Intensite Volumizing Serum must have a good story behind it because it costs too much for it not to, right? For $600, you’re buying into the following claims: “Intensite Volumizing Serum with KGF (keratinocyte growth factor) augments the subtle loss of facial volume and plumps trouble areas. KGF halts the aging process by turning over dying skin cells 8 times faster and hinders DNA fragmentation. KGF’s dynamic activity allows for a molecular dialogue with underlying layers of skin that contributes to increased volume after several weeks. Whitening Tri-Complex depigments the skin, eliminating blemishes and dark spots associated with aging. Powerful anti-radical defense system shields against pollution, stress and damaging UVB rays. Intensite Volumizing Serum is the optimal solution before considering or in preparation for a surgical procedure.”
Even if you understand half of that, it sounds like it must be the answer for fighting wrinkles. Phrases such as “halts the aging process” and “shields against pollution” make this sound like (another) fountain of youth. And “depigmenting” skin is not a good thing, because it would leave skin without any color, creating white, albino-like skin. Who wrote this nonsense anyway?
This nonaqueous serum consists mostly of a glycerin ester (an ester is a compound formed by mixing an organic acid and alcohol), several forms of silicone, thickeners, several water-binding agents, antioxidants, and, as the very last ingredient, keratinocyte growth factor (KGF). With the exception of KGF, all of the other ingredients are fairly standard and are used in various products throughout the cosmetics industry, so none of them warrant the price tag (believe me those are cheap ingredients). Combined, they create a serum that will make skin feel soft and smooth, and the water-binding agents will help skin retain moisture. For the amount of money ReVive is asking for this product, you want more than what other companies are offering, because all of them are charging consumers a lot less for the same basic mix of ingredients. That’s where KGF comes in.
ReVive defines KGF as “a naturally occurring protein molecule that augments facial volume and fights the aging process by halting DNA fragmentation.” They also state that it enhances epidermal regeneration at breakneck speed. Never mind that an ingredient that speeds up the regeneration cycle of cells is a potential recipe for trouble (consider that cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells). Can KGF add volume to skin and stop DNA fragmentation? No, it can’t.
KGF is a cytokine. Simply put, cytokines are chemical messengers secreted by our immune system cells. They stimulate the production of other substances that help the body in some way. Cytokines can have positive effects (like wound healing) or negative effects (like proliferation of unhealthy cells). There is in vitro research showing that KGF plays a role in skin’s response to UVB assault, and additional research showing that KGF plays a positive role in wound healing. But it takes a large amount of KGF—not just the little bit present in Intensite Volumizing Serum—to get that result. Plus, wrinkles aren’t wounds. Also, when applied topically, KGF has a short biological half-life, meaning that once it gets into the skin, it’s not long before it is broken down and becomes ineffective.
Still, there are fascinating studies that look at the application of several growth factors (including KGF) and their roles in wound healing. What’s intriguing is that these topically applied growth factors do best when acting on a wound. It’s just that wrinkles are not wounds, even if they may feel that way to our ego. There is scant information about how KGF acts on intact skin, and no substantiated information to support ReVive’s claims that KGF adds volume to skin the way cosmetic fillers such as collagen do. And the notion that the aging process is halted is as over the top as it gets.
Moreover, KGF and other growth factors do not work alone. Each is part of an intricate, incredibly complex network of chemical processes that signal and transfer cellular information—part of the miracle that is the human body. To imagine that a fractional amount of KGF in a cosmetic product can function as an alternative to cosmetic surgery and somehow have a profound impact on the way skin ages is like trying to drive a car without its engine: it just isn’t going to happen, even though everything else is seemingly in place (Sources: FASEB Journal, December 14, 2005; American Journal of Pathology, volume 167, issue 6, December 2005, pages 1575–1586; Journal of Anatomy, July 2005, pages 67–78; and Journal of Cell Science, volume 118, part 9, May 1, 2005, pages 1981–1989).
Intensité Volumizing Serum with KGF augments the subtle loss of facial volume and plumps trouble areas. KGF halts the aging process by turning over dying skin cells 8 times faster and hinders DNA fragmentation. Skin is immediately dewy and vibrant. KGF’s dynamic activity allows for a molecular dialogue with underlying layers of skin that contributes to increased volume after several weeks. Whitening Tri-Complex depigments the skin eliminating blemishes and dark spots associated with aging. Powerful anti-radical defense system shields against pollution, stress and damaging UVB rays. Intensité Volumizing Serum is the optimal solution before considering or in preparation for a surgical procedure.
