At the beginning of 2011, I said it would be a year for growth and commented that lots of interesting products were lined up for testing. Looking back, these seem like understatements. The Truth In Aging community has gone from strength to strength and 2011 has been a year of some extraordinary discoveries. There have been some standout antiaging ingredients (especially notable are stem cells), at home devices started to come into their own and, with a nod to what might well be a trend for 2012, beauty regimens are embracing a holistic approach that includes nutrition and exercise. Here’s my personal Five Best of 2011. Please share yours.

Sirius Aurora LED Light Therapy System ($149) LED light therapy is a beauty breakthrough – it is non-invasive and has visible effects (especially on sagging skin that is a challenge for most creams) that are both immediate and cumulative. There are a number of at-home devices, including the Baby Quasar – which I have owned for nearly four years. At the beginning of 2011, I started to try the Sirius Aurora with little enthusiasm – it looked a little flimsy and its different colored lights a bit gimmicky.  In March, I reviewed it and, surprisingly, it had won me over. Nearly a year later, my Baby Q is relegated to second place and the Sirius in all its modes has given me great service. It is one of the few things you can administer to yourself that helps with sagging and labial nasal lines (as well as hyperpigmentation and acne). For price (less than half the price of the Baby Q) and performance (it is one of the few things you can administer to yourself that helps with sagging and labial nasal lines, as well as hyperpigmentation and acne), it’s the best find of the year. See my video comparing the Sirius Aurora to the Baby Quasar and read Emily’s review of the Auora)

Bioeffect EGF Serum ($110 for 5ml and $210 for 15ml).  Stem cells are new and not without questions and controversy (its an issue that will continue to be researched and debated and I hope more breakthroughs in understanding will come in 2012. For the time being, I believe that topical application is safe and I have been very impressed by the results.  Bioeffect uses an epidermal growth factor (EGF) that comes from barley grown in Iceland, which is where this serum is made. I have been using this every day for the past three months or so and it seems to suit by skin perfectly. My skin is looking great right now and I give a lot of credit to Bioeffect for smoothness, clarity and firmness. Five Best stem cell serums and read the full review on Bioeffect.

The Bar Method (DVDs from $17 in the TIA shop). The Bar Method has been one of those life-changing things for me. I am 51 going on 52 and I have completely changed my body shape. And no, I didn’t have to go running on dark winter mornings followed by two hours in the gym. The Bar Method is efficient – just 20 minutes a day can make an enormous difference – and enjoyable.  Prepare to be challenged though. I still curse half way through Super Sculpting. I first got switched on to The Bar Method by the newly slim Kelly Osbourne (stranger things have happened). For true inspiration look no further than Burr Leonard, the 63-year old founder of The Bar Method. With her gamine hair cut, she looks 20 years younger. But her body could pass for a 20 year-old. And I give her my thanks - to change my body and keep it supple and strong as I add years to my life is a fantastic gift.

ReLuma Skin Illuminating Anti-aging Serum ($135 for 20ml and $199 for 30ml in the TIA shop). Unlike Bioeffect, ReLuma uses human stem cells. ReLuma takes a while to kick in - at least three weeks in my experience (although some TIA users have seen results more quickly). It is very good for fine lines and even deep wrinkles. ReLuma formulation is based on a blend of three stem cell technologies derived from adult humans and conditioned media. Like Bioeffect, this is one of those “best yet” products and I am intrigued to see how stem cells (plant and human derived) evolve as antiaging cosmetics.  See our Five Best stem cell serums or read the full review on ReLuma.

La Vie Celeste Restorative Exfoliating Gel Mask ($60 in the TIA shop). This (perhaps other than YBF Correct eye cream, a serial Five Best winner) is one of the products that I realize I recommend more than most. For anyone jaded, in need of a complexion revitalizer, with hyperpigmentation (and patience to use this daily), who loves natural products, who wants to keep their regimens relatively simple, but demands the effective, then this gycolic mask is just the thing. I’ve turned on skincare skeptics with this and even sensitive skins can use it. And who doesn’t love a good mask – and as one recent convert wrote me “it doesn’t scare my kids” – that’s because it is peachy and almost transparent. It certainly brightened up my 2011.