Dr Nicholas Perricone's latest potion is called Cold Plasma ($150) and has emerged from the lab after years of research. It is supposed to treat a depressingly long list of aging skin traits (10 in all), including wrinkles, elasticity and dryness.

Dr Perricone's secret sauce is phosphatidylcholine. This is a kind of phospholipid, which is in turn is a lipid. Lipids are a broad group of naturally-occurring molecules which includes fats, waxes, sterols, fat-soluble vitamins (such as vitamins A, D, E and K), monoglycerides, diglycerides, and, of course, phospholipids. The main biological functions of lipids include energy storage, as structural components of cell membranes, and as important signaling molecules.

Amongst phospholipids,phosphatidylcholine unique because of its shape. It has a choline 'head' (choline is in cell-signaling molecules) and a chain of fatty acids making up the 'tail'. Phosphatidylcholine for cosmetic use is created by isolating distinct components from egg yolks and natural soy beans.

Ever versatile, phosphatidylcholine is used in cellulite treatments, such as Lipolight and Lipodissolve, as it breaks down fat cells, injected to treat excess fat around the eyes (bulging eyes?) and to treat acne. It also helps other ingredients penetrate the skin and so should be used with caution when an ingredient in formulas that contain other questionable or toxic ingredients. In this case, that would be the preservative phenoxyethanol, which is an irritant and can attack the central nervous system.

However, there is not much evidence of what phosphatidylcholine does when applied topically. Furthermore, it seems to be difficult to include in potions because of stability and interaction with other emulsifiers. I did find one academic book that mentioned that it has good skin hydrating capabilities, but does not penetrate deep into the epidermis.

As you would expect from the salmon-loving Dr Perricone, Cold Plasma also contains docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the fatty acid found in cold water fish. This is one of the main components of plasma  and harassed new mothers everywhere should note that, according to a study, the more there is in the plasma, the more likely the newborn baby is to sleep well. Other signature ingredients include DMAE and astaxanthin. Oligopeptide-17 is a neuropeptide that, like Argireline, inhibits the muscle movements that cause expression wrinkles.

I'm not yet completely sold on phosphatidylcholine, but the rest of the cocktail of quality antiagers, including Matrixyl 3000 make this worth checking out.

Ingredients in Cold Plasma

Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Phosphatidylcholine, Isopropyl Palmitate, L-Tyrosine, Butylene Glycol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Oligopeptide-17, Ceteareth-20, Magnesium Aspartate, Zinc Gluconate, Dimethyl MEA (DMAE), Docosahexaenoic Acid, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Phenoxyethanol, Dimethicone, Caprylyl Glycol, Glycolic Acid, Retinyl Palmitate, Saccaromyces Ferment, Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Oil, Carbomer, Disodium EDTA, Tocotrienols, Copper Gluconate, Polysorbate 20, Sorbic Acid, Tocopherol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Astaxanthin, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3