What Are Growth Factors and Why Do We Need Them in Skin Care Products?
Growth factors are natural substances made by skin cells to maintain healthy skin. They are responsible for supporting the repair of damaged skin, making components that provide firmness and elasticity to the skin while helping to maintain skin’s protective functions. They are NOT Growth Hormones! Aging and sun-damaged skin require growth factors to maintain itself. However cells in aging skin make less growth factors than cells in youthful skin. One approach to support the levels of skin rejuvenation is to regularly use skin care products with a high concentration of stable growth factors.
Where Do Growth Factors in Skin Care Products Come From?
Advances in biotechnology over the past decade have created multiple sources of growth factors. They can be derived from several different human cells grown in a laboratory (skin cells, bone marrow stem cells, fat stem cells), extracted from one’s own blood (PRP - Platelet Rich Plasma) or from non-human sources such as snails and some plants. While all cells can produce growth factors, the composition of the growth factor blend they produce is likely to be ideal for the health of cells that produce them.
For example, fat stem cells are likely to produce growth factors that help the functioning of fat cells and bone marrow stem cells are likely to produce growth factors that help with functioning of bone marrow. Similar logic can be applied to growth factors or growth factor-like substances derived from non-human sources. Therefore, to maintain optimal skin health, ideal growth factors would be produced by skin cells, called fibroblasts, whose main function is to produce the components necessary to support the skin.
Do Growth Factors Really Work?
Several clinical studies, over the past 15 years, have highlighted the benefits of topically applied growth factor products showing improvements in the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, texture, and discoloration. The studies show that, depending on the quality of skin, good results take 6-12 weeks of twice a day use. The diligence is definitely worth it as the improvement in skin appearance is very impressive! Most studies show visible reduction in crow’s feet lines, under-eye skin texture, and overall radiance. Combinations of growth factors with strong antioxidants tend to show results sooner, typically within 4-8 weeks. TNS Essential Serum® provides a combination of stable growth factors (TNS Recovery Complex®) with strong antioxidants (APS Corrective Complex) designed to provide this rapid effect. Over 11 clinical studies have been conducted looking at cosmetic efficacy with TNS Essential Serum® with results showcasing its ability to improve the overall appearance of skin. These are more studies than any other topical cosmetic growth factor product in the market today.
How Does TNS Essential Serum® Stand Out from Other Growth Factor Products on the Market?
TNS Recovery Complex® is the first topical cosmetic made almost entirely of stabilized human growth factor (93.6%). The growth factors are harvested using a patented process that ensures their stability and activity. Furthermore, TNS Recovery Complex® formulation and manufacturing process maintains the stability of active growth factors. Multiple published studies in scientific journals and conferences have verified the presence of active growth factors in TNS Recovery Complex®. Carefully selected antioxidants and peptides present in TNS Essential Serum® complement the benefits of growth factors.
What Other Products Should I Use with Growth Factors?
A good skin care regimen requires regular use of an SPF 30 or higher broad-spectrum sunscreen. Protecting newly rejuvenated skin is essential in maintaining results. Free radicals produced by sun exposure, smoking, and pollution can damage skin rapidly, negating any benefits of growth factors. Antioxidants, such as Vitamin C, neutralize free radicals and provide an extra layer of protection beyond sunscreen alone. SkinMedica® Total Defense + Repair provides protection from sun exposure and free radicals. For more serious skin concerns, Vitamin A (retinol) may be added to the regimen with growth factor products. Retinol works slightly differently than growth factors so the combination would provide a better outcome than either one alone. Talk to your skin care provider about a complete regimen that is right for you.
Who Should Use Growth Factor Products?
Clinical results show that growth factor products benefit anyone with visible signs of facial aging. While women with early signs of aging may benefit by using growth factors, most significant visible improvements in skin are seen in women with greater photodamage and mature skin. Twice a day use with diligence is the key to maximizing benefits from growth factors products. Your skin care professional can advise whether or not products containing growth factors are right for you.
Rahul C. Mehta, PhD, VP Research & Development, SkinMedica®, An Allergan Company
Rahul C. Mehta, PhD is Vice President of Research & Development for SkinMedica®. He is a pharmacist by training with over 30 years of experience in pharmaceutical research and development. He has authored or co-authored over 50 research publications and book chapters, over 150 poster presentations and multiple patents in pharmaceutical sciences. Dr. Mehta is strongly committed to bringing pharmaceutical level evidence-based skin care with strong biology and clinical science for creation of multi-modality holistic skin care products.