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When it comes to skincare, most dermatologists will agree there are three essentials for healthy skin: Sunscreen, antioxidants, and a retinol (or retinoid). Opinions begin to vary once you step beyond this protective and corrective trifecta—and growth factors are often part of the anti-aging ingredient conversation.
Simply put, growth factors are naturally occurring proteins that promote cellular growth, proliferation and healing. In terms of benefits for your skin, growth factors can help improve fine lines and wrinkles, enhance skin firmness, fade the appearance of scars and more. While that’s easy enough to understand, growth factors are biologically active, which makes formulating effective skincare products that harness their regenerating power is a bit more difficult.
This is why it’s so important to be selective when incorporating growth factors into your skincare regimen to get the results you want.
Here are a few tried-and-true choices that have the research and proof to back up their claims, plus high marks from dermatologists and aesthetic plastic surgeons.
ZO Skin Health Growth Factor Serum
Ideal for all skin types that want to get in on the growth factor game, this lightweight gel does a lot more than smooth the look of fine lines and wrinkles. It also promotes an overall brighter complexion with more even skin tone, protects against future signs of aging and helps reinforce the skin’s barrier, which translates to less irritation and optimal skin hydration. As Beverly Hills dermatologist Sameer Bashey explains, “My patients really like this as an integral component of an age-reversing regimen. It helps to improve sun damage and chronological aging and the peptides and stem cells also prevent future signs of aging from appearing.”
RéVive Moisturizing Renewal Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 15
One of the first skincare lines to feature epidermal growth factors (and perform the research to support their product claims), RéVive taps into a patented, Nobel Prize-winning complex of bio-engineered growth factors and proteins that help the skin act younger. Easy to incorporate into any anti-aging regimen, this powerful daytime moisturizer with SPF 15 encourages cell renewal for visibly healthier skin in a matter of days. P.S. ReVive was created by Dr. Gregory Bays Brown, a plastic surgeon from Louisville, KY.
Environ Vita-Enriched Colostrum Gel
Formulated with a high concentration of bovine (cow-derived) colostrum—which is naturally packed with growth factors—this soothing serum is ideal for both sensitive skin and those with visible signs of aging and sun damage. Designed to boost the skin’s resistance to internal and external stress, it also provides antioxidant protection courtesy of green tea and vitamins C and E. Environ was also created by a plastic surgeon, Dr Dev Fernandes of Capetown, South Africa.
SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum
Sometimes you do get what you pay for, and if you’re wondering why one bottle of this anti-aging elixir costs $320, it’s because this formula contains 93.6% stabilized human growth factor. For many, that’s a small price to pay for significant improvement in wrinkles, texture and skin tone in as little as one month. But let it be known, this product has a distinct scent so you may want to test it in person before you “add to cart.”
In-Office: AmnioFix injections
Originally developed to enhance healing and reduce the formation of scar tissue in the sports medicine arena, the regenerative benefits of AmnioFix make it a powerful weapon for anti-aging. According to Dr. Gary Goldenberg of Goldenberg Dermatology in New York City, “What was once only commonly used for orthopedic and wound care is now a game-changer for augmenting response to fillers, laser resurfacing, hair growth and microneedling.” Derived from amniotic sacs donated by healthy, consenting mothers after normal full-term births (and extensively screened similarly to blood donations), this tissue contains 226 different types of growth factors and other specialized proteins that Dr. Goldenberg calls, “A true breakthrough in the world of dermatology.”