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Givenchy's Vax'in For Youth Review

is a Solution for:
Sagging Skin, Wrinkles
Reviewed by SarahK December 6, 2010 5 Comments

Pros

A novel approach to anti-aging

Cons

No independent research
Givenchy's bottled stress is intriguing

What if I told you that there existed an age vaccine, much the way that there exists a flu vaccine to protect you against influenza? No, you can’t just ask your doctor to inject you with the magic serum, but Givenchy says that you can, indeed, smear it on your face. That’s right, your vaccine comes in the form of a cream – and it promises to protect you from ageing.

Skeptical? I am too. But what I’ve read about Givenchy’s latest product, Vax’in for Youth ($90) is, if nothing else, very interesting.

The way that an actual vaccination works is by administering a small, harmless amount of substance into the body that forces the immune system to produce antibodies; if it works as intended, the body should become immune to whatever disease the vaccination is supposed to protect against.

Givenchy’s claim is that small, induced doses of stress placed on the skin will make cells believe they are being damaged (the way that a body thinks it is being attacked by the vaccine), and the skin will respond by producing an “age-defying” (as Givenchy puts it) protein called HSP70.

And it’s not only Givenchy that’s touting the powers of the protein. It has been proven that HSP70 actually does protect cells from oxidative or heat-induced stress. One study concluded that a “reduced ability to express HSP70 in response to stress may be a common phenomenon underlying the aging process.” At the forefront of Givenchy’s campaign is Professor Suresh Rattan, a biogerontologist whose research on hormesis has comprised the scientific backing of Vax’in for Youth. Hormesis is the theory that exposure to relatively small amounts of stressors or toxins will help your body become immune to them. While there are renowned scientists who have invested legitimate time and research into the support of hormesis, there is definitely some heated debate about the validity of the theory.

Interestingly, Suresh Rattan is part of a group of 51 scientists who authored and endorsed “Position Statement on Human Aging,” a brief document to warn consumers about ineffective and possibly dangerous antiaging products. The document states that health care providers are endorsing antiaging products “that they claim will slow, stop or reverse the process of aging…even though in most cases there is little or no scientific basis for these claims.” According to the document, scientists are also “unwittingly contributing to the proliferation of these pseudoscientific antiaging products.”

The irony of Rattan’s authorship of a document that advises the public not to be fooled by scientists who promote antiaging products is pretty clear. At first I thought that a different Suresh Rattan co-authored the statement, but the biogerontologist lists “Position Statement on Human Aging” on his website as one of his credits.

Perhaps I’m being too hard on Rattan, but I’m having a hard time letting go of my skepticism. Still, the science behind Vax’in for Youth is something to ponder. While most people in the beauty industry focus on UV rays, pollution and other factors that contribute to aging, Rattan is focusing on the body’s own natural protection system that apparently kicks in when exposed to stressors (in Rattan’s experiments, the stressor was high temperature). When the cells Rattan was studying were heated for short periods of time, they aged more slowly than cells left at a normal temperature.

The idea that Givenchy has bottled this stress in a cream (using sanchi, a ginseng extract and hypotaurine, a protein) seems farfetched. However, the ingredients increased production of HSP70 by 24% in 6 hours in test tube experiments. When tested on humans, results were also very positive. But of course, none of the research is independent or peer-reviewed.

I think the concept behind Vax’in for Youth is fascinating – but the science doesn’t back up Givenchy or Rattan. At least, not yet.

  • May 9, 2015

    by Clint

    Real talk here: This serum is mildly irritating,l but with continued use your skin should become used to this irritation.

    That's literally all it does. Any irritating serum should do the same thing.

    There is no place for intentionally irritating products in skincare.

  • December 13, 2010

    by shahjee

    And remember - the product is a cosmetic, and although the science of hormesis is on a solid footing with little or no doubt about the principles, practice and appliation of hormesis, there is no claim made by any cosemtics for slowing down the aging process as such; only the outward signs of aging!!

  • December 8, 2010

    by jc

    catlover, i'm not sure if i misunderstood your point, but the product being discussed doesn't actually 'damage' your skin...it sends a signal to your skin that the processes read as 'damage', so they then respond in the appropriate manner. sort of how matrixyl and matrixyl 3000 are purported to work, they are peptides, fragments of pro-collagen, that when applied your body reads as damaged collagen that needs to be repaired, so it in turn produces more collagen. no damage actually occurs, your body is just being tricked into thinking something is happening to induce a response.

  • December 8, 2010

    by primrose krasicki

    I read with interest the feed back on Givenchy's new anti ageing cream. It reads to me as DODGY.What is wrong with a bit of ageing? And gracefully . The ingredients read as okay. But haven"t we all used its components before and either glowed or suffered . I would not wish to purchase at all . But please keep updating us if it really does work !! Primrose Australia

  • December 7, 2010

    by catlover2x

    The theory that damaging the skin induces healing is one I've heard before. If you've ever watched lipo on TV, you'll see how roughly they handle the wand. Plastic surgeons say that causing the damage makes the skin heal better and adhere to the underlying tissue. However, I feel like great, test it on someone else and get back to me when you know. Thanks for the review.

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