I have recently become acquainted with a brand called Avitalin that has a very focused skincare philosophy: the promotion of skin barrier repair with nutritious ingredients. Founded by Marina Volod, an esthetician, one of Avitalin’s stated values is to “respect the consumer's right to choose skin care products that contribute to a healthy lifestyle”. I like that a lot. But would Avitalin walk the talk? I tried Skin Radiance ($100 for 1oz) and found that it very much does. Avitalin is a great find.

Skin Radiance has some curious ingredients, which I’ll come back to in a moment. I am not sure (yet) how effective this cream is on deep wrinkles, but on skin texture it does a fantastic job. My neck has a lot of sun damage in the form of rough, scaley skin and Skin Radiance has, in barely a month, rendered it less red and much smoother to the eye and touch.

This bears out the Avitalin philosophy of using ingredients that promote skin barrier repair. The focus on the outermost layer of the skin, the stratum corneum, is dubbed “corneotherapy and makes sense since outer layer of the epidermis serves as our first line of defense. Avitalin claims its ingredients are also effective in reducing symptoms of skin irritation and inflammation.

So what are they? Well, there are phospholipids, the behavior of which is wondrous and strange. They are described as having heads and tails. The 'head' of a phospholipid is hydrophilic (attracted to water), while the hydrophobic 'tails' repel water. This means that they attract water and hold on to it, making this ingredient a very helpful moisturizer. But that's not all. These heads and tails organize themselves into a structure similar to that of skin. Because of this it is said that products that contain them have an affinity with the skin and high tolerance. And, what's more, phospholipids retain their structure when applied and because of this is sometimes called a “second skin”.

I am very intrigued by 6-furfurylaminopurine. This is a synthetic form of plant kinetin that has been studied a lot in the plant world, where it has been found to regulate growth. It is a highly potent growth factor that, along with other plant growth substances, promotes cell division and ensures orderly growth and development of plants. If Kinetin is applied to the lower leaves, they remain green. Similarly, cut leaves remain green when maintained in a nutrient solution containing Kinetin.

Kinetin may also keep skin “green” too. One of the hallmarks of aging tissues is the accumulation of a variety of lipid-derived pigments called lipofuscins, so-called “wear-and-tear” pigments. I found a report that claimed that Kinetin-treated old cells appeared to be similar under the microscope to young cells.

I am personally less convinced by the addition in Skin Radiance deer antler velvet. Although I did once turn up a 1997 study that established that elk antler velvet contains amino acids. But the epidermal growth factor (EGF), sodium hyaluronate, and various oils including avocado and olive, there is a lot to love. And there’s nothing to dislike (even the preservative is radish root) except the smell – I find it’s zestiness a little too strong. But that is really a very minor quibble with what is an excellent product.

Avitalin also won over Truth In Aging reader, Michelle, who tested and recommended Avitalin’s Biocell Vitality Complex, and I am now dying to get to know their signature ingredient. A core feature of several Avitalin products (but not Skin Radiance, so I cannot vouch for it) is a concoction that it calls BioMiracle Age Defense Complex. This is algae, Siberian mushroom, raisin, and colostrum (which is a form of milk that is formed in late pregnancy). Its in the Youth Essentials cream. Hmm, I feel a new product lust coming on.

Ingredients: Aloe juice, coconut oil, olive oil, vegetable glycerin, emulsifying wax, phospholipids, jojoba oil, 6-furfurylaminopurine (kinetin), deer velvet extract, EGF, sodium hyaluronate, witch hazel, avocado oil, vitamin E, xanthan gum, black willowbark extract, radish root, ferment filtrate, rosemary, oleserin, fragrance (essential oils)