I’ve always taken a preventative approach to skincare, and antioxidants play a key role when it comes to anti-aging. I’ve noted that many (though not nearly enough) people have started to incorporate a sunscreen into their daily a.m. regimen, and while that’s a start, sunscreen is only a part of the prevention equation. Aging is inevitable, but I have seen too much premature aging. Why look older than you should when you don’t need to go under the knife to look younger longer? And even if you have subjected yourself to a scalpel, there are certain potions available to maintain the results for, well… an unspecified period of time. If I told you that you could access cutting-edge skincare containing the latest, science-backed ingredients – at reasonable prices – wouldn’t that be cause for lines the length of which could rival the purchase of the latest iPhone? Welcome to the world of M.A.D Skincare (see Marta’s video introduction to the line).

M.A.D Skincare Wrinkle Repellent Environmental Protection Serum ($60) is teeming with cutting-edge active antioxidants. Per a 2011 article in Happi (a publication that tracks the personal care products industry), “A Dynamic Approach: Active ingredients can help skin care products deliver what they promise,” it was noted that active ingredients can deliver real benefits not usually possible with other cosmetic forms. The benefits of active ingredients are biologically proven, increasing chances of a better clinical outcome. Moreover, products with detoxifying agents improve skin protection during the day by fighting free-radical damage, which is key to the progression of active ingredients. Lastly, consumers are increasingly demanding natural active compounds.

Let it be known that I’m not easily impressed by most antioxidant products. Too many (unsuccessfully) claim to be the best, purportedly better than the well-researched vitamin C. One such well-known brand went the way of the dinosaur until the trademark was purchased last month, supposedly making the product line available again. However, M.A.D follows its own path and never claims to be better than other antioxidant products. Further, I admit I wasn’t initially impressed by the active ingredients (in my defense, I hadn’t heard of them); however, a bit of research piqued my interest, which morphed into a product obsession.

Wrinkle Repellent serum contains Oxygeskin, or tropaeolum majus flower extract (a new active featured in the 2011 Happi article), rich in arabinogalactans from nasturtium. Arabinogalactans are essentially monosaccharides that enable cells to respond to hypoxic stress and aid in intracellular diffusion. This promotes natural skin oxygenation, contributing to an improved complexion. Note that this is a very different mechanism from an oxygen facial, which is not good for your skin.

Celldetox is a purified form of hydrolyzed candida saitoana extract derived from a fungi that encourages cell autophagy (the skin’s natural detoxification process). Studies have shown that topical application reduces free-radical damage. In fact, a study on the post-harvest decay of apples with candida saitoana extract show the potential of the ingredient of inducing defense responses and indirectly suggest that anti-fungal hydrolases are involved to deter the onset of decay on the apples.

An interesting ingredient is Lavandox, derived from the Spanish lavender flower (Lavandula stoechas). The ingredient functions as an antioxidant and also helps reduce the appearance of fine lines. In vivo testing shows wrinkle reduction in 24 hours. The active is preferably formulated with caprylic/capric triglyceride, tocopheryl acetate, aloe barbadensis leaf juice as well as the last active bisabolol. However, M.A.D does not just use any form of bisabolol; alpha bisbolol a derivative of M. chamomilla (German Chamomile), is used. It is a naturally occurring active ingredient that accelerates the healing process of skin and protects the skin from the effects of daily stress. Bisabolol is also known to have anti-irritant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.

I have been layering this lightweight serum over Skinceuticals CE Ferulic or Lather’s Vitamin C Peptide Serum ($58 in the shop) daily for extra protection under sunscreen. Finally, I am once again floored by the reasonable price of this product, considering the innovative ingredients in the formulation. M.A.D Skincare products truly are at the forefront of skin science. Per M.A.D Skincare’s claims, this lightweight serum will hydrate, moisturize and reduce the effects of environmental stress on skin cells making your skin look young and stay looking young for as long as possible. It’s true that preventative skincare takes years to prove. Nevertheless, based on the science backing the active ingredients, I’ll take that leap of faith. Call me crazy – or a bit M.A.D.

Ingredients: Water, Propanediol, Alcohol, Caprylic/ Capric Triglyceride, Panthenol, PEG-8 Dimethicone, Lavandula stoechas Extract, Palmitoyl hexapeptide-26, Tropaeolum majus Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Hydrolyzed Candida saitoana Extract, Lactobacillus/Arundinaria gigantea Ferment Extract, Porphyra umbilicalis Extract, Camellia sinensis Extract, Vaccinium macrocarpon (Cranberry) Fruit Extract, Pyrus malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Phellodendron amurense Bark Extract, Eclipta prostrata Extract, Melia azadirachta Leaf Extract, Moringa pterygosperma Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Polysorbate 20, Tocopheryl Acetate, Bisabolol, Sodium Lactate, Lecithin, Hydroxy- ethylcellulose, Sodium Polyacrylate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Triethanolamine, Disodium EDTA , Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Fragrance