Our Rating: 4 stars

Truth in Aging has shared a winner with me and I am happy to spread the news. As the fall weather arrived in recent weeks, I asked TIA to let me try some body lotions and/or foot-and-really-dry-skin potions. TIA obliged with two products to test: This one is the Retrospect Feet, Knees, & Elbows ($38 in the shop), which sort of says it all. I’ve been using it for only three weeks, and it’s terrific.

The product packaging advises that it can be used on very dry, cracked skin. My skin is dry, and of course gets much worse in the cold weather. I’m vigilant about slathering on creams and lotions, so my feet, hands, elbows, etc. aren’t so bad, but I’d be willing to bet this lotion – and it’s surprisingly lightweight and not remotely gunky or greasy – would repair even feet that had suffered greater neglect. It is not a heavy goo (many of these are), but a fluid, emollient vanilla-colored lotion that goes on very pleasantly, and feels great. It both smooths and soothes, and seems to last on the skin longer than such products usually do (e.g., even after a day of running around on those same feet). My feet and knees are loving it, to the point of putting off a pedicure, and I’ve even dabbed it on my chronically dry hands and cuticles too. (In fact, Retrospect sells several products, according to its website, one of which is the Hand & Nail Reconstructor: and yes, that’s a hint for you, TIA. I’m here.)

The brand name puzzled me at first: usually cosmetic products pick cheery, forward-looking terminology. But when I noticed that the simple and attractive logo looks like the double-triangle “fast rewind” button (on video controls), I got the point. (Oh, and the packaging is red, my favorite color.)

There’s an interesting and credible story on the website. The product description highlights Retrospect’s proprietary ingredient: “Functional Keratin© acts rapidly to repair skin, by stimulating skin cells to accelerate healing. Immediate and sustained hydration is achieved with blends of Lanolin, Castor and Olive oil extracts that provide a natural affinity with the skins own lipids. Bisabolol and Ginger root act as a strong anti-inflammation agent to soothe sore skin. Softens skin and has anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties.”

So what is Functional Keratin? The website discloses that Retrospect is the cosmetic brand of Keraplast Technologies LLC, a privately held company founded in 1996. Again, per the site: “Keraplast is the world’s leading developer and manufacturer of keratin products. Headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, Keraplast manufactures Replicine™ Functional Keratin® wound care products with FDA and CE mark clearance for sale around the world. The Retrospect brand contains the same active ingredients found in the Keraplast advanced wound care products.” Keraplast’s own site provides additional information on keratin, the role of these proteins in tissues, and the company’s claims for patented proprietary technologies for their extraction from natural sources and use in products.

I don’t mean to shill or merely parrot the brand’s own PR, but it makes sense – and my experience has been very positive. The rest of the ingredients list isn’t (as far as I can tell) remarkable or unusual, but of course a lot of what you often see isn’t in there, either. It isn’t as cheap as a drugstore (typically petroleum-based) dry skin healer, but at $38 for 5 ounces, it’s reasonable, particularly since you can use modest amounts rather than gobs at a time. I’ll buy it again.

Ingredients: Water, Urea, Decyl oleate, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil Unsaponifiables, Lanolin, Cetearyl Glucoside and Cetearyl Alcohol, Ethylhexyl Olivate, Keratin and Hydrolyzed Keratin, Glycerin, Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate and Isopropyl Myristate, Dimethicone, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Panthenol, Bisabolol and Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Tocopherol, Sodium Polyacrylate, Phenoxyethanol and Ethylhexylglycerin, Tetrasodium EDTA, Fragrance