As I have mentioned before, I have a bit of a soft spot for Dr Perricone. He is so relentlessly cynical about the publics' ability to fall for his crackpot ideas. His latest is a brand new cream called Stimulcell.

It has all the hallmarks of Perricone marketing. Not least of which is that it is bound to get a huge amount of publicity because of its controversial associations with stem cell technology. Stimulcell also jumps on a bandwagon recently created by a so-called underground celebrity cream, Amatokin.

Launched only a few months ago, Amatokin is a new anti-aging cream that is already encircled in myth. My favorite is that it was invented in Russia by scientists working in a laboratory surrounded by barbed wire.

Amatokin doesn't contain stem cells but is based on a peptide (Polypeptide 153 to be precise) that is supposed to increase stem cell production in skin cells. A peptide is really just a protein molecule but there is a lot scientific-sounding stuff about Polypeptide 153 being able to stimulate the expression of stem cell markers in the skin.

Amatokin's barbed wire surrounded scientists supposedly developed Polypeptide 153 to help burn victims. That's another nice bit of mythologizing that is guaranteed get Amatokin noticed. However, behind the heady combination of cold war science, stem cell controversy and 'underground celebrity cult status', Amatokin's antecedents are rather more mundane.


Although ostensibly manufactured by Voss Laboratories, Amatokin is made by Basic Research - those wonderful people who brought us Strivectin. Heralded as a better than Botox miracle cream, Strivectin had its own myth: it was originally a stretch mark cream that was accidentally discovered to have wrinkle curing properties during market research. At least one can say that with Amatokin the marketing team at Basic Research is getting more inventive.

Dr Perricone is in good company.