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Benefit Cosmetics LLC

Space age serum

Barley plant DNA is the key to a new 'miracle' serum - but can it REALLY turn back the clock?
Miracle cure: Bioeffect contains a concentrated form of EGF, a molecule that occurs naturally in skin

Miracle cure: Bioeffect contains a concentrated form of EGF, a molecule that occurs naturally in skin

Prepare yourself for the new must-have skincare ingredient. ‘Oh no,’ I hear you sigh. ‘Not another one?’ But bear with me. This one is so effective that using just one drop, twice a day, can make your skin look hugely better within just six weeks.

Since a serum containing this ingredient launched in Iceland six months ago, it has proved such a sensation that one in five women there have abandoned their normal skincare in favour of this ­miraculous stuff.

The product is called Bioeffect and its magic ingredient is EGF, or Epidermal Growth Factor, to give it its full name. 

The substance was first identified in 1986 in a piece of scientific research considered so significant that the scientist behind it won the Nobel Prize for his work.

EGF is a molecule that occurs naturally in skin. We have more of it when we’re younger; less of it when we’re older.

It’s known for its healing effects on burned skin, and for its ability to ­rejuvenate healthy skin by speeding up the rate at which the skin cells renew themselves.

This is what makes EGF possibly the most potent anti-ageing ingredient ­available. Put simply: when you apply it to ageing skin cells, it can make them behave like young ones.

So what is it actually going to do for your face?

First, it will soften skin and help it hold moisture better. It can reduce ­pigmentation marks, improve cell ­turnover and stimulate collagen growth, and has a particularly beneficial effect on crepey eyelids, too. And yes, it will soften wrinkles and give skin back a youthful luminosity.

Barley tissue culture

Exceptionally pure: Icelandic scientists are producing EGF through bio-engineered barley plants

With that sort of promise and that sort of scientific pedigree, you might expect it to cost $1,000 a pot, especially when you learn that creating EGF in a lab is a ­laborious and difficult procedure, which means that as skincare ingredients go, it is stupendously expensive.

Takes years off: The serum is said to be better than Botox (posed by model)
Takes years off: The serum is said to be better than Botox (posed by model)

Given that women happily pay hundreds of pounds a pot for creams with little in the way of a clinical pedigree, the mind boggles at how much the Icelanders could charge for their new growth factor.

They could sell it to cosmetics ­companies for a fortune — but instead, they are ­charging $125 for a 15ml bottle. It’s ­expensive, yes, but if you’re using just two drops a day, need no other face creams and see good results, well, that’s a price many women may be prepared to pay.

If you’re a skincare aficionado, you may think you’ve heard some of this before — and you’d be right. There are already a handful of EGF-based products on the market, such as Lumos-IV from, or Dr Gregory Bays-Brown’s Revive line.

But what makes the Icelandic EGF ­different is the way it is produced. Because it is grown inside bio-engineered barley plants that thrive in bacteria-free ­volcanic ash, it is exceptionally pure.

That means, says the company behind it, that it can be used in a more ­concentrated form, in a serum that gives even more ­impressive results.

‘EGF is one of the few ingredients that really does work,’ says skincare developer Antonia Brann, of ‘It improves cell turnover and ­stimulates ­collagen growth, which helps firm up skin.’

She has included EGF in her Lumos-IV serum, which is in demand from skincare specialists and laser clinics for its healing abilities.


If unwound and tied together, the strands of DNA in one cell would stretch almost six feet

‘It works a treat on crepey eyelids, too,’ she adds. ‘You see a real improvement in tone, texture and skin colour.’

So will EGF change our lives and our skin? One canny U.S. dermatologist, Dr Rodney Moy, thinks so.

Dr Moy, president-elect of the American Association of ­Dermatologists, has secured a licence to include the Icelandic EGF in a line of products he is selling at $309 a set.

Already, research has shown that using Bio­Effect’s EGF serum twice a day for six weeks showed ‘better results than invasive treatment with Botox’.

If that doesn’t prompt a rush on the stuff, I don’t know what will. It is easy to use. It’s a liquid ­formulation that sinks easily into clean skin, leaving no ­residue and providing a good smooth base for make-up.

Has it changed my skin and smoothed my wrinkles? I find that very hard to judge, but other ­people keep saying, ‘You’re looking well,’ in a way that is unusual at this time of year — so perhaps it has. Certainly, my skin feels soft and well-hydrated, which is no mean achievement in this weather.

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