The Icelantic antiaging line Dr Bragi recently arrived in the US via Bliss World. Three things immediately struck me about Age Management Marine Enzyme, an antiaging serum. First the price: $240 for 1.6fl oz. Secondly, the list of ingredients that was both simple and mysterious. Thirdly, marine life.

On the last point, I can't be the only person who has noticed that marine extracts seem to be the new black. Not long ago, it was Argireline. Then Matrixyl, now its anything - seaweed, algae, fish collagen, cold water enzymes - that can be associated with life on the ocean wave. Even sea water. Perhaps it's because most fish are close to extinction and full of mercury that the fishing industry is obliged to come up with some other harvest. Anyhow, Dr Bragi's offering from the oceanic depths is something called penzyme. That's the mysterious part. And since there is precious little else in Age Management, I was obliged to get a sample and put it to the test.

Before I tell you about my experience with Dr Bragi's potion, let me tell you about penzyme. It took a bit of digging around on some Icelandic blogs to discover that penzyme or penzim comes from cod guts. The enzyme apparently lives happily in cod intestine breaking down proteins. It seems to have some sort of actibacterial role as well. In fact, Icelanders have been buying penzim over the counter for years to treat skin conditions such as psoriasis.

All this fish enzyme extraction is done by a small Icelandic company called Zymetech. And guess who's listed as a member of the management team? Yes, our very own Dr Jon Bragi. Zymetech says that its enzymes are "useful for treating pain, inflammation, acute or chronic inflammation, arthritis, inflamed joints, bursitis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, septic arthritis, fibromyalgia, systemic lupus erythematosus, phlebitis, eczema, rash, psoriasis, acne, wounds and candidiasis". There's not much in the way of research to back this up and there's no mention of wrinkles. Still you can't blame Dr B for trying to get into the profitable antiaging market.

Now to my four week trial. The package says that one pump of Age Management Marine Extract is enough for the entire face. And this is absolutely right. Use anymore and you will feel like human fly paper - this is one thick, tacky, sticky gel. Despite this, I didn't hate using this serum. I just didn't love it. Nothing untoward happened, but nothing positive either. I was promised a radiant glow and after four weeks, I'd say my skin actually looks duller - certainly compared to the side of my face where I have - happily - been trying out a combo of Medik8 Firewall and YBF's new Boost.

Dr B makes much of his refusal to use fragrance, preservatives or petrochemicals. Strange then that he should be OK with hydrochloric acid, which is pretty harsh to say the least and could be carcinogenic. And I'm not sure what sodium hydroxide is doing there if not as a preservative.



Glycerin, aqua, sorbitol, urea, penzyme, alcohol, carbomer, sodium hydroxide, tromethamine, chitosan, hydrochloric acid.