When Aerwin told me about Reviva's TGF Beta- 1 Cream ($35), I immediately thought that it was based on a transforming growth factor (TGF) and here was Reviva once more at the cutting edge of cosmetics with a keenly priced product. This turned out to be true, but it must be admitted that in this case Reviva has taken a bit of cosmetic licence.

On its website, Reviva says that "TGF Beta- 1 Cream features a brand new peptide... Palmitoyl Tripeptide 3 with functions different than other peptides and considered a high-tech 'tissue growth factor'. Partnered with Homestatine this combination influences cell metabolism, stimulating development and cell migration while determining their shape.

Palmitoyl tripeptide 3 (it used to be pt 5) isn't exactly a transforming growth factor. Otherwise known as Syn-coll, it is a small peptide with a unique sequence to mimic the human body’s own mechanism to produce collagen via TGF-β, tissue growth factor. All well and good, but by calling its cream TGF Beta- 1, Reviva's had me a bit confused.

In fact, TGF-beta (1-3) is a little different. This is a 'super' protein that controls cell functions such as growth and proliferation. It also regulates cell death. Studies at Cornell, Vanderbilt and Jefferson show that TGF-beta stimulates collagen and elastin. It is taken from human cells and used in products by Jan Marini, A&G and ReLuma.

This doesn't mean Syn-Coll isn't a good ingredient as well. The claims for Syn-Coll are eye-brow raising, to say the least. Collagen production is increased by 119% and the manufacturer says it will actually remove wrinkles. It is claimed that a 2.5% concentration of Syn-Coll outperforms the darling of the peptides, Matrixyl, at 10%.

Meanwhile Homeostatine is a bit of a stretch as well. Galactomannan is actually the gum of the tara fruit as in a common food additive used as a stabilizer in things like ice cream. That basically makes Homeostatine a marine botanical - specifically, enteromorpha compressa. Research suggests that this seaweed is good at suppressing allergic reactions and in tests on food preservation is a free radical scavenger.

Funnily enough, while I was trying to find out what salicoyl phytosphingosine is, I came across a near identical cream to Reviva's called Physician's Complex Tissue Growth Factor selling for $66. Presumably the difference in price is due to the CoQ10 in Physicians. Oh yes, according to the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, salicyloyl phytosphingosine is based on natural lipids and when topically applied to the face, reduces the depth of wrinkles and improves skin texture in photoaged skin.

Ingredients in Reviva

Demineralized Spring Water, Glycerin (veg.), Olive Oil, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-3, Coconut Endosperm, Homeostatine (Marine Pentasaccharide & Galactomannan from Tara Fruit), Salicoyl Phytosphingosine, Myristly Alcohol, COQ-10, Hydrolized Soy Protein, Squalane, Soybean Oil, Carbomer 940, Cetearyl Alcohol, Simethicone, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid.

Ingredients in Physician's Complex

Demineralized Spring Water, Glycerin, Olive Oil, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-3, Coconut Endosperm, Homeostatine (Marine Pentasaccharide & Galactomannan from Tara Fruit), Salicoyl Phytosphingoside, Myristyl Alcohol, Coenzyme Q-10, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Squalane, Soybean Oil, Carbomer 940, Cetearyl Alcohol, Simethicone, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid.