These days, more than ever, if I'm going to invest $100 in a face cream, I want to be sure that it will deliver a bang for the bucks. So I browsed the ingredients list of Hydropeptide Cellular Transformation Growth Serum ($119) in detail before reaching for my credit card. What had initially caught my eye is that Hydropeptide Serum contains several growth factors.

I was first introduced to growth factors by A&G Skin Solutions and then by a serum that I have found to be very effective called Reluma. They are essential to formation of new skin. As part of the first response to injury, for example, platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) are released and ensure that cells get their act into gear. They can also prevent cancer cells from developing. Definitely worth my hard-earned cash.

Hydropeptide Serum has three growth factors: Recombinant Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF), Recombinant Transforming Growth Factor-â1 (TFG- â1), Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF). Although ReLuma has nine different growth factors, Azure's serum was beginning to look pretty good especially as there is also palmitoyl tripeptide-3, dubbed synthetic collagen (you'll also see it go by the name of Syn-Coll) because it mimics the skin's ability to produce collagen.

I was heartened by the liberal use of antioxidant green tea and hydrolized oats, as well as a strong, stable and non-irritant form of vitamin C.

Of borderline interest are DMEA, which is supposed to counteract sagging skin but with scant evidence to prove it, and zinc gluconate, a natural detoxifier that has been tried as an acne cure with mixed results.

Unfortunately what could be a very good product is marred by an overly generous handful of ingredients that I would prefer not to be paying good money for. Sodium polystyrene sulfonate is a film former that is used to superficially mask the appearance of wrinkles. There are three silicones and there are additional potential irritants in the form of triethanolamine, phenoxyethanol and every paraben known to man. My flexible friend stayed in my purse.

Ingredients in Hydropeptide Serum

Water, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Panthenol, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Magnesium Aspartate, Zinc Gluconate, Copper Gluconate, Hydrolyzed Oats, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydrolyzed Hibiscus Esculentus Extract, Dextrin, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Dipeptide Diaminobutyrooyl Benzylamide Diaceate, Acetyl Glutamyl Heptapeptide-3, Dimethyl MEA, Acetyl Tyrosine, Dipropylene Glycol, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-3, Palmitoyl Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Recombinant Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF), Recombinant Transforming Growth Factor-â1 (TFG- â1), Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF), Butylene Glycol, Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate, Glycerin, Glycereth-26, Menthyl Lactate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Squalane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Polysorbate 60, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Thiotic Acid, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylates Crosspolymer, Xanthan Gum, Triethanolamine, Tetrasodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben