Social media may have made “influencer” one of the most ubiquitous professions of our digital era, but when it comes to the OG of having an effect on behavior, that distinction goes to growth factors.
Our bodies are loaded with growth factors—the large proteins that float between cells, signaling growth, healing, and cell survival. In the skin, there are two types: keratinocytes, which you see every time you look at your skin because they live in our epidermis; and two forms that live deep down in the dermis –fibroblasts, which pump out collagen, and melanocytes, which make pigment. The whole idea behind these growth factors is that they speak to the cells, telling them to create more healthy cells (for wound repair or just healthy skin growth), or instructing them to repair damaged cells. Think anti-aging influencers.
How important are epidermal growth factors to anti-aging? Consider this: After scientists Stanley Cohen and Rita Levi-Montalcini discovered the epidermal growth factor as a signaling molecule that “stimulates the growth of epidermal tissues during development and throughout life,” they won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1986.
SO, WHAT EXACTLY IS A GROWTH FACTOR?
One form of growth factors hails directly from human stem cells, such as the skin, fat, bone marrow, umbilical cords, etc. But don’t worry—these are simply proteins, not actually biological parts (so there’s no ick factor). The second form of skincare growth factors is bioengineered in a lab. These are designed to speak to the fibroblasts as soon as they’re applied to the skin, and these are found in Perricone MD's High Potency Growth Factor Firming & Lifting Serum.
“The new Perricone MD product contains synthetic polyamine skin growth factor, which is believed to be superior to other options,” says Perricone Chief Innovation Officer Chris Caires. Perricone MD’s synthetic form is bioengineered to better penetrate the skin’s surface.
“The word growth factor is a big tent with lots of different types of molecules inside of it,” explains Caires. “We use a trio of naturally occuring polyamine growth factors that are molecularly identical to what is found in nature. There are peptides and other types of molecules that people call growth factors that may or may not share the same benefits as these polyamines.“
Studies have shown that one of our polyamines can actually delay age-related disease. An increased uptake of it has even been shown to reduce cardiovascular and cancer-related deaths. A polyamine plays many roles in cell growth and survival. Because polyamine levels decrease as we age, supplementation has been shown to increase life spans.
When it comes to anti-aging results for our skin, polyamines “improves skin elasticity and help promote youthful, collagen-rich, and visibly firmer skin by replenishing moisture and distributing more polyamines in the skin,” says Caires. “Perricone MD High Potency Growth Factor Firming & Lifting Serum helps to capture the look of youthfulness that fades as we age.”
“It actually contains the highest concentration of polyamine growth factor available to counteract the skin’s reduction of growth factors as we age,” explains Perricone Director of Education Rosalba Martone. “It improves the feel of skin, increases elasticity, and helps promote the look of youthful, collagen-rich and visibly firmer skin by replenishing moisture.”
HOW GROWTH FACTORS “INFLUENCE” HOW SKIN AGES AND REPAIRS ITSELF
When you suffer an injury, it’s your fibroblasts that spring into action, forcing the body to create more collagen—it’s what scar tissue is made from. Your fibroblasts know how to make at least a dozen different types of collagen, and that includes the collagen that’s being depleted in your skin from environmental hazards like UV rays and free radicals.
Studies have shown that wound healing is dependent on growth factor because it’s one of the key signaling molecules in stimulating “epithelial cell motility”. In other words, growth factors are what allow cells to rush to the wound site, covering it and restoring the barrier function that healthy skin should have. These studies show that epidermal growth factor “is a major stimulator of fibroblast migration and wound contraction.”
One recent study examined 12 patients who required skin grafting for either burns or reconstructive surgery. One donor site from each patient was treated topically with silver sulfadiazine cream, and one was treated with silver sulfadiazine cream containing epidermal growth factor. The donor sites treated with the epidermal growth factor formula had a faster rate of recovery in all patients. Treatment with epidermal growth factor decreased the average healing time by approximately one to 1.5 days.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN WHEN IT COMES TO ANTI-AGING BENEFITS?
We know that the aging of our skin is caused by both intrinsic (or internal) changes and extrinsic (external) damage. As we age, changes occur in the dermis, which is mostly composed of a dense, collagen-rich extracellular matrix (ECM). This matrix is what provides the scaffolding for our skin, so to speak. As it breaks down, the support our skin cells need is worn away, creating the sag we see when we look in the mirror.
Because extrinsic aging is caused by actual damage to our skin, what’s happening to our complexions can actually be compared to wounds being created—from UV rays, the depletion of antioxidants, inflammation, and more. Whereas intrinsically aged skin may show lines and wrinkles, and not be as firm as it once was, extrinsically aged skin is thicker with abnormal collagen and elastin growth. When you compare the treatment of damaged skin to the treatment of wounded skin, it makes sense that growth factors play a role and that studies indicate that topically applied growth factors promote skin rejuvenation, especially when it comes to extrinsically aged skin.
GROWTH FACTOR’S “INFLUENTIAL” ANTI-AGING FRIENDS
Perricone MD High Potency Growth Factor Firming & Lifting Serum supports our skin’s own youth-generating properties by combining growth factors with retinol and eggshell membrane, each of which serves a unique anti-aging purpose.
Eggshell membrane: The thin layer that lines the eggshell nourishes and protects the precious egg components. It provides all of the nutrients and factors the embryo needs to develop in a short period of time, supplying both antioxidants and nutrients. Made of insoluble protein keratin, it works like a gatekeeper. It also helps to visibly diminish signs of aging, redness and discoloration.
Encapsulated retinol: It reduces the look of fine lines, wrinkles and discoloration by accelerating surface skin exfoliation and renewal. The encapsulation process protects the retinol from oxidation, degradation and evaporation so it stays effective longer. It also allows for a unique slow-release carrier system that helps calm the skin and creates far less irritation than traditional retinol products.
When it comes to skincare, using premium ingredients that can influence our appearance - and yes, aging - is integral to maintaining youthful looking skin. To find out what your skin needs, and more about Perricone MD products like the new High Potency Growth Factor Firming & Lifting Serum, take our consultation here.