They just may be the secret to amazing-looking skin.
Growth factors are one of those often-buzzed about ingredients that are on the tip of everyone’s tongue—and on the packaging of many bottles—but still have some mystery surrounding them. What are they, exactly, and where do they come from? More importantly, what can they actually do for your skin? “Growth factors are naturally-occuring substances that regulate various cellular processes, including growth, proliferation, and differentiation. They are crucial for tissue development, wound healing, and maintaining the overall health and function of cells,” explains Robyn Gmyrek, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. (It also bears mentioning that they can be derived from either human cells or plants.) “When applied topically, growth factor serums may help support collagen production, improve skin elasticity, enhance the skin's natural repair processes, and minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. They can also contribute to hydration and overall skin rejuvenation,” Gmyrek explains. Long story short, they’re a great anti-aging ingredient, targeting a variety of the things that can make us look older than we are. Their other big boon: Unlike other anti-aging ingredients (retinoids, we’re looking at you), growth factors are typically very well-tolerated and unlikely to cause irritation.
A multi-tasking, youth-boosting ingredient that won’t wreak havoc on your skin? Yes, please. However, it is important to note that not all growth factor serums are created equal, Gmyrek points out, and that specific benefits can depend on the overall formulation of the product as well as the particular growth factors being used. So to make your skincare shopping easier, we rounded up some of the best options out there.
Best Overall: Dr. Diamond's Metacine Instafacial Collection
Dr. Jason Diamond is the plastic surgeon to some of the biggest stars out there; the Kardashians and Chrissy Teigen are only a few of his elite patients. He’s well-known for his Diamond InstaFacial, which uses PRP (platelet-rich plasma) derived from your blood along with microneedling and laser. Consider this the at-home version of that in-office treatment, but no blood drawing or devices required. This two-step system consists of a plasma (more of a gel-like, lightweight serum) which contains bioidentical human growth factors that’s meant to be layered under an emulsion. More of a cream, this contains a time-released retinoid plus peptides. The results? Smoother, firmer, more radiant skin. Byrdie’s associate editorial director, commerce, Jill Di Donato is a super-fan, and swears by the combination treatment for smoothing out texture issues and delivering cushiony skin. “My skin literally drinks it up, that’s how well it absorbs. I’ve been using it daily for six weeks and my skin is more firm and bouncy.”
Active Ingredients: Bioidentical human growth factors, peptides, retinoid Benefits: Improves laxity, smoothness, radiance