Friday, 8 July 2011

The science behind the BIOeffect EGF Serum explained.

One product that is causing a huge amount of buzz in the beauty industry is BIOeffect EGF Serum. If you haven’t heard of the BIOeffect EGF Serum it’s because it is yet to launch in Australia (launch date is 22nd July). In fact, I only heard about it through Ling from The Best Beauty Blog when she was chatting about it on Twitter. She got me intrigued so I contacted the company for more info, and let me tell you, I have been completely and utterly blown away by what I have found out.

This is an incredibly scientific product. It is based on research that won a Nobel prize. This is pretty serious stuff – they don’t give out Nobel prizes the way we give out Blogging awards – only the most outstanding scientific discoveries receive a Nobel prize. The following post is not going to be a review, I have not been lucky enough to try this serum (yet!), but Ling has done a brilliant review on her Blog so check that out. Instead I am going to try and explain the science behind this amazing serum.
About BIOeffect EGF Serum It is produced by Sif Cosmetics, an Icelandic company. The active ingredient is EGF or Epidermal Growth Factor, which I will explain in more detail below. In fact, the serum only contains nine ingredients – literally only what is necessary to ‘maintain and stimulate the natural function of the EGF cellular activator’ and nothing else. 
According to the company, BIOeffect EGF Serum works by activating certain biological processes within the cell. It stimulates the skin’s own renewal process to improve the overall appearance and texture. It contains EGF cellular activator that supports the renewal of skin cells. The serum leaves you with a healthier and fresher appearance and moisturises, while at the same time it inhibits signs of skin ageing.
What is Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF)?  Cells in the body send messages to each other via the release of chemicals called cytokines. If a cell needs something done it releases a cytokine. Other cells have receptors that recognise these cytokines and when they come in contact with them it is their signal to spring into action. The cytokine EGF is the body’s chemical message to grow more skin cells and it is mostly released during wound healing. When you cut yourself, for example, the body realises that there is a gaping big hole that needs filling, so releases EGF. This tells the skin cells that they need to start multiplying to fill the hole. All cells in the skin have receptors for EGF – that is the epidermal cells that make up the surface of the skin, as well as the fibroblasts and collagen cells that give the skin its firmness and elasticity (check out this post if you need a refresher on the structure of the skin). When these cells come into contact with EGF it is their signal to start dividing and multiplying. EGF is also regularly released by the body to help maintain the renewal of healthy skin cells.

EGF is actually quite a big molecule. It doesn’t enter cells but rather binds with their receptors to give them the message to multiply. There were concerns that it would be ineffective in a topical agent, such as a moisturiser or serum, as it was thought that the EGF molecules would be too big to penetrate the skin. A lot of products contain ingredients that are too large to penetrate the skin – collagen is a classic example. Becuase these molecules are too big to penetrate the skin they just remain on the surface and are thus completely ineffective. However, studies have found that it EGF can penetrate the skin to reach the target cells by four different routes: through sweat glands, down hair follicles, it can squeeze though narrow junctions between cells and it can also enter bit micro lesions in the skin (ie flaking due to dryness or  scratches on the skin). What this means is that if applied topically, like in the BIOeffect EGF Serum, the EGF is able to penetrate the skin and reach the target cells to give them the message to divide and multiply.
The Efficacy Research  BIOeffects sent me a scientific paper that outlined the research that has been conducted into the efficacy of BIOeffect EGF Serum. Two studies were conducted by the company themselves and the third by an independant researcher - Dr. Ronald Moy who is the President of the American Academy of Dermatology.
Company Study 1: Participant Opinion This study involved 109 volunteers assessing whether the BIOeffect EGF Serum improved the appearance and texture of their skin. This is a typical type of study conducted by the beauty industry (you know the type – you always hear companies spurting out claims like ‘72% of women tested thought that their skin looked more radiant’). I don’t overly respect these types of studies as they are just too subjective. I know when I am reviewing a product I pay much more attention to my routine and go to a lot more effort. Plus, I am always desperate for it to work so I examine my skin more closely and will usually think that it does look more radiant – but maybe it always looks like that and I just haven’t studied it so closely? Anyway, the results of this study were that over 95% of participants saw an improvement and thought that BIOeffect EGF Serum was beneficial to their skin.
Company Study 2: Instrument analysis I have a lot more respect for how this component of the study was conducted as the result were collected on a skin analysis machine, the Soft Plus Skin Analysing System. This was also a double blind placebo controlled study. What this means is that participants received either the BIOeffect EGF Serum or a similar placebo serum that was only missing the EGF – they weren’t told whether they were in the study or placebo group. The researchers were also blinded as to which participant got which serum. That way there could be no potential biases. Parameters tested in the study included skin elasticity, hydration and image assessments of wrinkles.
During the study, hydration in the skin of participants using the BIOeffect EGF Serum increased by up to 30%, and these participants also saw a greater increase in hydration that the placebo participants. Skin elasticity also significantly increased in the BIOeffect EGF Serum group compared with the control group and there was a clear decrease in facial wrinkles in the the BIOeffect EGF Serum group.

Independant Study This research is still in the preliminary stages and is ongoing but so far it is looking really promising. Dr. Ronald Moy’s team recruited females between the ages of 30-60 to be involved in the clinical trial of the serum. The study is also a double blind placebo controlled study, like I described above, and the participants are using the control or placebo serum for 3 months. Results will be tested using the VISIA™ Digital Skin Analysis instrument. As the study is ongoing, I was only given access to one set of results and these show that after 30 days there is already a clear reduction in wrinkles and fine lines in participants using the BIOeffect EGF Serum and this is even more marked at 90 days. The full study will be published in a peer reviewed journal, hopefully later in the year, so I will update once the study is out but I have to say that these initial results really excite me. I guess what I am most impressed by is the fact that the serum is standing up to the rigors of an independent clinical trial and really seems to be producing positive results.

So, will it work? Without having tried it myself I can’t personally say whether or not it works; however, the research conducted is very positive. The theory behind the serum is very sound, so on paper it should work. I guess only time will tell whether it does.
Where to buy? BIOeffect EGF Serum cost $AU180 and can be purchased from their website - The company are also in negotiations for it to be stocked in a major department store along with some day spas. I will update once this has been confirmed.
Want to be one of the first in Australia to try it? After reading this I bet you are all busting to try this amazing sounding serum – I know I was after reading the research. Well, I have some pretty exciting news for you! I can reveal that this is another sample that will be included in Lust Have It’s first box! So, if you haven’t ordered your first box yet, it’s about time you did – you can order your first box here.

Ok, I have attempted to explain the research in layman’s terms as best as I could. If anything wasn’t clear, please post your question in the comments section and I will endeavour to answer it better.

So, who wants to try this wonder serum?
UPDATE: Who wants to win a bottle of this amazing serum?? Check out my competition on how you can win.
All opinions stated in this blog are my own. I have no affiliation with BIOeffect or Lust Have It and received no remuneration for my comments.