by Jessica Ourisman

The Sufi poet Rumi once wrote, “There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” As a beauty editor, I often think of this quote when imagining new beauty regimens. So many factors go into finding what ingredients, formulas, and treatments work for a particular complexion. There is no singular “right way” for every beauty lover to get the results they want.

It was thus the versatility of the Bioeffect EGF Serum that initially piqued my interest. The Iceland-based biotech brand uses a botanically-derived form of Epidermal Growth Factor from barley that can be used on its own as a gentle, retinol-alternative, or in conjunction with the dermatologically-beloved vitamin A-derivative for an added, anti-aging boost.

Epidermal growth factor is a signaling protein that targets cell turnover and increases the presence of structural proteins in the skin like collagen and elastin, as well as hydration powerhouse hyaluronic acid. Supporting these components of the skin — which naturally begin to decline at the age of 25 — means helping to buffer your complexion from the typical signs of aging like wrinkles, crepiness, sagging, et al. It also supports the integrity of the skin barrier, a protective layer of the skin that keeps moisture in and irritants, aggressors, and pathogens out.
EGF has been cited as a gentle-yet-effective active ingredient for treating anti-aging skin quality concerns, as well as treating skin tone, texture, healing, and scarring. But what stands out about it is how EGF treats the skin without the photosensitivity, irritation, redness, flaking, or damage to the outermost layer of the skin — all of which are associated with retinol. This means that it can be used as a retinol-alternative for those that cannot tolerate the active ingredient.

But even if you do use retinol, the good news is the ingredients work even better when applied together. There is even a study to highlight that retinoic acid (what retinol is converted to once on the skin) might “enhance the EGF stimulation of cell growth” in the skin. Lastly, retinol can actually help the large molecular size of EGF to penetrate more deeply into the skin, while EGF’s hydrating helps to address some of the more corrosive elements of retinol. This is especially true of Bioeffect’s EGF Serum, as the formula contains hydrophilic hyaluronic acid, humectant glycerin, and mineral-rich Icelandic water.

When I’m using the Bioeffect EGF Serum, I only use one-to-two drops to cover my entire face, which is more than enough. This means the one 15ml bottle lasts me for ages (3-6 months), and I love knowing that it can amplify the effects of my preferred retinol. I typically apply it at night after toning. Then, I let it absorb before adding my retinol on top. The serum is clear and looks like water, but has a slightly thicker viscosity, so while you will feel it on your skin, it won’t leave behind a greasy or tacky feel. Then I follow up with a nighttime moisturizer.

Like most skincare products, it will take time for the effects to show on the skin (about 30 days) but they will come. I love Bioeffect’s form of plant-based EGF so much that their body serum has been a staple in my regimen for years.

213Deli editors are beauty experts with eons of years of experience under our belts. We’ve tried it all and keep on trying everything new that comes out in an effort to save you the headache of wasting your time and money on things that aren’t worth it. We only write about and recommend products we truly love and are pretty sure you’ll also love. All products are chosen independently by our editorial team. If you buy something we link to, 213Deli may earn a commission.