A Dermatologist Shares Everything You Need to Know About Growth Factors

Posted by Ingrie WIlliams on

Collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid are all well-known for their biological roles in creating firm, plump, radiant and hydrated skin. They’re also popular topical ingredients found in the most effective anti-aging formulas – and skin growth factors are in the same winner’s circle. Internally, growth factors are another important player in the crucial collaboration that forms a strong skin structure. And, as a topical ingredient that leads to impressive results, they have a lot to offer, too. Here’s what you need to know about the skin care innovation that’s highly recommended by derms.

What are Growth Factors and How do They Work?

“Growth factors are proteins secreted by our own cells to help with cell growth, function and survival,” says Dr. Linda Xing, a dermatologist and micrographic surgeon at Rejuvenation, which has clinics in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario. When it comes to our skin, growth factors lead to the production of collagen and elastin, as well as many other vital components that contribute to skin quality. EGF (epidermal growth factor) and FGF (fibroblast growth factor) are two types of proteins that pertain to healthy skin, impacting the superficial and deeper layers of the epidermal structure. EGFs stimulate cell growth and differentiation, and FGFs are responsible for the development and maintenance of connective tissue and wound repair.

During our first two decades of life, our bodies produce generous amounts of growth factors. At this stage, skin cells can turnover frequently to reveal a fresh-looking face. Skin has a dense, cushiony quality and reparative functions are energized which helps wounds heal quickly. “As we mature, there is decreased production of growth factors, which lead to the visible signs of age,” says Dr. Xing. Over time, you’ll notice that cell turnover slows down, and that skin becomes duller, thinner and more fragile. A mature epidermis also loses its natural ability to protect itself and stay hydrated, and all of this results in fine lines, wrinkles, roughness and a lackluster tone.

How are Growth Factors Used in Topical Skin Care?

As a skin care ingredient, growth factors can boost natural cell functions that have slowed due to aging and have a rejuvenating effect on skin. “Growth factors can be purified from a variety of sources, like human cells such as fibroblasts, stem cells or lipocytes, or from animal or plant sources. These are then made commercially available in skin care products,” explains Dr. Xing.

The benefits of growth factors are extensive and include helping to stimulate collagen and elastin production, improving overall skin health with an emphasis on skin repair, and enhancing the appearance of the skin by plumping and visibly reducing wrinkles. Growth factors can communicate to skin cells that oversee turnover and growth and help skin function more efficiently – like it did in its youth. With regular use, you can expect a complexion that’s plumper, firmer, and smoother, plus more radiant, and better hydrated.

What Makes Vivier’s Growth Factor Products Different?

The GrenzCine collection contains Polyamine-DAB, a polyamine growth factor that works from the outside in. “In clinical and basic science research, we know that polyamines lead to increased skin thickness and firmness,” says Dr. Xing. It stimulates your body’s own growth factors to work more efficiently, instead of introducing foreign plant- or human-based growth factors. 

Polyamines are amino acid compounds that are naturally occurring and present in the human body, and every living organism. Essential to healthy skin, amino acids can help with a range of dermal needs, such as restoring, soothing and strengthening. As we age, our levels of polyamines significantly decline, which leads to visible signs of aging and thin skin. Research has confirmed polyamines allow for the proper functioning of our skin and bodies. By applying topical polyamines to mature skin, an increase in firmness, hydration, luminosity and elasticity can occur, along with a diminishment of fine lines and wrinkles.

The GrenzCine collection is backed by more than 30 years of clinical research and has been proven to thicken skin and boost skin’s volume that’s been lost due to aging. Developed as a multi-layer, multi-function approach to aging skin, the name refers to the Grenz Zone which is the layer between the epidermis (the outermost layer) and the dermis (the thicker layer of tissue deep below) where nutrients that are important to healthy skin are exchanged.

Who Should Use Skin Care With Growth Factors?

With an ability to address universal issues, such as fine lines, texture and tone, anyone concerned with signs of aging can benefit from using skin care with growth factors. “I love recommending the GrenzCine line to my patients of all skin types who are interested in tackling early signs of aging through skin care,” says Dr. Xing. 

She also notes that products containing growth factors are ideal for people who have a thin and crepey texture to their skin. They’re also a good fit for many people who may be skeptical about introducing other anti-aging ingredients that have a reputation of being irritating to the skin, “These patients may prefer to start with growth factor products which are easier to tolerate,” suggests Dr. Xing. 

As with any other formulas, layering products from thinnest to thickest works best. If you’re using a growth factor serum, apply two to three drops to freshly cleansed skin twice a day, pressing a light layer onto the face, neck, chest and the back of your hands. GrenzCine Serum is a growth factor serum that also contains 10% Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that works from the inside out, protecting skin from free radical damage and boosting collagen production which helps to thicken and brighten the skin. In the morning you can follow the serum with your favourite moisturizer and don’t forget to use a daily sunscreen to protect against the sun’s harmful UV rays, says Dr.Xing. In the evening you can follow with a target treatment, such as retinol for maximum anti-aging benefits.

Can Skin Care With Growth Factors Be Used With Other Anti-Aging Products?

Because the process of skin aging is multifactorial, growth factors can be used in conjunction with other anti-aging products, says Dr. Xing. Many growth factor products, including Vivier’s GrenzCine line, are formulated to work alongside retinoids, Vitamin C, and alpha hydroxy acids, and there are multiple benefits to using these ingredients together.

With the ability to deliver a firmer, plumper and more hydrated complexion with fewer fine lines and wrinkles, growth factors can elevate your skin care routine. It’s important to remember that not all skin care products are created equal and some combinations of ingredients may not be suitable for all skin types. Before starting a new skin care regimen, it’s recommended to consult with a dermatologist or skin care professional, especially if you have problematic skin.

Dr Linda Xing is micrographic surgeon and dual board-certified dermatologist in both Canada and the US. Her passion for reconstructive surgery and aesthetic treatments has always been fueled by her artistic and meticulous nature. She believes in using a personalized approach to meet the expectations of her patients. She’s currently the medical director at Rejuvenation Dermatology Group in Oakville, Ontario.  

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