Have you noticed that some skincare products can cost as much as a car payment? Why do these high-end creams and serums require a six-figure salary to support steady use? The answer is in the technology.One upscale brand recently launched a platinum line that consists of a cream ($875 for 50 milliliters), serum ($575 for 35 milliliters), and an eye treatment ($360 for 20 milliliters). This line contains an ingredient called X50 (sounds like something from a Sci-Fi flick, doesn’t it?) to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles.MORE: Unorthodox Beauty TreatmentsThis super high-tech ingredient is a technology borrowed from the pharmaceutical industry for drug delivery. X50 came about from the work of researchers evaluating different methods of delivering treatment to tumors. The idea was to develop a delivery system that, like GPS, could lock its sight on the target, travel directly to the site without taking any detours, and effectively deliver the treatment.Stuff like this is what a cosmetic chemist’s dreams are made of! With a few chemical tweaks here and there, one company developed a modified version for the beauty industry—thus X50 was born, with a delivery system programmed for skin cells rather than tumors, carrying collagen and elastin-producing peptides. The end result? More of the peptides are going directly where they need to go for increased benefits.Think about it this way: It’s back to school time and I need to get my daughter moved into her dorm for the very first time. While I generally know where we need to go, I don’t know the direct path to her dorm and there isn’t a GPS, smart phone or map around—so we wing it. Eventually, we get there after making different stops at the wrong places, but we missed the move-in time and now we have to park out of the way, which means some items aren’t going to make it into the dorm. The entire process is inefficient and the job incomplete. Now, if we’d had a GPS programmed with the exact location of the dorm, we’d get everything done quickly and efficiently!MORE: The Science Behind Cleansing OilsMany skincare delivery systems operate without a GPS. They are carrying ingredients for a specific purpose, but don’t have a clue how to get there. They wander around aimlessly within our skin, hoping to make it to their destination.X50 is considered a smart ingredient because it operates much like a GPS: The delivery system is surrounded by peptides that are attracted to only one kind of receptor found on the cells expecting to receive the goods. That means that X50 will bypass all other cells that do not have the receptor, so the chances of making the delivery to incorrect cells are drastically reduced. This leads to increased efficacy and ultimately a higher price tag.Is it worth it? Now that’s up to you!