Dr. Taub quoted on Cosmetic Surgery Forum

February 24, 2017
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Cosmetic Surgery Forum
February 24, 2017

“Like many of her colleagues, Dr. Amy Taub of Chicago, IL, feels that Dr. Fitzpatrick’s work was vital to the development of growth factors as we know them today.  “Dr. Richard Fitzpatrick was one of the first to realize that the wound healing pathway had many elements in common with skin aging mechanisms and tried to develop a skin care line to address this specific pathway. He helped to develop SkinMedica and TNS Essential Serum was the first product introducing human growth factors. Although many questioned whether they could be absorbed or even if they had any function, the overwhelming response by patients and the longevity of these products showing clinical benefits swayed me to believe. Most cosmeceuticals have small pilot type studies that show clinical or even some type of objective data. SkinMedica was one of the few skin care companies that did put together some data that was convincing.”

But even with all of the advances made in the last 18 years, growth factors have still been steeped in controversy and concerns over carcinogenesis (thought they have not manifested clinically), have not been put completely to rest.  This has opened the door to serious scrutiny and even some legal action.  In a 2015 Dermatology Times Modern Medicine.com article, Dr. Zoe Diana Draelos, MD, summed up the legal woes then faced by the growth factor product industry:  “Recently, there was a legal challenge…stating that the [GFs]…were responsible for the induction of skin cancers. The suit seemed to be a test case for a larger class action suit… [but] demonstrating that [GFs] caused the skin cancers when skin cancers are common in the general population was challenging and the suit did not progress.” Are Growth Factors Safe in Cosmetics?

With all of the givens and the unknowns, it is understandable that there would be controversy around growth factors.  From the sources from which they are derived to the potential for efficacy and need for technology to help them traverse the stratum corneum, it is no wonder that our very own Cosmetic Surgery Forum (CosmeticSurgeryForum.com) faculty do not all agree on the role of growth factors in skin care.

Dr. Matt Zirwas of Columbus, OH, feels that “growth factors in skin care products are good for marketing, and totally worthless when it comes to actual results.  Growth factors are proteins.  Topically applied proteins cannot penetrate through intact stratum corneum to the living epidermis, hence cannot stimulate growth or the production of anything. Now, growth factors used in conjunction with microneedling, resurfacing, fractional resurfacing or injection are certainly effective.”

In speaking further with Dr. Taub, she shared that in spite of the controversy over the last 18 years she finds growth factors to be instrumental to the skin care regimens she recommends for her patients.  “I call them the ‘Core 4’: Sunscreen, Antioxidant, Exfoliant and Growth Factors.  Albeit very simplified, it helps me to explain to patients why they might need multiple products or products with multiple ingredients to achieve all the functions necessary to keep the skin healthy.

“Since Dr. Fitzpatrick first introduced SkinMedica we have had other growth factors available, particularly NEOCUTIS products, which to me are much more aesthetically pleasing and at least as effective.  More recently the NEOCUTIS company wanted to put to rest the controversy regarding human-sourced products (used in both TNS and PSP) so they developed MPC, a mix of proprietary and non-proprietary peptides that stimulate our own internal growth factors instead of adding growth factors themselves.

“The newest growth factor entrant is DefenAge, taking the idea one step further to stimulate an actual single stem cell component present in our hair follicles called LGR6+ that is the main loci of developing new basal cells in the epidermis after wounding. Instead of adding growth factors to enable wound healing/anti-aging, or to stimulate cells (which are old themselves) to produce more growth factors we are stimulating a stem cell locus within our own cells that can produce brand new cells.

“I believe the growth factor story represents a significant step forward in our understanding of the biology of the skin and our attempts to modulate it to our advantage.” Read Full Article.