What is it? An anti-aging serum that combines human fibroblast conditioned media, or cells that make up part of the skin’s connective tissue, with antioxidants and peptides to regenerate and plumpen the skin.

For people with: Wrinkles and fine lines.

Recommended use: Press on the center of the pump and apply a single pump onto the back of your hand. Blend together and apply to the face, neck and décolleté morning and night.

TIA recommends for people in: 50+

Highlights: Justine, our reader that reviewed the SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum, saw a marked difference in her skin. Her lines on her face were plumped, and her skin’s overall texture was smooth and clear.

Susie says: I love TNS Serum. I bought it on a recommendation at the dermatologist’s office. The science and research are solid and the results on my face after just 2 weeks are convincing. Refinement of fine lines, smoother texture, visibly tighter and youthful looking skin. I don’t find the ingredients, the smell, or the color off-putting. It’s efficacy is obvious. I will definitely purchase again. If I add up the products I purchased with poor results and empty promises, my total would be more expensive than this product.

Barbara says: I have been using the TNS for some time now. Along with Obagi. I was surprised how long the TNS bottle lasted. I thought I would have to replace it within a month. It lasted months. That is a positive note.

Complaints: The price is steep at $250 for just 1 oz. of product and some users are averse to the smell. Justine didn’t like the fake color of the product either.

Pam says: I like the TNS essential serum but I don’t like the smell of it? Anyone else find that the smell is disconcerting? I can mask it when I put my mosturizer on top but it still bothers me at that price!

Mae says: I started using TNS essential serum 1 week ago. I bought it on recommendation at the dermatologist’s office. I was extremely upset at the price and my confusion at the time of the appt..that I actually paid that much for 1 oz! WAS I out of my mind! But after using it for only a week, I really do like it. Still not worth $250 a month but will continue to try it until the bottle is gone and see if reordering it online for less will possibly be an option!

Ingredients we love:  Palmitoyl tripeptide-5, and silk peptides, which are designed to stimulate the rebuilding of collagen, antioxidants such as co-enzyme Q10, Vitamin C, Green Tea extract, and blackberry and hyaluronic acid, which acts as a kind of molecular sponge that smooths the skin.

Ingredients we don’t: While the HCFM may do well for aging skin, we are a little unsure of how we like the the source of the ingredient, which has been linked to human embryos and foreskins.

Retail Price: $250

Available to purchase at: Amazon.com

Bottom line: Justine was a little alarmed at the source of the human fibroblast conditioned media (HFCM) because of their rumored link to sources such as human embryos and foreskins. However, it is entirely possible to produce human fibroblasts from animal sources and only an initial crop of cells is obtained before being cloned in a nutrient solution (i.e., a conditioned media), so the final product is artificial. Since Justine was pleased with the results she got for her fine lines and wrinkles, and especially her décolleté, we still recommend it for people willing to stomach a slightly daring source and the steep cost. Why? The results seem to pay off!


Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media, Water (Aqua), Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Unsaponifiables, Alpha-arbutin, Isoceteth-20, Arachidyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Ethoxydiglycol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Ergothioneine, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline, Hydrolyzed Silk, Phospholipids, Ubiquinone, Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry) Leaf Extract, Saccharomyces Ferment Lysate Filtrate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Aminobutyric Acid, Phytosterols, Tocopherol, Tocotrienols, Squalene, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Wax, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Dimethicone, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Polyacrylate-13, Polyisobutene, Polysorbate 20, Behenyl Alcohol, Arachidyl Glucoside, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20, Butylene Glycol, Maltodextrin, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Xanthan Gum, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Aminomethyl Propanol, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Ethylparaben, Fragrance.