Kinetin is an interesting substance. It's primarily a plant hormone, but it also occurs naturally in the DNA of most living things, including people. It has some interesting properties, too. It accelerates a plant's ability to repair itself after an injury and appears to work on human skin in a similar way by promoting rapid cell division and enhanced scab formation. There is evidence that kinetin stimulates the production of collagen in the body, too. It also functions as an antioxidant that may reverse some of the effects of free radical damage caused by lifestyle factors like sun exposure and smoking. That's a lot of skin protection and repair, and all from one simple ingredient.
There are still a few questions about the way kinetin actually works, but a number of recent studies support the fact that it does produce results. As a skin care ingredient, kinetin also has some of the advantages of a retinoid in treating skin conditions like acne, without the unpleasant side effects of a retinoid-like irritation and copious exfoliation. Kinetin is generally considered gentle and safe where most retinoid products are not recommended for use by women who are pregnant or nursing.
Beyond its ability to enhance skin healing and collagen production, kinetin use has also shown results in helping to diminish the appearance of age spots, reduce fine lines and wrinkles and improve skin elasticity.
Kinetin is often promoted as a "natural" healing and moisturizing plant ingredient that's a safe alternative to chemical cosmeceuticals. This is more marketing wizardry than fact, though. You may sometimes see kinetin listed on ingredient labels under its trade name N6-furfuryladenine.