ReVive

Revive At-A-Glance

Strengths: Good cleansers; and, well, that's about it.

Weaknesses: Very expensive; potential unknowns and concerns about how epidermal growth factor (EGF) functions when applied topically on intact skin; not all of the sunscreens provide sufficient UVA protection (how did Dr. Brown miss that one?); no products to address the needs of adults with acne.

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.

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