Perhaps its the origination myth that it comes with, but I just can't quite suspend disbelief about pseudoalteromonas ferment extract's role as an anti-ager. Here's the story.

Twenty years ago, a Spanish expedition to the Antarctic was collecting mud (we are not told why) on King George Island. Doubtless a tedious task, even in the summer. Anyway, the expedition's luck changed when it stumbled across an exciting new find: a strain of bacteria now called Pseudoalteromonas Antarctica.

During growth, the bacteria produces an extracellular material and we are told this is "an exopolymer of glycoproteins believed to help the bacteria retain water, adhere to surfaces, and withstand the extreme cold". Actually, I more or less buy this part. A study conducted at the University of Barcelona suggests that it does seem really good at retaining water.

So perhaps pseudoalteromonas could plausibly be a humectant and play a role in moisture retention in human skin. The problem is that Lipotec, the company that makes this ingredient and sells it to potion makers, claims that it gets rid of stretch marks and has an amazing effect on collagen production (128% increase in collagen 1 levels in 15 days) and wrinkle reduction (50% after 30 days). Sounds great, but these test were conducted by Lipotec and haven't been corroborated independently.

Anyway, Lipotec is doing a good job of getting the word out and since it launched pseudoalteromonas a couple of months ago it has started to crop up in lots of creams, including Antarctilyne Plump ($55 for 50ml). Actually as 'Plump' implies, I wonder if that's what it does. After all, something that "retains water and adheres to surfaces" may give the impression filling wrinkles without actually rebuilding collagen.