Monday, 27 June 2016

BioEffect EGF Serum



Describe the brand in five words.
Iceland. Barley. EGF. Serum. Cold.

What is it?
'BioEffect EGF Serum is a ground-breaking anti-ageing serum that delivers visible, dramatic improvements to your skin.'

Serum - although the range is much bigger.

Who is it for?
Everyone. But see my further comments below.

What’s in it?
Glycerine, Aqua, Sodium hyaluronate, Tromethamine, Sodium chloride, Hordeum vulgare seed extract, EGF (Transgenic barley sh-oligopeptide-1)

What's not in it?
Human EGF (recombinant)

Possibly acne/allergy/troubling for some ingredients?
Not really. Just the EGF, but that is kind of the point.

Natural? Organic? Man made? Vegan?
Man-made natural. If you see what I mean...

Tested on animals/sold in territories that advocate testing?
No/No

How does it smell?
Fragrance-free

How does it feel on the skin?/Absorption rate?
Absorbs immediately. If it's sticky, you're using too much.

How do you use it?/Where to use in your routine?
Serum - so am and pm under moisturiser.

How long before you should see results?
Pretty quickly. A few days will bring plumpness, the other results obviously a little longer.

How long did I test it for?
I've been using BioEffect on and off for a few years.

How much is it? /Size
£125.00 for 15ml - *currently on sale

What’s good/not so good about it?
I'm amalgamating the usual two separate sections for ease. And please bear with, because it may take a while.

  • I first wrote about BioEffect over three years ago. In that post, which you can find here, I talked about how EGF was not safe, and how I would never recommend it for people with psoriasis or anything near 'dodgy' or pre-cancerous moles. I approached BioEffect and Revive for comments, BioEffect responded and clarified that their EGF was not human-based (recombinant), Revive did not respond. I updated the blog post accordingly as promised.
  • Then the EU got involved. And they were not happy. Human-derived EGF is banned in the EU and a couple of years ago, Revive had to completely reformulate and thus relabel their products for the European market. To my knowledge they still use the original EGF in some products in the USA, where human-cloned EGF is not illegal. (The offer of a response comment is still open to Revive over 3 years later, if any of this is incorrect.) Be aware that if you are buying the same-named product on either side of the Atlantic, they may be completely different inside. Not illegal, but not best practice if we're being fair to the consumer.
    *Revive Moisturizing Renewal Cream USA inci here ('sh-oligopeptide 1' is what you are looking for)
    *Revive Moisturizing Renewal Cream UK inci here (sh-oligopeptide 1 is absent)
  • BioEffect were briefly embroiled in the subsequent drama, and then allowed to continue selling their version of EGF, after proving that their EGF is derived from barley, not humans.
  • So what's the problem? In a nutshell, EGF stimulates skin cell proliferation, thus giving your droppy skin some perk. It's like a morning double espresso for your face. It works. Really well. Jane from British Beauty Blogger says it's one of the best products she's used on her face.
  • The problem is that skin cells and EGF are not that intelligent. They cannot differentiate between normal, healthy cells and pre-cancerous/cancerous cells. They just multiply. Therein lies the problem.
  • Cancer patients can be given anti-EGF medicine to slow down their tumour growth.

I put this question to the team at BioEffect on more than one occasion and recently had this reply:

'It is well recognized in oncology that the biology of cancer is very complex. Therefore, due to fact that an increase in both activity and appearance of the RECEPTOR for EGF, the EGFR/ErbB1, is often observed in certain types of cancer, it may be considered a strategic move to use anti-EGFR drugs as a treatment for all kinds of cancers. However, this increase in the activity of the RECEPTOR is often due to mutations in the receptor, resulting in various abnormalities in its structure and function. These mutations can lead to constitutive activation of the receptor, independent of the levels or the binding of EGF (Lurje G. et al. 2009). This means that the cancer cell has stopped responding to highly well controlled regulation of EGF. In addition, according to numerous studies, EGF will not turn normal cells into cancer cells, meaning that it is highly unlikely that an excess level of EGF would lead to a malignant transformation. It has even been shown that EGF may sometimes have a negative effect on growth of cancer cells and often cancer cells do not respond to EGF control at all (Acosta-Berlanga J. et al. 2009; Wong R 2003. Cell Mol Life Sci 60: 113-118).
On individual basis, it is not really possible to predict what effect it has to apply EGF to abnormal skin cell or if it will have any impact on the overall progression of these cells that have already lost some of their self-regulatory control. This is true with basically all other cosmetic ingredients intended to have an effect on the skin, such as vitamins (i.e. retinol), hyaluronic acid and various other ingredients known to promote cell renewal. Abnormal skin cells are genetically and metabolically very diverse and it is very difficult to generalize about their behavior.
Maybe most importantly, clinical studies have been made of topical ointment drugs containing EGF for wound healing of burn victims and diabetics, including a 15 year study in Cuba. These studies indicate that long term exposure of EGF in high concentration is safe and together with substantial amount of preclinical studies in animals confirm that EGF does not initiate cancer formation (Acosta-Berlanga J. et al. 2009 and 2011).
All these facts on EGF and our argumentations herein, together with our continuously accumulating acknowledgement of EGFs safety from specialists in the field, including medical doctors, dermatologists, toxicologists and safety advisors, strongly argues for the safety of using relatively low level of EGF in a skin care products aimed for topical application of normal healthy skin.’

