[caption id="" align="alignright" width="173" caption="Would you willingly pay for this to be splattered on your face?"]would you willingly pay for this to be splattered on your face?[/caption]

I recently came across an antioxidant that I've never heard of - but now that I have, I will surely never forget it: It's called spermine. And, yup, you've guessed it - it's normally found in seminal fluid.

Talk about adding a whole 'nother level to those frat-house quips of "Vitamin J facials." (If you don't get it. GOOD. Don't ask.)

Apparently spermine has made its way into skin care formulations; specifically, it's the keynote ingredient for the Norwegian skin care line Skin Science.

According to their website, spermine is "the only antioxidant that is capable of penetrating the horny layer of the skin (i.e. stratum corneum)" ... and once there is "20-30 times stronger than vitamin E and offers numerous benefits including delayed cell ageing and UV protection."

Hmmmm, well I guess sperm has been known for its superior penetrating capabilities...

Among its (purported) benefits:

» The skin's natural antioxidant
» Delays aging of cells
» Protects the skin against UV-induced damage
» Capable of penetrating the epidermis, unlike other antioxidants
» Cells are equipped with a natural absorption of Spermine
» Protects the skin's own moisturizer (hyaluronic acid) against oxidative decomposition
» Works preventatively against aging pigments in the skin
» Renders free radicals harmless
» Activated by UV radiation
» Repairs and soothes sun burnt skin
» Stimulates the production of collagen in dermis
» Protects the skin's other antioxidants against oxidative decomposition
» One of the most stabble antioxidants


Before I label this officially under Department of Daft I'm going to give Skin Science the opportunity of enlightening me with some hard science. A quick Google search has pulled up some anecdotal evidence, along with numerous technical papers that will take some time to verify.

What I have found is one study from 1995, Spermine may be an important epidermal antioxidant, which reads: "Polyamines such as spermine, an epidermal antioxidant, may also be protective against UV-irradiation-induced oxidative stress. It is hypothesized that it acts as a metal chelator."

Huh. I do remember hearing about some old home remedies about massaging semen into your scalp to promote hair growth. But until then, I don't think I'll experiment with this ingredient in my next DIY skin care formula.