I was a trifle bit uncertain about this product when I received it to sample some five weeks ago. First off, the 30-ml (1-oz) tube of Viva Derm Vitamin A Serum, which came with no separate packaging or product/company information, had an airless pump dispenser that failed to expel the serum. My doubts about the product’s efficacy were heightened by this packaging defect, though I know I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. So despite my unsettled feelings, I decided to give it a go. But I did not use it on my face, which had just gone through a series of pumpkin peels and was all soft and glowing and feeling just great.

The back of my hands became the guinea pig for this product testing since they were showing signs of aging. The vitamin A serum, meant for all skin types, was supposed to be applied to cleansed skin every night or, if mild exfoliation occurs, every other night. I had to unscrew the defective pump dispenser from the tube and just pour out the serum carefully to make sure I got just the right amount. The yellowish milky unscented liquid felt sticky when applied and absorbed on the skin. I felt like following the application with my hand cream just to not feel that unpleasant gumminess. I restrained myself though, so as not to disrupt the product’s tasks of “rejuvenating and strengthening through collagen and elastin stimulation.” The description went on to say “natural phosphatidyl choline enhance nutrient penetration and are excellent humectants, maintaining healthy hydration and preserving the skin’s natural barrier – critical to cell function and overall skin health.”

There was no such “mild exfoliation,” so I applied the serum nightly, but after weeks of use there was no visible change in the appearance of the skin on the back of my hands. However, the texture of the skin felt softer and smoother. It sounds conflicting, I know, but perhaps the naked eye could not really see the microscopic transformation that occurred in restoring the lost moisture.

Viva Derm claims to make products with “high quality ingredients (organic when possible) that provide the skin with pure, essential and accessible nutrients that work with the skin’s natural processes to repair, restore and rejuvenate.” There are also no harmful parabens, fragrances or dyes and artificial or chemical preservatives in Viva Derm products. So would these facts and the results of softer, smoother skin texture on my hands motivate me to purchase the product? Not really, I suppose, since Viva Derm products are primarily available at spas, salons, dermatologists’ and plastic surgeons’ offices, and probably cost too much for the benefits that could be obtained through other great products that have already been tried and recommended by the reliable Truth In Aging community.

[Editor’s note: Viva Derm’s Vitamin A Serum is available at GeneseeSkincare.com for $55]

Ingredients: Water, L-Retinol, Phosphatidyl Choline, Ceteareth-6 Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Organic Lycium Barbarum Fruit Extract, L-Mandelic Acid, Niacinamide, Arginine, Avocado Oil, Griffonia Simplicifolia Seed Extract, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Rumex Occidentalis Extract, Boswellin, Sacchoromyces Lysate Extract, Leuconostoc, Arundinaria Gigantea Leaf, Sorbus Aucuparia Fruit Ferment, Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower Extract, Glycerin, Beta Glucan, Centella Asiatica Extract, Ubiquinone, Vitis Vinifera Extract, Canadian Willowherb, Aminopropyl Ascorbyl Phospate, L-Proline, D-Alpha Tocopherol, Xanthan Gum and Soy Lecithin