I have just come across another potion based on human fibroblast conditioned media. It is called ReLuma Skin Illuminating Anti-Aging Serum. At $135 for 0.5oz, it is a little cheaper than the one by A&G Skin Solutions that I tried out a few weeks ago, has slightly smarter packaging and is virtually odorless. In terms of performance, time will tell and I'll report back.

In the meantime, there are a couple of interesting details to note. The founders of A&G were, a year or so ago, associated with the makers of ReLuma, a company called Invitrx (according to a press release on the Invitrx website). A call to Invitrx established that they are no longer connected and there is no relationship between the two potion makers.

They both base their products on human fibroblast conditioned media that is supposed to provide skin cell growth proteins. This ingredient may not, at least conceptually, be to everyone's taste.The progenitor cells of the human fibroblast are taken from newborn baby foreskins. These are doubtless from babies whose parents volunteered to have them circumcised and no harm was done. Still, the very idea seems to make some people visibly wince.

The next part of the process is to get the growth proteins. Conditioned media is in fact the solution (sugars, amino acids and such) that is put in the petri dish in which the cells are grown. The cells secrete stuff or release it when they die - presumably the growth proteins -  into the medium and usually - in typical medical lab conditions - it is thrown away. If a good use has been found for this 'by-product' or waste, then so be it. However, not everyone is so sanguine. One cosmetic chemist told me: "The concentrations of these proteins is typically very low, will vary with the type of cells and conditions of the culture. I would be scared to sell that kind of stuff even if it has been carefully filtrated."

Still the A&G serum produced some fairly good results when I tried it, so I am curious to give ReLuma a test drive. I started using it a couple of days ago and I will report back in a few weeks.