisone. Glycyrrhetinic acid has also been found to inhibit the formation of skin tumors.

Water, c12-15 alkyl benzoate, cetearyl alcohol, dimethicone, capryloyl glycine, DEA-cetyl phosphate, glycerin, glycine soy bean oil unsaponfiables, olive oil unsaponfiables, wheat germ oil unsaponfiables, shea butter, aloe vera extract, ginko extract, blackcurrant oil, pollen extract, glycyrrhetinic acid, beta sitosterol, tocopherol, ascorbyl palmitate, sodium carboxymethyl betaglucan, bisabolol, phospholipids, lecithin, escin, ceramide-3, carbomer, ceramide-1, ceramide 6 ll, cholesterol, phytophingosine, xanthan gum, sodium lauroyl lactylate, propylene glycol, cetearyl glucoside, disodium EDTA, sodium hydroxide, citric acid, fragrance