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Five Best anti-aging serums of 2012

July 25, 2012 Reviewed by Marta 18 Comments

It only comes once a year: the best of the best, the anti-agers that work. And here they are - the Five Best anti-aging serums of 2012. Three new ones have been added since last year’s round up (it’s always exciting for me to realize that we are always discovering new and better). These aren’t the cheapest, but they are the most effective and when you consider the formulas are almost entirely comprised of active ingredients (and the most cutting edge), the quality to price ratio is reasonable. It was a tough choice to narrow them down to five and an honorable mention should go to Hydropeptide Hydrostem+6. They all do something slightly different, so I’ve tried to encapsulate their primary functions. They aren’t the same as dousing yourself in the Fountain of Youth, but they are 2012’s Five Best serums:

E’shee Cellular Repair Serum ($179 for 0.34 oz in the TIA shop). Primary function: wrinkle and broken capillary repair. A Five Best for the third time (!), this serum stands the test of time. It is best for for rosacea, broken veins and deep wrinkles. Even very sensitive skins seem to tolerate E’shee. The key active is the cutting edge FGF 1 (a Recombinant Human Fibroblast Growth Factor). FGF1 is rather bossy and signals other growth factors to go off an do useful things such as make collagen, hyaluronic acid and elastin. It also supports angiogenesis, which is the growth of new blood vessels. The horse chestnut is also a repair for broken capillaries and the combination with FGF1 does make a visible difference to thread veins. The only other botanical is mulberry. This is typically used in skincare as a whitener. With sodium lactate and lactic acid providing exfoliation and sodium hyaluronate, this formulation covers most bases. This is an expensive potion for 10 ml or 0.34 fl oz, but it can last more than 3 months. The results are very impressive. My original review of E’shee and see a video showing that a little really goes a long way. Read the full review

AQ Skin Solutions Active Serum ($149 for 30ml in the TIA shop). Primary function: skin rejuvenation and wrinkles. For me, this quite simply works and I mean really works. And really what more is there to say. No ifs. No buts. AQ is an anti-aging serum that is repairing my wrinkles and improving the texture of the skin. I started seeing results within two weeks of using AQ and now that I am three-quarters through my bottle (after more than 3 months), there is no doubt that this serum has made a huge improvement to my skin. There is no doubt that I will buy a replacement bottle. AQ’s formula is simple: a couple of vitamins, lactic acid and glycerin with the dominant ingredient being the active human fibroblast conditioned media, of which AQ claims there is a concentration of 42%. Read the full review

ReLuma Skin Illuminating Anti-aging Serum ($145 for 20mL and $220 for 30mL in the TIA shop). Primary function: wrinkle repair. It takes a few weeks to see results, but when ReLuma kicks in, it visibly smooths out wrinkles. ReLuma’s formula is deceptively simple. In fact, it is based on human conditioned media and ReLuma has quite a complex combination of what are essentially proteins. As we age, the critical proteins for healthy skin start to decline. These proteins and growth factors can be isolated as PDGF, VEGF, FGF, IGF3 and TGF-B. Of these, TGF-B is thought to be the most important because its signals are recognized by the majority of cells. TGF-B expression is also induced during wound healing and studies show that it can increase collagen and fibronectin.  However, it is the combination of different growth factors that is supposed to give results. Read my full review.

Your Best Face Control ($160 in the TIA shop). Primary function: skin firming and restoring elasticity. While AQ is my go to day serum, I use Control at night. I believe they are very complimentary, but on their own both are extremely good. The newly reformulated Control is better than extremely good and I can’t imagine how I got on without it – my skin looks firm and refreshed and keeps my skin moisturized throughout the night (something that menopause was conspiring against). A key ingredient is Syn-Hycan and it does battle against sagging skin and double chins. Another (with a similar function) is Relistase. Plus there’s old favorites such as Matrixyl 3000 and the radical scavengers liprochroman-6 and spin trap. Read the full review

BioEffect EGF Serum ($110-210). Primary function: skin smoothing and wrinkle reduction. This serum made in Iceland is a favorite of Martha Stewart, so I’m in good company.  There are only nine ingredients in this serum and the key active is a growth factor derived from barley. Although I find it very wearable, it is a little “oily” and, judging from the reactions of some Truth In Aging testers, may not be suitable for those prone to breakouts. For those with dryer and more tolerant skin, the results can be extremely positive and cumulative over time. Read the full review.

Ingredients in E’shee: Aqua, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Distillate, Propylene Glycol, 1.3 Butylene Glycol, Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) Seed Extract, Glycerin, Morus Alba (Mulberry) Extract, Tinocare GL, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sodium Lactate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Triethanolamine, D-Panthenol, Lactic acid, Carbomer, Allantoin, Phenoxyethanol, FGF 1 (Recombinant Human acidic Fibroblast Growth Factor).

Ingredients in AQ: Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media, Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Polysorbate 20, Cellulose Gum, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lactic Acid, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Phenoxyethanol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol.

Ingredients in ReLuma: Human Adipose Derived Stem Cell Conditioned Media, Water, Glycerin, Sodium PCA, DL-Panthenol, Hydroxy Ethyl Cellulose, Allantoin, Phenoxyethanol.

