This morning, I embarked on my trial of Neocutis Bio-Cream ($57) with less than enthusiasm. There is something about it - the cosmeceutical style branding, the supposed links to a Swiss University, the human growth cells? - that just doesn't smell right somehow. I should say right off the bat that the range comes highly recommended by Dr Melanie Bone, who never touches anything else, and Copely liked the tinted day cream. So I must really give it a fair hearing (or wearing).

The thing is, if this cream were a handbag it would be more Canal Street than Fifth Avenue. There are an awful lot of mass produced, run-of-the-mill, filler uppers. And a smattering of designer skinwear. Enough for it to be a convincing knock-off - but, a knock-off nevertheless. It has to be said that the designer part is pretty impressive. There is borage seed, which comes with a clinical track record for making skin smoother and younger looking, vitamin E-rich wheat germ, cell regulating glycosphingolipids and, of course, Neocutis' signature processed skin proteins (PSP).

I personally don't have a problem with the PSP part. Neocutis claims that its formulation of human growth factors is comprised of the most complete blend available of cytokines (signaling molecules) and interleukins (cytokines secreted by white blood cells). Cytokines, a unique family of growth factors primary secreted from leukocytes, stimulate immune response and can activate cell proliferation.

But let's not beat about the bush, we are talking fetal cells here, in contrast with SkinMedica TNS’s bioengineered human skin. This fetal skin, which was donated in a one-off medical termination, is drawn from a cell bank dedicated to developing new skin treatments. Neocutis maintains that this cell bank will provide a lasting supply of cells for producing PSP and that no additional fetal biopsies will be needed. Clinical results show that topically applied human growth factors can promote dermal fibroblast and keratinocyte proliferation, as well as induce extracellular matrix formation (ie. collagen). But how effective are these factors when applied topically, and at what concentrations?

PSP is disappointingly near the end of a mostly uninteresting ingredients list. The only thing to do with Neocutis Bio-Cream is try it out and see if it is the genuine article. Given that there are 10 preservatives in it, I can take my sweet time.


Water, octydocecanol, glyceryl stearate, decyl oleate, glycerin, propylene glycol, wheat germ oil, stearic acid, cetyl alcohol, ceteareth-20, myreth-3 myristate, ceteareth-12, cetearyl alcohol, cetyl palmitate, tocopheyl acetate, dimethicone, borage seed oil, carbomer, triethanolomine, methylparaben, propylparaben, processed skin proteins (PSP), glycosphingolipids, phenoxyethanol, disodium EDTA, BHT, ethylparaben, butylparaben, methylisothiazolinone, methychloroisothiazolinone.