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Curious About Growth Factors in Skin Care? You May Want to Try Them

SkinMedica's TNS Advanced+ Serum uses growth factor technology

Growth factors sound like something out of a mad scientist’s lab somewhere in Area 51, but they’re actually real, and actually play a significant role in repairing the skin. Adding products with growth factors to your skin care routine can make a real difference in the way your skin looks and feels. Nothing mad about that.

But what are growth factors? How do they work? And what kind of growth-factor skin care should you add into your routine? Sit back, relax and allow us to explain.

What are growth factors?

First things first: Growth factors are present throughout the body, telling cells to heal and, yes, grow. In the skin, they perform a similar function. “They support the repair of damaged skin, help produce new collagen formation [and] help make components which provide elasticity and firmness,” says Dr. Michele Green, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. As we age, the natural production of growth factors slows, hindering skin’s ability to repair itself. The term “growth factors” is plural because skin produces a variety of them, each with a different role in repairing, regenerating and rejuvenating.

How do skin care products with growth factors work?

Growth factors activate different mechanisms in the skin that allow it to repair itself; for instance, “growth factors turn on the collagen-making factory in the skin and also boost elastin production,” says Dr. Peterson Pierre, a board-certified dermatologist at the Pierre Skin Care Institute in Thousand Oaks, CA. “This results in significant improvement in fine lines, wrinkles, tone, texture and discoloration.” Yes, that’s a lot.

Who should use skin care products with growth factors?

Anyone is welcome to dip into these products, as Dr. Pierre explains, because “growth factors are universally well-tolerated, which makes them accessible to every skin type.”

But not everyone really needs them. They’re best for damaged, lined, dull or sagging skin, because “they will help regenerate younger and healthier skin,” says Greene.

How should I add skin care products with growth factors into my routine?

Some experts believe that growth factor products are a milder alternative to retinols for people whose skin can’t tolerate the irritation. Apply the growth-factor product to clean, damp skin, then wait a few minutes for it to sink in before topping with a moisturizer.

Which products have growth factors?

Dermstore carries some of the top skin care products with growth factors on the market.

  1. SkinMedica TNS Advanced+ Serum
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    SkinMedica TNS Advanced+ Serum

    This standout serum packs a one-two punch with the TNS-MR® complex, a blend of growth factors and peptides, and Renessence Advanced, a combination of botanicals, marine extract and peptides to support skin’s repair and renewal functions. Think of this new formula as the sequel to SkinMedica’s best-selling TNS Essential Serum (which has won awards and the respect of top skin care experts)—it’s been shown to deliver visible results in as little as two weeks.

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  2. Neocutis BIO SERUM FIRM
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    Neocutis BIO SERUM FIRM

    The growth factors in Neocutis BIO SERUM FIRM help support the production of collagen (for improved elasticity) and hyaluronic acid (for improved moisturization). It contains acetyl glucosamine to brighten and exfoliate. In other words, it’s a formidable skin-strengthening dynamo.

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  3. Obagi Professional-C Peptide Complex
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    Obagi Professional-C Peptide Complex

    The Obagi Professional-C Peptide Complex features a blend of kinetin and zeatin, two plant-based growth factors that improve skin texture and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. This serum is also packed with a host of potent anti-aging ingredients, like Vitamin C for brightening, peptides to firm and tone the skin and Vitamin E to fight free radical damage.

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  4. iS Clinical Youth Serum
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    iS Clinical Youth Serum

    This treatment from iS Clinical isn’t called “youth serum” for nothing. This serum features a variety of standout anti-aging ingredients, including a powerful antioxidant blend of vitamins A, C and E; centella asiatica, a nourishing antioxidant with potent anti-aging properties; and copper tripeptide, a growth factor that helps visibly reduce wrinkles and reverse the effects of premature aging on the skin.

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  5. miriam quevedo Hair Multiplying Scalp Concentrate + Pre-Treatment Exfoliator
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    miriam quevedo Hair Multiplying Scalp Concentrate + Pre-Treatment Exfoliator

    Your complexion isn’t the only part of your skin that can benefit from growth factors. This unique two-step hair treatment from miriam quevedo is formulated with growth factors that work at the heart of the hair follicle to both prevent and repair hair loss and stimulate growth. The end result? Thicker, healthier hair—and it’s all thanks to growth factors.

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Beauty Reporter

Deanna deBara

Deanna deBara is a freelance writer based in Portland, OR. She focuses mostly on health and wellness content—and with a background in education for the beauty industry, skincare is one of her favorite topics to cover. When she's not busy writing, you're likely to find her hiking in the PNW with her husband and dog, attempting to recreate the masterpieces she sees on The Great British Bake-off, or reading about one of her niche, geek-inspired interests (like retro gaming).
You can follow her on Twitter at @Deanna_deBara.