I predicted that 2008 would be the year of cosmetic stem cell creams. Never mind that most of them (eg Dr Perricone's Stimulcell) don't have anything to do with stem cells, they are somehow meant to stimulate them. It all makes for a good PR story (faux genomics, one marketing company calls it). None better than Dior's. Listen to this, the active ingredient in Dior Capture R60/80 Ultimate Wrinkle Restoring Creme is, according to Sephora: "Adult Stem Cells: Able to create different types of differentiated cells and regenerate an organ and make possible the repair of all kinds of tissues."

What! There are adult stem cells in Capture? Well, the rest of the marketing blurb doesn't make it clearer. Scientists have been laboring for years at the Dior Innovation Center and have been "inspired" by the latest dermalogical breakthroughs (note: they haven't actually made any) and "derived" from stem cell research. And then my personal favorite:

"The procedure targets each wrinkle with a cocktail of potent ingredients delivered by an ultra-sophisticated bio-vector called stemsome".

I want to meet the person in the marketing department that wrote this and shake them by the hand. High fives are reserved for the Dior lab rat that invented the two patented ingredients in Capture: TP-Vityl and Bionectine. What can these be?

Now it may come as no surprise that the detailed ingredients list on a jar of Capture R60/80 Ultimate Wrinkle Restoring Creme makes no mention of stem cells, TP-Vityl of Bionectine. Not being of a cynical nature myself, I read the list three times to make sure I hadn't overlooked anything. And there was something a little surprising after all: phosphatidycholine.

Phosphatidycholine is rather interesting. Some dermatologists are experimenting with it as an alternative to liposuction since it is believed that phosphatidycholine can target and dissolve fat cells. I mentioned it in a post on mesotherapy.

It isn't going to be easy to try to explain what phosphatidycholine is without resorting to some long words. Anyway, I shall try to keep this as simple as I can. Phosphatidycholine is the predominant phospholipid (something that is in all life forms) of all cell membranes and of the circulating blood lipoproteins. It is made up of glycerol and fatty acids. Some people take it as an oral supplement because they believe that it improves mental faculties. Plus it is an important nutrient for the liver.

Phosphatidycholine contains choline (and this is the interesting part), therefore, it is a precursor to messenger molecules that go from cell to cell. And it can improve and protect cells and membrane damaged by free radicals. This must be what Dior means by the cell and wrinkle targeting abilities of Capture.

Goodness knows whether this topical formulation can do all of that. But given that there is precious little else in Capture R60/80, let's hope that it does.