Choosing the Five Best anti-wrinkle ingredients is not easy.  In the end, I have opted for some tried and true (spin trap and astaxanthin) and some that are cutting edge.  They all have be shown to be very potent. By that I mean, they have been heavily researched and compared with other ingredients. After much deliberation, I have left out two antiaging ingredients that I chose the last time I did this exercise (back in 2009): Matrixyl 3000 and ferulic acid. I do believe Matrixyl is a good product for boosting collagen production. However, it doesn’t come with a pedigree of independent research that an antioxidant does. Ferulic acid is really a botanical and I’ll cover it in an upcoming Five Best antiaging botanicals.

Spin trap (phenyl butyl nitrone)

I really like the idea of an intelligent molecule. Although it helps deal with damaging free radicals, it isn’t really like an antioxidant. Phenyl butyl nitrone, or spin traps, capture free radicals, stop them doing damage and actually put them back to their job of tissue respiration. Antioxidants, on the other hand, work by destroying free radicals. Having said that, spin traps do have some antioxidant activity. Scientists have used spin traps to prevent cancer and even hearing loss.  They can suppress the production of pro-inflammatories. What I like about spin trap and why I think it is still an outstanding antiaging ingredient is that it is all about prevention rather than cure. It is also said that they enhance the antioxidant activities of vitamin C and E.  I also like the smell of marzipan that they come with.

Products with spin trap: most things by Your Best Face; DS Laboratories’ Revita, Glotherapeutics GloPeptide.

Teprenone (Renovage)

Teprenone, marketed as Renovage, is probably the ingredient of 2010. It works on something called telomeres.  Nobel prize winners put them on the map earlier this year and we now know that telomeres allow cells to distinguish chromosome ends from broken DNA. If DNA is broken there are two options after the cell cycle is stopped: Repair or death. If cells divided without telomeres, they would lose the end of their chromosomes, and the necessary information it contains. They are often described as being like the tips on the ends of shoelaces that stop them unraveling. Renovage promises to stabilize them so that at least they won’t shorten. Maintaining telomere length extends, we are told, the Hayflick Limit by one third. There’s no independent research on Renovage, but it is made by the company that brought us Matrixyl, and you can’t deny that its cutting edge. Also, look out for astragalus, which works on teleomeres in a slightly different way.

Products with teprenone: Jan Marini Regeneration Booster, Your Best Face Boost ($65 in the TIA shop),  Osmotics Renovage Eye Cream ($78 in the TIA shop), Five Best with teprenone


Copley switched us all on to astaxanthin. When tested against common antioxidants, astaxanthin has demonstrated exceptional performance in combating singlet oxygen, one of the strongest ROS, which directly damages biological lipids, proteins, and DNA. A clinical research study by Dr. Debasis Bagchi at Creighton University demonstrated that astaxanthin can eliminate free radicals 6,000 times more effectively than vitamin C, 800 times more than CoQ10, 550 times more than vitamin E and green tea, 75 times more than Alpha Lipoic Acid, and 20 times more than beta-carotene.

Products with Astaxanthin: most things by Perricone MD, Skin Nutrition’s Moisturizer ($70 in the TIA shop),


I first came across Lipchroman-6 in the updated formula of Your Best Face Correct Eye Cream. The thing about free radicals is that there are different types and subsets thereof. Lipochroman-6 that is an able scavenger of two of them: RNS and ROS.  By inhibiting ROS, it helps our bodies protect themselves from UVA damage. According to Lipotec, who makes lipochronan-6, it does a significantly better job of fending off oxidative stress than resveratrol, the antioxidant component of grapes. In cellular level studies, Lipochroman-6 performed 173% better than resveratrol, vitamin E and ferulic Acid at increasing cell viability.

Products that contain Lipochroman-6: Your Best Face Define ($70 in the TIA shop), Concentrate ($40 in the TIA shop) and Correct ($150 in the TIA shop).

Human growth factors

Human growth factors (HGFs) are well studied by scientists and used in advanced medical procedures for angiogenesis and wound healing.  They are cropping up more and more in high end anti-wrinkle creams. However, the problem is that there are many different growth factors and it isn’t always clear as to what you are getting. However, there are some companies – eg E’shee – that have honed in on a particular HGF, called FGF1. There are 22 of FGFs in all and for some reason FGF1 is known as “acidic fibroblast growth factor”. FGFs are multifunctional proteins with a wide variety of effects; they are most commonly mitogens, meaning that they encourage cell division. They also seem to be incredibly complex and are involved in other activities such as cell regulation. A different approach is taken by ReLuma, which uses nine different human cytokines on the grounds that they all do something different as well as work together synergistically.

Products that use HGFs: ReLuma, E’shee  Cellular Repair Serum ($179 in the TIA shop), Neocutis Journee, SkinMedica TNS