What are the Effects of Growth Factors in Skin Care?

Skin Care
AQ Skin Solutions Active Serum

If there was a skin care ingredient I would stock up on in the next decade, it would be growth factors.

Why? Well, in my opinion, skin cell stimulating growth factors are as close to a drug as it gets. Growth factors in skin care have been shown in peer-reviewed, independent studies to enhance wound healing following dermatological treatments with lasers or dermatologic surgeryreduce wrinkling, and increase skin smoothness.

In a 2007 study in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, subjects used a human growth factor-containing cream on half of their face for sixty days. After the 60-day period, 83% of the subjects showed an improved average wrinkle score in the eye area, while 50% showed an improved average wrinkle score in the mouth area.

The results are dramatic from using growth factors. I would be shocked if they are not more regulated (and hence less available in less potent concentrations over-the-counter) in the future.

Though these photos are all from their parent companies, the results are dramatic and appear (at least to me) not to be edited. Before-and-afters of growth factor products are available from AQ Skin Solutions, Regenica, and Skinmedica.

What is the Best Growth Factor Serum?

AQ Skin Solutions Active Serum Growth Factors Growth Factors

Right now, I prefer AQ Skin Solutions Active Serum ($149, FutureDerm.com/Shop).

I like AQ Skin Solutions because I’m all about high concentrations of active ingredients.AQ Skin Solutions Active Serum, for instance, contains a concentrated blend (over 40%) of stem cell derived growth factors, the highest of any brand that I have seen.

This solution contains even more stem cells than water, which is exceptionally rare to find in a skin care product.

Second, AQ Skin Solutions Active Serum also contains vitamin C (as tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate) and vitamin E. As longtime FutureDerm readers know, these are two of my favorite ingredients, because use of the two ingredients together has been shown to neutralize free radicals and to increase the power of sunscreen (not kidding!) (American Journal of Dermatology2005).

According to the parent company of AQ Skin Solutions Active Serum:

  • Skin looks significantly younger with regular use
  • Diminishes wrinkles and fine lines
  • Gives skin a youthful glow and gradually fades sun/age spots
  • GF (growth factor)-technology restores youthful skin function to repair damage

One final note: Please know that I prefer AQ Skin Solutions Active Serum not because I carry it in the FutureDerm Shop. Rather, I evaluated the serums and their background materials, and I liked AQ Skin Solutions and contacted them to work with them. I carry them in the Shop because they are high-quality and liked them first.

How Do Growth Factors Work in the Skin?


Growth factors are naturally found within the skin. As you age, your body’s natural production and preservation of growth factors slows dramatically.

Growth factors are typically specialized. For instance, the growth factor VEGF lays down fresh blood vessels, whereas the growth factor keratinocyte growth factor stimulates skin care growth.

Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-B) Stimulate collagen secretion
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) Stimulate new blood vessel formation
Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) Stimulate new blood vessel formation
Keratinocyte growth factor (KGF) Stimulate epithelial cell growth
Interleukins (IL-6, IL-7, IL-8) Reduce inflammation
Basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) Promote formation of new blood vessels
Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) Promote cell growth and multiplication
Platelet-derived growth factor AA (PDGF-AA) Regulate cell growth and division
Transforming growth factors (TGF-B2 & B3) Stimulate collagen secretion
Granulocyte monocyte colony stimulating factor Increase number of white blood cells

While there are many different types of growth factors, they all essentially do more or less the same things, exfoliating the skin, reducing fine lines and wrinkles, and improving skin firmness.

Studies also suggest growth factors may increase cellular turnover and regeneration (Clinical Aesthetic Dermatology, 2010; Dermatologic Therapy2007).

How Do I Use This as a Part of a Regimen?


I recommend AQ Skin Solutions Active Serum most for skin that is showing significant signs of aging. AQ Skin Solutions (and growth factors in general) work extremely well on skin that has lost some of its firmness and elasticity already.

In the morning, cleanse, tone (optional), then apply AQ Skin Solutions Active Serum, followed by a sunscreen.

In the evening, cleanse, tone (optional), apply a lightweight retinoid or AHA treatment, then AQ Skin Solutions Active Serum, followed by a moisturizer only if your skin is normal/dry or dry. (Current favorites of mine include AminoGenesis, LARA Beauty, and of course my FutureDerm!)

Note that the form of vitamin C in AQ Skin Solutions Active Serum is tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate and is not acidic, so you can use it in conjunction with a retinoid.

Bottom Line

If you are serious about using effective skin care treatment products, give skin cell growth factors a try. Growth factors in skin care have been shown in peer-reviewed research studies to have potential against fine lines and wrinkles, sagging and lax skin, and dry and non-luminous skin.

As far as the current brands go, I selected AQ Skin Solutions because of their high concentration of growth factors, as well as the fact that their cells are hand-sorted, purifying the solution.

I’m serious about growth factors and I think you might love the results!

What do you think about them? Have questions? Let me know!

Looking for the best skin care? FutureDerm is committed to having its customers find — and create — the best skin care for their individual skin type, concern, and based on your ingredient preferences. Learn more by visiting the FutureDerm shop

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