The makers of Relastin Ultra Emollient Zinc Firming Complex ($99 for 1.7oz) take a view that I have some sympathy with: creams that contain collagen and elastin don't work because, even assuming that they actually penetrate, they are non-functional and will never become part of your skin's framework. "Rubbing elastin fibers onto your skin in hopes of making skin more elastic is like trying to make your fall jacket thicker by throwing goose down at it. It just doesn't work."

What does work, we are told, is zinc. What's more, the claim is backed by clinical trials and the website features lots of beaming dermatologists endorsing Relastin as a breakthrough.

In February 2007, a group of dermatologists convened in Florida to review the results of two studies on zinc and elastin (one trial was on mice and the other on 26 women between the ages of 37 and 60). Unfortunately, the derms didn't seem terribly convinced and concluded that "The data to support the initial research hypothesis regarding elastin increases appear to be lacking". In a paper summarizing the discussion it was documented that "panel members also noted that a more convincing mechanistic explanation for how the zinc formulation increases elastin production was needed."

Funnily enough, the author of the paper was Victor Narurkar MD. He, along with two other members of the Florida review panel, are amongst the beaming dermatologists on the Relastin web site. I wonder what changed their minds.

Still, if you buy a jar of Relastin, you won't be putting all your eggs in the zinc basket. There are antioxidants in the form of matrixyl 3000 (made by combing two peptides: palmitoyl oligopeptide and palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7), grape seed oil, green tea and oxido reductases (a free radical zapping enzyme), plus a stable form of vitamin C and phytonadione (vitamin K1).

And if you do fork out the $99, beware of a couple of potentially harmful preservatives, phenoxyethanol and chlorphenesin.

Ingredients in Relastin Ultra Emollient

Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glyceryl Stearate, Caprylic/Capric/Stearic Triglyceride, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Sorbitol, Glycerin, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Dimethicone,PEG-100 Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Caffeine, Allantoin, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Polyacrylamide, Silica, Butylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Xanthan Gum, Epilobium Angustifolium (Willow Herb) Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Chlorphenesin, Tocopherol, Retinyl Palmitate, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Oxido Reductases, Phytonadione, Carbomer, Laureth-7, Polysorbate 20, Zinc Firming Complex, Benzoic Acid, Sorbic Acid, Mica, Titanium Dioxide

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