I first was introduced to to the Bioelements skin care line when I was sent a sample of their hyaluronic acid-heavy Moisture x1000 cream, which, if you read my post, saved the day by keeping my date from noticing the horrible dryness around my mouth left about from a freak encounter with Proactiv's pimple-drying mask.

Since then I've been trying out a slew of other products in their range that has turned me into a real fan. While they're not for purists (you'll find a few parabens and preservatives thrown about), they do feature some wonderful combinations of the best active ingredients out there. As such, I've been recommending the line to anyone who's interested. I especially like the Bioelements Power Peptide ($36) because it is a spray, and so easy to put on.

Like the Moisture x1000, I'm recommending the power peptide spray but am attaching a few caveats. Let me just get them out of the way: Clove leaf oil is a possible allergen to some sensitive folks, as is the preservative iodopropynyl butylcarbamate, at least according to one Danish study. Diazolidinyl urea (a preservative) and guaiaeood extract (used for fragrance) can both be irritants, although I have had absolutely no irritation at all, and I do have somewhat sensitive skin. The only other ingredient worth pointing out is disodium EDTA, which is used for product stability. Some animal studies have shown it to be toxic at higher doses than normally found in cosmetics and I personally believe it to be innocuous.

Now, on to the good things. The secret to to the spray is a surprisingly high concentration (they're right there at the top of the list) of two key ingredients: palmitoyl pentapeptide-3 and ergothione.

Palmitoyl pentapeptide-3, aka matrixyl, is the peptide from which it gets its name and makes for a nice long-term aging solution in that it specifically and effectively stimulates collagen synthesis and skin repair. Over time, it makes your skin firmer and prevents sagging. And just an f.y.i., matrixyl is not the same as matrixyl 3000.

Ergothioneine, the other star, is one of the few antioxidants (along with vitamins, A, C and E) with any strong evidence behind it to suggest that it works—with some research even suggesting that it may be even better than the famed idebenone. Naturally found in mushrooms, ergothioneine is an antioxidant amino acid that occurs naturally in the body and is found in high concentrations around cells that are subjected to free radical damage.

Other prominent ingredients are licorice root extract, an anti-inflammatory with powerful skin lightening properties, and white tea extract, another anti-inflammatory with additional antibacterial benefits.

This spray also boasts a strong supporting cast. Most interesting to me is the inclusion of ilex paraguariensis leaf extract. Better known as Yerba Maté of the tea-drinking fame, this ingredient has been showing up in a bunch of new product launches thanks to its robust antioxidant properties. Research shows that it trumps both green tea and red wine in this category, and has demonstrable anti-cancer effects.

Besides the few undesirables listed at the very end, the rest of the ingredient list reads like a walk through an herb garden: brazilian peppertree (anti-fungal), bergamot (anti-septic), cardamom (antioxidant), cassie (astringent, skin-protectant), camomile (soothing), elemi (anti-inflammatory), sunflower seed oil (moisturizing)...

Ingredients:

Water (aqua) (eau), Glycerine, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-3, Ergothioneine, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (licorice) Root Extract, Camellia Sinensis (white tea) Leaf Extract, Schinus Molle (Brazilian peppertree) Extract, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (bergamot) Fruit Oil, Ellettaria Cardomomum (cardamom) Seed Oil, Acacia Farnesiana (cassie) Extract, Anthemis Nobilis (chamomile) Extract, Eugenia Caryophyllus (clove) Leaf Oil, Canarium Luzonicum (elemi) Gum Nonvolatiles, Guaiacum Offi cinale (guaiacwood) Wood Extract, Llex Paraguariensis Leaf Extract, Cymbopogon Martini (palmarosa) Oil, Helianthus Annuus (sunfl ower) Seed Oil, Phenethyl Alcohol, Oleth-10, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Disodium EDTA, Tromethamine