From a FutureDerm.com reader:
I was wondering about human growth factors in skin care and cheaper alternatives to SkinMedica’s TNS Essential Serum. – M
You’re right to be curious about growth factors. If there was a skin care ingredient I would buy stock on in the next decade (if that were such a thing!), 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 surgery, reduce 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. Dramatic before-and-afters of growth factor products are available from AQ Skin Solutions, Regenica, and Skinmedica.
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.
The Types of Growth Factors
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.
Cheaper Alternatives to Skinmedica?
Unfortunately, there aren’t many products with growth factors that aren’t as expensive (or more expensive) than the Skinmedica TNS Essential Serum that you mentioned. For all the transparency nowadays in the pricing behind skincare, you won’t see cheap and reliable growth factor serums anytime soon. You just can’t source human growth factors from any laboratory or manufacturer very cheaply and reliably at the same time, at least not right now.
That said, the most inexpensive growth factor serum I have found is Rhonda Allison Growth Factor Serum which is $70, rather than the $130-$180 per ounce that the Skinmedica currently goes for. The big difference is that the Rhonda Allison product contains the growth factor EGF, which may help to lay down new skin cell growth, blood vessels, and regulation, whereas the TNS product contains “human conditioned media,” which is likely to be a mix of growth factors cultured from grown and conditioned human stem cells.
Hope this helps,