The upshot?
No-one can say with any certainty. That's the truth. The pro-camp say that barley EGF is not recognised by cancerous cells due to the anomaly of being non-human and therefore have no effect. To which my question is: well if they don't affect cancerous cells why do they affect healthy cells?
The anti-camp say 'EGF is EGF' regardless and should be avoided if you have any moles or areas on the skin that you think may be a risk.

My two cents?
I like BioEffect products when my skin needs a quick boost. There is no doubt they work. They work really well. I am happy to keep using with that mind-frame as I have no moles or any areas of the skin that give me cause for concern. EGF is mitogenic, not mutogenic. They stimulate cells, they absolutely do not cause cancer to form where it is not present.
If you need a quick boost, crack on. If you have a history of melanoma use your good sense.

One thing everyone agrees on is that human-derived EGF is NOT good. Except the USA, but they have one of the most under-regulated skincare/cosmetic industries in the world. Avoid it. The ingredient, not the USA. :)

Further reading:
barefacedtruth.com
Beautypedia.com
anti-egf studies

Works well with?
Anything. it's all good.

What’s the website like?
Good. Tells the story. Easy to maneuver.

Would I purchase/repurchase?
Yes absolutely as a booster. Personally, not for long-term use.

Similar products?
Nothing. BioEffect are alone with this. That's a compliment.


BioEffect is currently £95 instead of £125.00 and available from bioeffect.co.uk


As always: either brand mentioned is more than welcome to make further comment.

19 comments:

  1. Wow, Iceland is definitely in at the moment! (sorry for that pity football reference lol)
    Do you think it can help with adult acne? Maybe only for the scars?

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  2. Is it possible that EGF could be derived from animals? There is a Belgian EGF product called Evocure and I was informed in a shop that sold Bio Effect that the EGF used in Evocure was derived from animals. Could this be true? In fact I will email the company to find out. If you are interested the ingredients in Evocure are Hyaluronic Acid (3%) • EGF (0.6 ppm) • Peptides (6%) • Vitamin B3 (3%).

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  3. any reason why they are "unfortunately limited to ship within UK and Ireland"?. and the "choose you country" option in the website does not work...strange and disappointing

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    Replies
    1. If you aren't in the UK go to their main website, not the "co.uk" one.

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  4. I'm just going to be rude for half a second and say that their reply to you was quite a mouthful, and could have used a thorough edit for readability and clarity. Something I find slightly off-putting as confusing the customer can be a strategy to get them to not look at the details.
    Anyway, thank you for being so informative (as always), Caroline!

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  5. I use this just around my eye area (too expensive to use all over the face) and I think it's magical. It literally erases wrinkles overnight on this middle-aged woman.

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  6. Hi Caroline. I am going to South East Asia for 2 weeks in August and just wondered whether you think it would be best to completely lay off retinols and acid toners for this time? Obviously I will be using a high SPF all the time and wearing a big hat! Apologies that my question is not related to this post. Many Thanks.

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  7. I think I must be the only person that has used this and found it didn't do a thing. Not sure why my skin didn't improve with it.

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    Replies
    1. You definitely aren't the only one! Zero effect on me other than a bit of plumping from the hyaluronic acid. Also interesting to note the company has, over the years, added a few more ingredients (glycerine was not, as I understand, originally part of the formula which I believe was just 3 ingredients to start).

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  8. Hi Caroline, I'm cell biologist and I'd say approach with caution when it comes to EGF. This company did a very poor job of talking to you which makes me instantly suspicious. As far as the theory goes, there really isn't enough evidence to say that this is safe in the long term. They also admit that there is no way to tell if each person will react the same way because of genetic variations. One effect that I can also think of that hasn't been mentioned here is this: your cells are not supposed to be dividing at an increased rate (which is what causes the rejuvenation), and the kind of acivation may cause them to age prematurely, and eventually not be able to replenish the tissues effectively.