Triethylhexanoin, PEG-15/Lauryl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Octyldodecyl Myristate, Hexyldecanol, C12-15 Alkyl, Benzoate, Isohexadecane, Tribehenin, Ceramide-2, PEG-10 Rapeseed Sterol, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Undecylenoyl Phenylalanine, Cyclomethicone, Kgf (Keratinocyte Growth Factor)
Without a doubt, the founder of ReVive, Dr. Gregory Bays Brown, has some impressive credentials. He is a board-certified general and plastic surgeon who trained at Vanderbilt, Harvard, and Emory Universities, and received his medical degree from the University of Louisville. Realizing there was considerable money to be made in the realm of doctor-designed skin care, he launched the ReVive brand in the late 1990s, and it is now known as "A Plastic Surgeon's Non-Surgical Approach to Beauty."
It is nothing less than perplexing that there are so many doctors, from Fredric Brandt to N.V. Perricone, Drs. Murad and Sobel, and Patricia Wexler, to name a few, all claiming that their skin-care products are the answers for aging consumers who are concerned about "going under the knife" or about making an appointment that involves use of a needle. Can every doctor cure your wrinkles? And which one is telling the truth? Simply put: None of them. What they are doing, to one degree or another, is misleading the consumer as to what their products can really do, and every physician on the planet knows this to be a fact.
Brown does have one point of difference from his competition because he is the only one who uses growth factors (GF) in all his products. He was originally all about Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF), explained below, but now also offers products with Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF) and Keratinocyte Growth Factor (KGF), each explained in their respective product reviews. With all the company's talk about speeding up cellular renewal via growth factors and promises of luscious, dewy, youthful-looking skin, you may be wondering if this is a group of ingredients worth paying (a lot of money) for.
Growth factors are produced by the body to regulate various types of cell division. EGF stimulates cell division, primarily cell division of skin cells. There is quite a bit of research showing EGF to be helpful for wound and burn healing (Sources: Journal of Burn Care and Rehabilitation, March-April 2002, pages 116–125; Journal of Dermatologic Surgery and Oncology, July 1992, pages 604–606; Journal of Anatomy, July 2005, pages 67–78; International Wound Journal, June 2006, pages 123–130;and Tissue Engineering, January 2007, pages 21–28).
However, there is also research showing the effect EGF has is no different from that of a placebo, that it may not be effective at all, and that too much of it can actually prolong healing (Sources: Wounds, 2001, volume 13, number 2, pages 53–58; and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, August 1995, pages 251–254, and September 1997, pages 657–664).
One study showed that EGF had anti-inflammatory properties when applied to skin (Source: Skin Pharmacology and Applied Skin Physiology, January-April 1999, pages 79–84), though it has also been noted that it may promote tumor growth (Source: Journal of Surgical Research, April 2002, pages 175–182).
In general, the potentially frightening consequences of growth factors can come into play when they are taken internally, as in certain cancer treatments (Interleukin and Interferon are GFs), because they can be highly mitogenic (causing cell division), and at certain concentrations and lengths of application can cause cells to overproliferate. This overabundance of cells causes problems, one result of which is cancer. No one is exactly certain what happens when EGFs are applied to healthy, intact skin, but there is concern that with repeated use EGFs can cause skin cells to overproduce, and that's not good (psoriasis is an example of what happens when skin cells overproduce).
All of the research that does exist on EGFs has primarily studied their short-term use for wound healing. ReVive's products aren't about wound healing or short-term use, but rather about ongoing application for wrinkles, and working against the reduced cell-turnover rate that occurs as we age. Moreover, what established research has shown (including most of the sources mentioned above) is that growth factors, including EGF, do not work alone. Rather, their function is part of an intricate symphony that requires the playing of several "notes" for the "concert" to be a success. Adding a tiny amount of EGF to skin-care products in the hopes that it will work like it does when applied to a wound is sort of like thinking you can frame a house with wood and use nothing to hold the beams together except wishful thinking. We suspect the EGFs that Brown uses are most likely not the active form of the "drug," because if they were the risk to skin would be scary (and the company admits the ingredient is engineered in a lab, which means it's not identical to the naturally occurring EGF).
For more information about ReVive, call 1-866-986-7083 or visit www.reviveskincare.com.