Vivité

Vivité At-A-Glance

Strengths: Fragrance-free; good selection of pH-correct AHA products with effective amounts of glycolic acid; good water-soluble cleansers.

Weaknesses: Expensive; the sole sunscreen option does not provide sufficient UVA protection; using the company's recommended routine will result in AHA overload; jar packaging won't keep ingredients stable.

Vivité (pronounced 'Vee-va-tay') is a small skin-care line developed and owned by Allergan, the pharmaceutical company behind Botox and the lash-enhancing drug Latisse, among other products. This isn't the first time Allergan has forayed into the skin-care market; they previously partnered with Clinique on that company's "Medical" product line. Clinique Medical is medical in name only, and there isn't anything medicinal or pharmaceutical about Vivité, either. These products aren't akin to getting dermatologist-strength results at home. Besides, dermatologist-strength skin-care products are not sold without a prescription, so the whole notion is nothing more than a marketing sham. So, please don't buy into that hype.

The main reason to consider Vivité products is if you're interested in well-formulated, pH-correct alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) products. Several Vivité products contain effective blends of glycolic acid and ammonium glycolate. Although glycolic acid is a great way to exfoliate skin and offers multiple benefits for sun-damaged skin, it isn't the only ingredient you should focus on. Skin care at any age is much more complex than simply supplying one key ingredient. For example, despite glycolic acid's multiple benefits, it cannot protect your skin from sunlight, it doesn't rebuild skin's healthy barrier on its own, and it cannot defend skin from oxidative damage. Think of skin care as you would a healthy diet, if you ate only one type of food you wouldn’t be healthy for long; skin acts the same way. Skin is a complex organ that requires a complex array of substances to function in a younger manner and to be as healthy and normal as possible.

Allergan took an interesting angle with Vivité, using something called GLX Technology™. They have the patent on this and they claim it will partially neutralize the glycolic acid so that the acid releases into the skin over an extended period of time and at a pH closer to that of our skin, which is about 5 to 5.5. While that sounds like a gentler way to use AHAs (because the pH is closer to that of our skin), research shows that AHAs have optimal exfoliation when formulated in a base with a pH less than 4. As it turns out, all of the Vivité products with glycolic acid have a pH of 3.8, which means you can ignore the point-of-difference about pH and GLX Technology™—it certainly seems that Allergan did—and be assured that these products will exfoliate as claimed (Sources: Dermatologic Surgery, February 2005, pages 149–154; and Cosmetic Dermatology, October 2001, pages 15–18).

Allergan wants you to think their AHA products have an edge, but they don't. However, their leave-on AHA products will certainly exfoliate skin and also provide AHAs' other benefits, though some precautions are warranted, as you'll see in the reviews.

For more information about Vivité, owned by Allergan, call (877) 345-5372 or visit www.viviteskincare.com.

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