Ever scraped your elbow and marveled at just how quickly it heals? Your skin, through a biological process involving naturally occurring proteins known as growth factors, regenerates in the area, effectively healing the wound. And guess what? The next frontier of skin care stems from growth factors’ laundry list of mega-regenerative capabilities.
“Growth factor skin care helps to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, speed up healthy cellular turnover, stimulate hydration via hyaluronic acid production, and aid in vascular permeability and the formation of new blood vessels for increased oxygenation and nutrition to the skin for overall repair,” says board-certified oculofacial plastic surgeon Dr. Chaneve Jeanniton at Brooklyn Face & Eye in Brooklyn, New York. Translation: “This means that growth factors can comprehensively help fine lines and wrinkles, lost elasticity, discoloration/sunspots while brightening the skin.”
Dr. Jeanniton walked us through growth factors’ burgeoning role in serums and creams in “Need to Know: Growth Factors in Topical Skin Care,” and she reports that in-office treatments are where these skin healers can truly work their magic. Why? Due to growth factors’ larger molecular size, they can have issues with penetrating an intact stratum corneum. But if a skin care professional creates micro-tears in the skin or injects the growth factors via needle, these skin healers can effectively signal skin cells to get to work regenerating damage. “Yes, in-office treatments are more potent because the procedures help to create direct pathways for growth factor delivery beyond the surface of the skin. Also, the very act of creating punctures in the skin stimulates the skin’s own growth factors to fire naturally,” she says.
Curious about which growth factor treatment to get? Here, Dr. Jeanniton breaks down those to keep on your radar.
PRP and Nanofat
First things first: You’ll want growth factors in your in-office treatment, and the best of the best are actually extracted from you. This is done in two ways: As platelet-rich plasma (PRP), which your doctor derives from a small vial of your blood after placing it in a centrifuge, or nanofat, which involves extracting a few tubes of your fat through a small liposuction procedure, washing the withdrawn fat in a special device that minimizes its size and then passing it through special screens until it’s nano-sized.
Microneedling + PRP or Nanofat
Imagine electing to have a ton of microscopic punctures in your face: That’s microneedling, a minimally invasive treatment that utilizes a dermaroller containing micro-fine needles that range in diameter from 0.5 to 2.5 millimeters. These little pinpricks help facilitate the delivery of growth factor-rich PRP or nanofat deep into the skin. “This is great for all skin types and almost all ages. I love this combination for correcting acne scarring, but this procedure is also extremely helpful if you’re looking for more hydrated, glowing, smooth skin,” says Dr. Jeanniton.
Laser Resurfacing + PRP or Nanofat
For those who desire skin rejuvenation at a deeper level, laser resurfacing’s short, concentrated pulsating beams of light aid in removing the top layers of skin to reveal healthier, more youthful skin. When paired with growth factors, this treatment option not only speeds up skin’s recovery (remember, growth factors heal wounds!), but also works to smooth the skin surface, improve elasticity, and correct pigmentation issues like dark spots or sun damage, according to Dr. Jeanniton. She also points to a fractional resurfacing and growth factor combo, in which only certain areas of the face are lasered while the rest of the skin is left intact. “This pattern of laser treatment is advantageous for minimizing downtime,” she says.
Targeted Microinfusions of PRP or Nanofat
This highly personalized procedure delivers growth factors (either from PRP or nanofat) to targeted areas via injection, and is often done in tandem with fillers (Dr. Jeanniton prefers hyaluronic acid fillers). Looking gaunt? If you’re seeking to restore volume to your face or address the hollows below your eyes, this is the treatment for you. “The benefit of growth factor injections is that you can achieve gorgeous nuanced results where skin is thinner, such as the delicate eye area — an area where we strive for the most natural-looking results,” says Dr. Jeanniton.
Read more about growth factors here.