Growth factors are essential molecules within the skin that are involved in skin repair and regeneration. Growth factors are secreted between cells so they may communicate with each other to induce cell division and tissue remodelling.
Growth factors are cosmeceutical active ingredients that help overcome the signs of photoaging on the skin. Scientific research has shown that when growth factors are combined in cosmeceutical formulations, they can stimulate the production of new collagen, increase epidermal thickness, and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
Growth factors are molecules that are naturally occurring in the skin. They play a large role in remodelling and regeneration of the skin tissue after inflammation or injury. They are produced and released from many different cell types within the skin such as fibroblasts, macrophages, keratinocytes, endothelial cells.
Growth factors allow cells to communicate with other cells in their environment to induce a variety of different processes. Growth factor signalling will stimulate activities such as cell division, cell migration, and gene expression; all of which are involved in the repair and regeneration of the skin.¹
There are many different growth factors that are secreted in the skin. Some examples of growth factors used in the skin tissue are heparin-binding endothelial growth factor (HB-EGF), fibroblast growth factor (FGF), and transforming growth factor beta 1 and 2 (TGF-B1 & TGF-B2).²
In topical cosmeceutical formulations, growth factors rejuvenate and repair the skin. As growth factors stimulate repair and remodelling of the skin, they can stimulate collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid production within the skin to overcome signs of photoaging.
Growth factors are large molecules and traditionally have poor penetration into the skin. They must be combined in sophisticated formulations in order to enhance their penetration into the skin.²
Regardless of this, growth factors have shown to reduce the signs of photoaging including the production of new collagen, epidermal thickening. As well as this they reduce wrinkles, stimulate collagen production and skin cell turnover, when applied to the skin.³⁴⁵
Growth factors can be absorbed via sweat glands and hair follicles within the skin. From here they are recognised by keratinocytes in the epidermis which can then signal to fibroblasts in the dermis. This induces a cross talk between the cells for tissue regeneration. In addition, with age, the skin can become more permeable to larger molecules.²
1. Mehta R, Fitzpatrick R. Endogenous Growth Factors as Cosmeceuticals. Dermatologic Therapy. 2007;20(5):350-359.
2. Husein el Hadmed H, Castillo R. Cosmeceuticals: Peptides, Proteins, and Growth Factors. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. 2016;15(4):514-519.
3. Fitzpatrick R, Rostan E. Reversal of Photodamage with Topical Growth Factors: A Pilot Study. Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy. 2003;5(1):25-34.
4. Ehrlich M, Rao J, Pabby A, Goldman M. Improvement in the Appearance of Wrinkles with Topical Transforming Growth Factor β1 and L-Ascorbic Acid. Dermatologic Surgery. 2006;32(5):618-625.
5. de Araújo R, Lôbo M, Trindade K, Silva D, Pereira N. Fibroblast Growth Factors: A Controlling Mechanism of Skin Aging. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology. 2019;32(5):275-282.
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