What do Dermacai, Lift SP, Dermapril, Dermitage and Ookisa have in common? Answer: they all have phony free trials. Dermacai differentiates itself with a few little marketing quirks, but before I go into these and its terms of business, what of the latest anti-aging, 'better than Botox', miracle cream itself?

Well, not surprisingly, the full ingredients are not listed anywhere on the company's website. However, we are told that Dermacai has been invented by a board-certified dermatologist called Dr Kenneth Mark. It must be said that at least Dr M exists, which is more than can be said for many of these doctor-fronted marketing scams. And he's a dermatologist, as opposed to (in the case of one company I once looked into) a de-listed GP. Anyhow, all we really know about Dermacai is there are three actives: acai extract, Matrixyl 3000 and argan oil.

Amusingly, the Dermacai marketing people have decided to appeal to our inner skeptics. There are articles posted on the web saying that even if you are too convinced by acai, a South American 'superfruit', Dermacai does contain two proven skin anti-agers, M3000 and argan extract. Actually, acai's pedigree isn't all that shabby. Recent research in the US backs up an earlier Brazilian study concluding that it is an antoxidant. However, overall the body of research is sparse - fewer than 15 studies since 2004, compared to over 400 on grapes - and contradictory.

They are indeed on firm ground with Matrixyl 3000. The research has all been conducted by the manufacturer, but the anecdotal evidence (including my own experience with good Matrixyl creams) is powerful. Dermacai claims that there is masses of research demonstrating the anti-wrinkle prowess of argan, an oil extracted from a Moroccan tree. This just isn't true. There's loads of research on argan as a food (there have been clinical trials demonstrating that the high proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E lowers cholesterol), but none on cosmetic use. Still, I have used products with argan oil and they seem fairly helpful.

Before you send off for some 'free' samples, do read the small print. For your convenience here it is:

You will have a full 14 day free trial period from your original order date to decide if DermAcai is right for you. Your Trial order includes one bottle of DermAcai with 60 capsules (a 30 day supply). If you are enjoying DermAcai, then do nothing and at the end of your 14-day trial period, you will be charged $84.64 for the trial bottle you received. Please remember most customers see significant/noticeable results after using DermAcai consistently for 3 months.

If you find DermAcai is not right for you, simply call us at 1-866-964-2022 before the 14th day and complete the form. You will be issued a Return Merchandise Authorization Number (RMA#) so you may return the unused portion of the product to us. By returning the product to us, you will not be charged any additional fees and your future shipments will be cancelled. NO RETURNS WILL BE ACCEPTED WITHOUT A RMA NUMBER.

Approximately 30 days from your original order date and every 30 days thereafter you will be sent a monthly supply of DermAcai (which includes one large bottle of DermAcai) and your credit card on file will be billed $84.64 plus $4.99 shipping and handling. That way you insure you will conveniently have it shipped directly to your front door every month and never run out. Why is it important to continue using DermAcai each month?

Despite all of this, I am developing a bit of a soft spot for Dr M. I particularly like that he's willing to fess up to things.Like this:

The individuals shownproviding testimonials are paid models and not actualconsumers of the product, and each endorser’s experience and the substance of their testimonials are not typical and have limited applicability to what consumers may generally expect to achieve by using the product.

And you thought they were real....shame.