Ingredients in YBF revised formula: reverse osmosis water, Relistase (glycerin, acetylarginyltryptophyl diphenylglycine, Syn-Hycan (tetradecyl Aminobutyroylvalylaminobutyric urea trifluoroacetate, magneisum chloride, glycerin), Syn-Tacks (glycerin, palmitoyl dipeptide-5 diaminobutyroyl hydroxythreonine, palmitoyl dipeptide-5 diaminohydroxybutyrate), Matrixyl 3000 (glycerin, butylene glycol, carbomer, polysorbate-20, palmitoyl oligopeptide, palmitoyl tripeptide-3), nylon-12, olivem, Renovage (triglyceride, teprenone), olive squalane, ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, ethoxydiglycol, dimethylisosorbide, meadowfoam seed oil, trans resveratrol, spin trap (phenyl butyl nitrone), vitamin e, c10-c30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, leucidal, lipochroman-6, sodium hyaluronate, coenzyme Q10, tetrahydrocurcuminoids, alpha lipoic acid (R-lipoic acid), triethanolamine

Ingredients in BioEffect: Glycerine, sodium hyaluronate, tromethamine, alcohol (less than 0.9%), calcium chloride, sodium chloride, hordeum vulgare seed, EGF (transgenic barley SH-oligopeptide-1)

  • April 7, 2014

    by Joy

    I agree with above comments about cost.

  • February 4, 2014

    by Marta

    Hi Peggy, all products reviewed are tested for at least 30 days. Five Bests are selected once a year based on my use during the 12 months and on feedback from other reviewers and users. If you click on the links to the full review you will find more details on how they were tested and whether other products were used (I rarely layer another product over a serum). Here are our Five Best for under $100

  • February 3, 2014

    by Peggy

    It doesn't surprise me these are all quite expensive - what I can't figure out
    Is if Marta uses all of them how can she tell what product is doing what
    How long it took each to react or if other product was used over them
    Ie moisturizers that could interact with the base serum. I guess I'm wondering
    What is the basis of study providing the results.
    Providing the best under 75.00 might be nice

  • August 7, 2013

    by judy

    To costly for me. I am disabled with M.S.I don't have that much left after bills and med's.

  • August 6, 2013

    by Sherry

    Hi Marta, if you had to choose one for deep wrinkles and crepy skin, which would you recommend first? I don't mind spending the money if it works but wonder which to try first and for the quickest results?

  • June 11, 2013

    by Muriel

    Your products sound great, but what if folks are not in an income bracket that would allow such expense? Do you know of less expensive products capable of doing something similar for our skin?

    Thanks in advance for your kind response.

  • January 14, 2013

    by Monica

    I will let you know about Collagenta. I just received it today and will use it everyday until its done. I'll post back if its a scam or if it actually works, but take note, I am using it with the deadsea beauty kit [despite the online scam reviews] - i'm going to give it the benefit of the doubt.

  • November 28, 2012

    by Marta

    Hi Edwina
    I think my main concern with Collagenta is that the so-called trial bottle will be charged to your credit card (over $130) and then you are on auto renewal. Be careful before signing up.

  • November 28, 2012

    by Edwina

    Would love to know your views on Collagenta?Is it worth the money or is it a very clever marketing scam?

  • August 13, 2012

    by Marta

    Hi Laurie, YBF Correct is certainly suitable for this 50+ woman! It deals with crepiness and lifts. AQ's eye serum is also very good.

  • August 13, 2012

    by Laurie

    Thanks Marta, that's very helpful. What about eye products? Is the YBF Correct suitable for 50+ women? I now use Perricone's alcyl-glutathione serum plus algengist eye balm. any chance of a product that both treats and moisturizes (for those with lines, crepe lids and who also like a lifting serum?) -- what do you recommend?

  • August 13, 2012

    by Marta

    Hi Laurie, it really depends what your greatest concern is. Now you mention that you get breakouts, so I would eliminate BioEffect, which is a little oily. You mention broken capillaries, so if that is your major concern then I would go for the E'shee. But, really, all of these will likely do a much better job than Perricone or Algenist.

  • August 13, 2012

    by Laurie

    Are these in any particular order, Marta? If you were to pick only one serum, which would it be? I'm 54. Have some slightly broken capillaries on cheeks and occasional break outs. Currently using Perricone and Algenist. Trying to find a home base of serums and treatments for face and eyes. Am tired of using too many products and spending entirely too much money!

  • August 10, 2012

    by Hanne Lystvet

    I live in Norway and here we have some great skin care lines made by Linda Johansen. Her Serum Gold + and the E'shee cellular repair has an identical ingredient list; plus gold leafs in LJ serum. When it comes to prize you get 30 ml for about 135$ on Great products, worth checking out! :)

  • July 26, 2012

    by Marta

    Hi Carolyn, you can spend on anything you like... enjoy!

  • July 26, 2012

    by Gloria

    I was a Reluma lover and still am. I have tried all of these products except the YBF Control and they are all awesome, but AQ stands above the rest as far as results I have seen on myself. I saw the most results on an area I had somewhat neglected, my neck and decolette. After using it for 2 weeks I saw that yes it is working just as they said it would. The dreadful rings on my neck seem to be less prominent and the wrinkles on my decolette are less as well. I have been using AQ for about a month and a little goes a long way. My face looks amazing and I am thinking of trying the eye product they have.

    Another important issue is no breakouts from this product. I sometimes have breakouts from the E'Shee. E'Shee is an awesome product too, and I saw good reduction in deep wrinkles. If I had to vote it would be for AQ. Now I must try Marta's cocktail of AQ and Control.

  • July 25, 2012

    by Carolyn

    Will I be eligible for the drawing for the utrasonic and hair vitality if I spend $150 on face, rather than hair products? I'm thinking of Marta's combo, AQ and YBF Control. I tried the ReLuma, and couldn't use it on my still fairly oily cheeks and nose. Thanks-

  • July 25, 2012

    by Kate Z

    Marta thanks for your timely article! I was just trying to decide if I should supplement AQ with another serum.

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