Sunscreen, retinol, antioxidants, peptides; the opinions are never-ending as to what skincare ingredients are necessary in our regiments. However, one ingredient has been recently popping up as another effective anti-aging tool: Growth Factors.
First discovered in the 50’s, the new innovation created a burst of modern research; so much that it was immediately awarded a Nobel Prize. That being said, it hasn’t been until most recently that Growth Factors started getting endorsements from trained professionals such as Dermatologist, Plastic Surgeons, and Estheticians. Yet there’s still some hesitation, even from those who are promoting it. Why is this? To begin, let’s briefly go over what Growth Factors are.
Growth Factors are large proteins naturally found all throughout the body. They float between cells and pass along important messages about growth, healing, and survival. In the skin, these proteins can be found in both the outermost epidermal layer and the deeper dermis.
This is the big question, and we’re here to answer it outright. Growth Factors are culled from human stem cells. The growth factors in our skincare mainly comes from humans, but also sometimes animals. So, how does one get their hands on them? Stem cells can be collected from human skin, fat, bone marrow, umbilical cords, foreskin, and even a fetus. These stem cells produce the growth factors, and are then harvested and go into the product. To be very clear, there are not actual pieces of human skin, or other sources listed above, in the products – solely the proteins they give off.
This is a debate amongst the professionals. Skeptics explain that the Growth Factor molecules are too large to penetrate the skin’s barrier. And the weird thing is, the experts and scientist that research it don’t dispute this thought process. But then we are left to question why multiple studies have shown that growth factors increased collagen and elastin, improved skin thickness, radiance, pigmentation, and texture. How can growth factors actually work if they supposedly can’t penetrate deep into the skin? As it turns out, not every skin-focused growth factor study is a grand slam. A large handful of the studies conducted involve less than 100 subjects, and only a few of these studies follow good scientific practices: such as double-blind and placebo-controlled studies to rid the possibility of bias. So basically, even scientific studies can be misleading when not performed correctly.
The purpose of using products containing growth factors is to increase the rate of growth in cells, leading to thicker, firmer skin. However, the idea of quickly growing cells brings up the worrying risk of cancer. While nothing has been proven yet, it is true the human growth factors cannot tell the difference between normal healthy cells and potentially compromised cells. In addition, if these growth factors are coming from animals, we have no idea how it could interact with or even change our own cells. This is why Michele Hunter, our injector, does not endorse any products with growth factors in it. There] is simply not enough research, so why take the risk. On top of all that, there is always the moral controversy. Like we’ve stated, these growth factors are coming for the stem cells of other human beings/animals. This poses an ethical dilemma for a lot of people, and for good reason.
All-and-all we would not recommend indulging in growth factors. These is almost no studies and research to back up that the product is safe. Stick with a regiment that includes retinol, antioxidants, moisturizers, regular facials, and injectables. This is the safest way to approach anti-aging.