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  9. Ciao Caroline! Very nice post, thank you for all your work! I wanted to inform you that KIKO cosmetics (you know... Kiko Milano... very budget friendly products?) just launched a skincare range, which seems to be promising... Including a family products containing retinol! I'm trying their eye cream (with retinol) and, thought it is not like Dr Gross retinol and ferulic acid eye cream, I'm really enjoying it since it is very moisturising and brigthening! Will you share your thoughts if you try out anything form the line?
    Grazie!
    Baci
    Ery

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  10. Personally - if this ingredient is so 'active' that it can cause an increase in malignant cells ... to me, that's not cosmetic anymore and should be only used with the advice of a dermatologist. If at all.

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  11. I found this post really fascinating to read based on the scientific basis of the active ingredients, as I am a recent convert to skin care and have very quickly become a junkie. I truly believe that this is due to your blog, in particular your cheat sheets which served as a gate way for me to understand some of the ins and outs of skincare.
    However I was wondering if it were possible for you to compile a cheat sheet on the 'active ingredients' that brands (and even you) talk about, explaining the science and reasoning behind their inclusion in products. For example, including but not limited to retinols, vitamin e and other more exclusive ingredients like EGF.
    I feel like this would be super helpful in aiding me and perhaps others compile a skin care wardrobe, based on what products aim to do.
    Many thanks, Emma

    ReplyDelete
  12. I found this post really fascinating to read based on the scientific basis of the active ingredients, as I am a recent convert to skin care and have very quickly become a junkie. I truly believe that this is due to your blog, in particular your cheat sheets which served as a gate way for me to understand some of the ins and outs of skincare.
    However I was wondering if it were possible for you to compile a cheat sheet on the 'active ingredients' that brands (and even you) talk about, explaining the science and reasoning behind their inclusion in products. For example, including but not limited to retinols, vitamin e and other more exclusive ingredients like EGF.
    I feel like this would be super helpful in aiding me and perhaps others compile a skin care wardrobe, based on what products aim to do.
    Many thanks, Emma

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you for pointing out the pros and cons. I personally stay away from it, as I have a lot of moles, but I can see it giving a lovely effect.

    Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

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  14. Hi Caroline, this is a bit off topic but I don't know where else to post my request. Could you please create a cheat sheet for 'summer skincare' for people who like to tan, ie what to include in morning and evening routines during beach holidays? Any recommendation for acids, serums, masks etc? Thanks a lot in advance!

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  15. Thanks for being so thorough and posting the company's response - it's good to have that to pick apart. It seems like the danger of EGF is for people who have a few pre-cancerous or cancerous cells that are sensitive to EGF. Given EGF, those cells will start dividing much faster and potentially grow into a tumor or spread. There are people who have pre-cancerous cells that are still growing slowly and don't cause any problems, potentially for decades. Since you don't know whether you have such cells, it's safer not to use high doses of EGF that would kick them into high gear. The company is trying to argue around this concern by saying that it doesn't turn normal cells into cancer cells and individuals vary. Sure -- that's technically true, and would be ok if you could magically find out that you're 100% free of pre-cancerous skin cells, but you cannot. Most people will be ok, but it's a gamble.

    The barley origin is a bit of a red herring and a cop-out. Exactly as you said, either it works or it doesn't. EGF is a small protein, encoded by a gene. It's not clear from their website if they took the human gene and put it into barley, so the barley is effectively making the human version of the protein, but this seems the most likely. In this case, it (with minor caveats) doesn't matter if it was made in a barley cell or in a human cell, if it came from the same gene then it's the same protein in the end, which binds the EGF receptor, and should affect both cancer cells and healthy cells. If on the other hand it's a barley protein from a barley gene, then it may not bind the human receptor because it wouldn't fit. That's good because it wouldn't affect cancer cells, but it also wouldn't affect normal cells and is therefore a waste of money.

    I will also second Jess's comment - EGF is a growth hormone, kind of like HGH but for skin cells. Normal, non-cancerous cells can only divide so many times before they become "senescent" and stop dividing, so accelerating cell divisions will just deplete their lifetime faster, and may cause much worse skin aging in the future.

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    Replies
    1. Fascinating response, thank you! Caroline does have some clever readers!

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    2. This is super useful, thank you!

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