I have stumbled upon the Dermaxime website once or twice in the past and although it looks as if it was designed by someone who thought they were making a poster for the church fete I have found myself impressed by the information (especially on ingredients) provided. At last a cosmetic company that treats its customers as curious adults rather than gullible and desperate ingénues. Dermaxime is a South African brand, and now that I am here in Cape Town I thought to myself: well, when in Rome...

I decided to get to know Dermaxime's Rejuvenating Neck Cream better. One of the main attractions for me was that a key ingredient is caesalpinia spinosa. This is a tree, commonly known as tara, which is packed full of tannins. The seeds are full of polysaccharides called galactomannans that are impressive retainers of moisture.

Then there are cranberries, a source of vitamin C that really come into their own as an antioxidant due to the high presence of polyphenols. A University of Maine study compared cranberries to 22 other fruits and found that they had the highest number of phenols, leaving red grapes standing. And in a University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth study of 20 different fruit juices, cranberry juice had the highest total phenol content and "the highest radical scavenging capacity among the different fruits studied".

Dermaxime has also included a relatively new peptide, hexapeptide-10. A hexapeptide is a chain of six amino acids that stimulate cell activity by interacting with specific molecules. The result is that collagen is rebuilt and fine lines are supposed to be reduced along with pore size. In fact, it is supposed to go beyond mere collagen stimulation and actually increases the number of cells (without making them think there has been a trauma - unlike retinol).

I've always been of the belief that South Africans would be good at skin care on the grounds they have the stimulus of a relatively rich white population trying to undo sun damage. This theory of mine seems borne out by Dermaxime, whose cutting edge ingredients also includes aldenine. This is a combo of wheat and soy proteins with tripeptide-1, resulting (supposedly) in a 100% boost in collagen production within seven days.

Also noteworthy is helichrysum italicum. Known as curry plant, it produces an oil from its blossoms which is used for medicinal purposes. It is anti-inflammatory, fungicidal, and astringent. It soothes burns and raw chapped skin. Meanwhile, alchamilla vulgaris, or lady's mantle, is an Icelandic plant that Dermaxime claims will prevent sagging skin due to the flavenoids and tannins. Unfortunately, there is very little clinical research on lady's mantle.

(Note: Americans can buy it online for $109).

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Ingredients in Rejuvenating Neck Cream

Aqua, Caesalpinia spinosa oligosaccharides / Caesalpinia spinosa gum / Glycerin, Propylene glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane / C30-45 Alkyl cetearyl dimethicone crosspolymer, Vaccinium macrocarpon (Cranberry) seed oil, Oenothera biennis (Evening primrose) oil, PEG-40 Hydrogenated castor oil, Tocopheryl acetate, Hexapeptide-10, Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) seed oil, Helichrysum italicum extract, Hydrolyzed wheat protein / Hydrolyzed soy protein / Xanthan gum / Tripeptide-1, Alchemilla vulgaris extract, Centella asiatica extract, Aesculus hippocastanum (Horse chestnut) seed extract, Camellia sinensis leaf extract, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, Phenoxyethanol / Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Sodium hyaluronate