Our Rating: 4 stars

Even as we get bombarded by stem cells and growth factors, it is hard to go wrong with a good serum based on Matrixyl 3000, a peptide combo that boosts collagen production. Arcona’s Peptide Hydrating Complex ($75 in the shop) is a good choice for anyone interested in Matrixyl and especially those prone to dry skin.

There is a slew of powerful hydrating ingredients including glycosaminoglycans, which promotes the ability of the collagen and elastin fibers to retain moisture and thus keeps them in good condition. They are known as the “water reserve of the viable epidermis and dermis.” Sodium hyaluronate holds up to 1,000 times its weight in water and helps the skin’s microcirculation and nutrient absorption. They are backed up by squalane, shea butter and glycerin.

All of these make Arcona’s Peptide Hydrating Complex a rare serum and moisturizer in one. For all its hydrating power, this is a fast absorbing and non-greasy serum that keeps the skin feeling supple throughout the day or night. Talking of which, this is billed as an “AM/PM” potion. However, as there is a touch of retinol, which can make the skin more sun sensitive, it should be used at night or during the day with a sunscreen.

I like the inclusion of L-carnosine, an amino acid that may extend the longevity of cells past their Hayflick Limit. Recent studies suggest this ingredient may also act as a natural anti-glycation molecule. Glycation – when sugar molecules attack the body’s essential proteins – is regarded as a major cause of aging.

Peptide Hydrating Complex has a strong, fruity aroma that lingers for some hours. This is certainly due to the grapefruit peel oil. Other botanicals, such as cranberry, billberry and rosehip bring antioxidants. And, as can be expected with Arcona, there’s nothing nasty in this formulation.

Arcona’s Peptide Hydrating Complex is a good hydrating serum and, while I didn’t find that it made inroads on wrinkles, it does keep the skin feeling supple. It is one of Arcona’s Basic Five, and I have been testing it as a regimen along with Desert Mist, a cleansing bar, exfoliator and solution pads.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Squalane, Hexadecyl D-glucoside, Octadecyl D-glucoside, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycosaminoglycans, Glycine, Soja (Soybean) Protein, L-sodium Hyaluronate, Glycerin, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide (MatrixylTM), Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 (Matrixyl 3000TM), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Glyceryl Stearate, Acacia Gum, L-carnosine, Vaccinium Myrtillus Extract, L-menthyl Lactate, Rosa Rubignosa Seed Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Fruit Extract, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, D-beta-fructan, D-beta-glucosamine, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, D-alpha-tocopherol (Vitamin E), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Retinol, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Allantoin, Lecithin, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Extract, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract, Benzyl Alcohol