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.