Dr Obagi (he of the prescription-strength peels) has never really been my cup of tea. Stripping and sandblasting my way to youthful skin has never really appealed. Now, however, he has come out with a new line and a new philosophy: "create change at the cellular level". Now that's something I can drink to. And so I took a look at ZO Skin Health Ossential Growth Factor Serum (S195).

With this, Dr O has bought into peptides and amino acids. The two peptides he uses are relatively new ones. Myristoyl hexapeptide-4 and myristoyl pentapepide-8 stimulate collagen production and elastin, as well as being anti-inflammatory. One of the things that apparently makes these peptides effective is that they have a fatty acid attachment (the myristoyl), which absorbs more readily than the palmitoyl acid that the old peptides use.

Given that this potion is so heavy on amino acids (I believe that around 18 of them are crammed into each pot of Ossential Growth Factor Serum), it is probably best to sum up their generic role: amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and, in turn, proteins trigger the activity of cells. They all do something slightly different. For example, arginine is an amino acid important in cell division. The body uses it to manufacture nitrite oxide, which causes the blood vessels to relax, thereby increasing blood flow.

In addition, there are several flavors of vitamin B, niacinamide, pyridoxal hydrochloride and inositol, as well as vitamins C and A.

I'm not keen on all the silicones and parabens, but that aside Dr O's latest formulation looks impressive.

Ingredients in ZO Ossential Growth Factor Serum

Aqua (Water), Dipropylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerine, PEG-12 Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethicone Crosspolymer,
Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethiconol, Butylene Glycol, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Glucose, Myristoyl Hexapeptide-4,
Myristoyl Pentapeptide-8, Retinol, Polysorbate 20, Glycine, Alanine, Hydrochloride, Asparagine, Aspartic Acid, Cystine, GlutamiAcid, Glutamine, Histidine Hydrochloride, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine Hydrochloride, Acetyl Methionine, Phenylalanine, Proline, Serine, Threonine, Tryptophan, Tyrosine, Valine, Choline Chloride, Calcium Pantothenate, Folic Acid, Inositol, Niacinamide, Pyridoxal Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Thiamine Hydrochloride, Calcium Chloride, Magnesium Sulfate, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Phosphate Monobasic, Parfum, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Citronellol, Limonene, Linalool, Beta Carotene (CI 75130).