Our Rating: 4 stars

Reviewed by Danielle

For all you women who are in your mid to late 50s and are experiencing the onset, or full-on effects of menopause, this review is for you. For I have finally found a product that alleviates the painful symptoms of Atrophic Vaginitis, or Dry Vagina Syndrome (sounds like a spoof on a Hollywood movie). This is a condition common among perimenopausal and postmenopausal women, and is characterized by a thinning and inflammation of the vaginal walls due to a decline in estrogen. What does this mean exactly? It means that if you are sexually active, it’s not the pleasant experience you remember it was when you were younger. Penetration is painful, can make you feel like your partner has wrapped a sheet of 40 grit sandpaper around his member (or her dildo), and can cause micro tears and bleeding at the entrance to your vagina. This is not fun.

I have been experiencing an increase in this condition for the last few years (I’ll be 59 soon) and have tried everything from prescription meds (Estring: a ring inserted into the vagina which dispenses small doses of estrogen over a three-month period and often gets bumped into during intercourse; and the Vagifem pill, which gets inserted into the vagina twice a week and does essentially the same thing as the Estring), to therapies recommended by nurses and websites devoted to women’s sexual health. (I.e. inserting moisturizing lubricants into the vagina at night; manually massaging the vulva to stimulate blood circulation and skin health; regularly stimulating the internal vaginal walls with a vibrator for 10 to 15 minutes daily, not the worst thing in the world). None of them have worked.

It seems like the lack of research and treatment for this condition has been the result of willful neglect by a male-dominated pharmaceutical industry. After all, men have Viagra, Cialis, and all variety of medications for Prostate enlargement, and it’s only right that there should be the equivalent attention paid to women’s sexuality. Perhaps the culture is finally changing for us. So let me tell you about this product.

AQ Skin Solutions Vaginal Rejuvenation System ($199 in the shop) is a serum formulated with Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media. I will paraphrase from some of Marta’s most recent and well-researched review of Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media on TIA here:

Human fibroblast conditioned media, or human adipose stem cells, or epidermal growth proteins have increasingly been appearing in cosmetic serums on the market.

The progenitor cells of the human fibroblast are typically taken from newborn baby foreskins or human fat – adipose – cells. They are called adult stem cells to differentiate them from embryonic stem cells, which are not used in cosmetics. From the progenitor cell, many thousands of new cells are cloned in the lab and which are supposedly pristine.

Conditioned media is the solution (sugars, amino acids and such) that is put in the petri dish in which the cells are grown. It contains proteins that have been secreted by the cells and these proteins are what make it into our serums.

The technology used by AQ Skin Solutions for using Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media (and for all their products) is called Growth Factor technology. According to a July 13, 2010, newsletter from the Brookhaven National Laboratory, Growth Factor Technology is used to design synthetic peptides for tissue regeneration. They state, “The bioactive peptides are designed to communicate growth signals to cells of damaged tissue in order to foster efficient, rapid healing.” GF technology is proprietary and many labs have patented their own formulas, just as AQ Skin Solutions has patented its version of GF Technology for its purposes and products.  If you want a more detailed explanation of how this technology works, you can go to AQ Skin Solutions’ website: http://www.aqskinsolutions.com.

In a nutshell, however, what AQ tells you is that, “Growth factors turn essential cellular activities ‘on’ and ‘off,’ and they play a role in increasing cell production, cell division, blood vessel production, and collagen and elastin production.” It is further stated that, “In 2001, two independent double-blind studies testing topical creams containing either natural or bio-engineered GF were presented to the Society of Investigative Dermatology. The results were surprising – when applied to skin twice a day for four to six weeks, both types of creams produced better results than Botox! Each study showed significant increases in production of collagen, hyaluronic acid, elastin, fibroblasts, and epidermal thickness.”

So what is the protocol for using Vaginal Rejuvenation System? A single therapeutic regimen retailing for $200 (in the Truth in Aging shop) consists of six vials of serum. The directions on the box say to start with one tube every two to three days, but depending on the severity of dryness, it can be used more or less frequently, as necessary. If I have one complaint, it is the lack of clarity on this. How long should or could the effects of this dose last? Only as long as I’m using it regularly, which means I’m buying this monthly? Is this a once a year dose, a six month dose? Not knowing more, I started by using one vial each night for three nights in a row since my symptoms were severe, and then skipped a night thereafter until all six vials were used. In a subsequent email communication between Marta and one of AQ’s representatives, it was indicated that an individual should not exceed two vials per week, which alarmed me. Ultimately, I communicated with the representative directly and learned that there was no danger in overuse, but because the growth factors can work overtime as your own body begins to respond and heal itself, there’s no need to waste the product, which could be saved for a later date. Too bad, I feel like I just wasted $100 worth of product.

In any case, my husband has been a champion collaborator and has willingly abided by my performance schedule to test the efficacy of this product. I’m happy to report that I felt a tenfold improvement of my symptoms after the third night and now eight days from the time I used the last tube I am still pain free. One of AQ’s claims is that VRS may “enhance female sexual arousal and intercourse,” and I can’t say I’ve experienced that. However I am greatly encouraged by the results so far. Only time will tell whether or not this is truly long-lasting or not.  But for the time being, I’m thrilled to be back in the saddle and pain free.

AQ Skin Solutions appears to be a very accessible and friendly company and its representative, Pamela Xiong, is eager to communicate with anyone who might have questions about AQ’s product and technology.

Ingredients: Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media, Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Xantham Gum, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Squalane, Polysorbate 60, Rosemarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Lactic Acid, Chlorphenesin