What Are Growth Factors?
“When it comes to effective skincare ingredients, a few major players come to mind, like sunscreen, antioxidants, peptides, and retinol,” shares Nikki Donovan, a licensed medical aesthetician at Sanova Dermatology in Austin, Texas. “But another active ingredient has entered the game and is getting a lot of attention… growth factors,” she continues.
What is this ingredient, and why is it being used in skincare products?
What are Growth Factors?
Growth factors are large proteins found throughout the body. They float between your cells, sending messages that help with healing, growth, and survival.
Growth factors are made by all types of cells. When they bind to receptors on cell surfaces, they order cells to do certain things, like create collagen and elastin, improve blood flow, etc.
Growth factors help with collagen production and heal damage by influencing fibroblasts. Fibroblasts are a special type of cell found in the connective tissue. Whenever tissue is injured, fibroblasts start multiplying and make their way to the wound to speed up the healing process by producing more collagen.
“By the time we reach our late 20s, we start producing less growth factor, and these processes happen less efficiently and more slowly,” shares Donovan.
As cell growth slows down, our skin loses its suppleness and becomes thinner. Collagen production declines, and elastic fibers begin to stiffen.
Why are Growth Factors in Skin Care Products?
Because of their ability to trigger collagen and elastin production, it makes sense that growth factors are being formulated into skincare products. Growth factors can also be found in platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections.
When applied topically, growth factors can help make the skin look more youthful and radiant.
The growth factors found in skincare products are either engineered in a lab, or they come from human stem cells taken from skin, bone marrow, fat or umbilical cords. Stem cells don’t necessarily need to come from skin sources to benefit the skin.
Just to be clear: you’re not actually applying bits of bone marrow or umbilical cords onto your skin. These products merely contain the proteins that they emit.
Growth factors can give your skincare regimen a little extra boost, but it’s important to choose a product that is backed by research and works well for your skin. Contact Sanova Dermatology today to learn more about human growth factors and our cosmetic dermatology services.