Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a fountain of youth, but technological advances in skin care treatments are slowly but surely bringing us closer to it. The latest advance in this direction might be skin creams containing human growth factor — namely products by SkinMedica and Regenica that we’ll discuss below.
What Is Human Growth Factor?
Akin to the active ingredient in stem cells, growth factor is a naturally occurring substance capable of stimulating cellular growth — from proliferation to differentiation and healing. Most relevant to the skin, human growth factor can trigger collagen production and healing, which can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and other signs of aging.
We’re born with growth factor in our skin but as we age the supply diminishes over time. However, when human growth factor is included in serums, lotions and other topical skin products, they can trigger the skin’s natural healing process, which in turn stimulates collagen production. As Dr. Ronald Moy, former president of the American Academy of Dermatology, explained to Yahoo Beauty:
When delivered to an area of the nerves, skin, tissue or cartilage, they read the signals of neighboring cells, then morph into whatever healthy cell types that surround that area, therefore repairing nerve, skin, tissue and cartilage damage. And in the beauty space, that means a new way to regenerate all kinds of skin deterioration — including aging, sun damage and more. By replacing growth factors in our dermis and epidermis, we lessen the symptoms of aging, like thinning skin or sagging under the eye.
Applying growth factor to damaged skin can revitalize the tissue in that area and result in younger-looking skin. And while growth factor is also present in plant tissues and especially stem cells, this type doesn’t have as strong an effect upon human skin as, well, human growth factor.
Where It Comes From
And that’s why products containing growth factor might run a bit higher in price than other varieties — the compound with the significant rejuvenating effect upon our skin is the variety that is extracted from human stem cells, such as umbilical cords, discarded foreskin, or fat tissue.
That type of extraction for use in topical applications has been pioneered by Allergan subsidiary SkinMedica, which was first to come out with a human growth factor-based skincare product, TNS Recovery Complex.
Here’s how it’s described by Rahul C. Mehta, vice president of research and development at SkinMedica:
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 ComplexTM) 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.
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.
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.
More recently, Suneva Medical subsidiary Regenica followed suit with its own product in this space, Rejuvenating Dual Serum. It uses a so-called “next-generation” growth factor technology called MRCx.
Here’s how the company described it to Dermatology Times:
Growth factors are important in reversing both the intrinsic and extrinsic signs of aging. … through the course of aging, even starting in our 30s, our skin cells start making less growth factors; they start making less collagen, less elastin. The skin thins out; the dermis decreases…What we really want to do is help reverse it, by being able to provide a growth factor that’s a type of replacement therapy. We need to go and replace the growth factor composition and quantity that you had when your skin was young….
Regenica Rejuvenating Dual Serum has two chambers. The first has a 95% concentration of MRCx, the company’s proprietary blend of growth factors, cytokines and proteins. The second chamber includes advanced copper peptides, amino acids, antioxidants and plant-based extracts.
Users pump the airless pump and mix the two chambers with their fingers before applying the cosmeceutical once in the morning and once at night.
In an ongoing clinical study where 40 women with varying Fitzpatrick skin types are using the Dual Serum twice daily, the investigator and/or subjects have reported significant improvements in four outcomes: skin hydration, radiance, firmness and the reduction of the appearance of fine lines…
…As early as 14 days, the patients reported a 17% reduction in the appearance of fine lines and, by 30 days, the 17% went up to 22% improvement in fine lines. In 30 days, the investigator also reported 31% improvement in the firmness of the skin, as well as a 31% improvement in the skin radiance. … there was improvement in skin hydration as early as 14 days, with a 33% improvement … at day 30…
More than 97% of patients were satisfied with the serum at 30 days and would also recommend the product to a friend, according to company news.
Other important points… are that Regenica Rejuvenating Dual Serum does not include bovine, and serum cells for the product are grown in completely closed computer operated bioreactive systems.
…Instead of having the cells fed daily with bovine serum, which results in a very sticky and unpleasant odor, and some people are allergic to bovine materials, we were able to replace that with human recombinant albumin, which is therapeutic grade material. It has a very lovely consistency and fragrance… The second thing is we grow our cells in completely closed computer operated bioreactive systems … so we do not have any need to have any artificial coloring in the material.
If you are interested in trying either Regenica or SkinMedica products with human growth factor, come on down to Hayes Valley Medical & Esthetics and ask for a sample.