The one thing that can be said about Je Vis (which is French for 'I Live') is that it lives up to its name. There are so many preservatives in this thing that it will be hanging around, fresh as a daisy, long after I am pushing them up.

Odile Lecoin, who happens to be a Parisian physical therapist by trade, has made a cream which almost leaves me speechless. This is rare, believe me. First of all, I was struck by the number of parabens and other preservatives, including phenoxyethanol near the top of the list. Then there are perfumes (known to be contact allergans), silicones and various thickeners. There are so many, that there is barely room left for anything else.

If you squint at the ingredients list for long enough, you'll find a few moisturizing ingredients: glycerin, squalane and sodium hyaluronate. So far, so underwhelming. Just when I was beginning to think that this wasn't a cream but a hoax in a jar, my eyes alighted on carboxymethyl chitin. Now, chitin is a natural polymer and you'll find it in beetle shells or spider's webs. In medical experiments, chitin has been shown to accelerate the healing of wounds.

That's all very well, but insect armour doesn't justify a price tag of $225. Doubtless, Madame Lecoin believes that the much touted Abyssine 657 does. This is alteromanas ferment extract, a synthetic version of a micro-organism found at the bottom of the sea. It is supposed to regulate collagen production, protect the skin from UV rays and be an anti-inflammatory. There is absolutely no research published anywhere to support these claims.

Ingredients in Odile Lecoin Je Vis

Water, isonyl isononoate, glycerin, cyclopentasiloxane, cyclotetrasiloxane, propylene glycol, phenoxyethanol, hydroxyethyl acrylate/sodium acrylodimethyl taurate copolymer, sorbitol, carbomer, dimethicone crosspolymer, squalane, carboxymethyl chitin, triclosan, butylene glycol, sodium hydroxide, methylparaben, pathenol, fragrance, tetrasodium EDTA, polysorbate 60, biosaccharide gum-1, butylparaben, ethylparaben, sorbitan, isostearate, isobutylparaben, propyparaben, alteromanas ferment extract, sodium hyaluronate, hexyl cinnamal, hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde, benzyl benzoate, butyphenyl methylpropional, citronellol, limonene.