Stem cells, epidermal growth factors and conditioned media are in the same family of what I call super-charged signalers. These are powerful proteins that can tell cells what to do, such as make collagen or renew tissue. Therefore they play an essential role in repairing damaged or aged skin, making it appear years younger, as I detailed earlier this week.
Arguably the biggest breakthrough in skincare, these advanced technologies are also difficult and expensive to formulate with. We have found some fantastic brands that use them over the years — AQ, ReLuma, E’shee, Stemulation to name but a few — but you know me, I’m always looking to enhance our selection with new power players.
I invite you to join me on my latest stem cell discovery. As always, I rejected quite a few along the way, but found plenty that tempt the tester in me. Surprise: There’s one excellent new find from Lifeline Stem Cell Skincare that is making its way to the shop soon.
Selected for testing
Lifeline Stem Cell Skincare Daily Defense Complex ($160 in the shop)
I reviewed Daily Defense Complex at the end of August and I’m still using it to this day. I think this will count as on one the finds of 2016. Lifeline is owned by a biotech company that specializes in stem cells from unfertilized eggs. It also uses liposomes, or nanospheres, that stabilize the stem cells and act as a delivery system. With a host of other anti-aging ingredients, including argan stem cells, I found this to be a very good wrinkle reducer. After testing it so successfully, I’m thrilled to introduce it into the shop.
GloTherapeutics Super Serum ($110)
The growth factor of choice here is rh-oligopeptide-1, which stimulate cells to produce collagen. This protein attracts cells to an injured area and is vital in the healing process. So, hopefully, it attracts cells to repair a wrinkle in the same way. Another notable ingredient in Super Serum is the free radical scavenger, spin trap. GloTherapeutics is mostly sold through estheticians offices, and I was very pleased to get my hands on a tester. I’ll be reporting back in a month or so.
Sublime Beauty Cell Renewal Fibroblast Serum ($175)
This serum uses human fibroblast conditioned media — typically made up of proteins and enzymes — and it has a refreshingly straightforward formula. There’s some lactic acid for skin brightening, watermelon extract and, more unusually, a plant called cotton honeydew that tests have shown helps boost keratin. Take a look at our community member’s review.
NuGene Universal Serum ($300)
Coincidentally, whilst researching this post, I was sent a Harvard Business School email about Kathy Ireland’s trajectory from supermodel to super mogul of a $2.5bn empire. Her name is on clothes, jewelry and even a growth factor serum. It has a hefty price tag and while a lot of that is to do with Kathy Ireland branding, it does have human conditioned media and oliogopeptide-1. In addition, there are some peptides for reducing expression lines and pullulan for instant gratification.
Synergie Skin SuperSerum ($159)
It’s a bit of a cheat to include this one as it doesn’t actually contain stem cells or growth factors. It does, however, claim to have an ingredient — specifically a polysaccharide — that encourages the skin to produce its own epidermal growth factors. Plus there are some interesting peptides and it comes from Australia (where they tend to make good beauty products).
NeoGenesis Skin Serum ($139)
This company takes issue with other manufacturers who might use stem cells from adipose fat, saying that if these cells are meant to be producing fat cells, then they will be suboptimal for skin. NeoGenesis claims to use adult stem cells from skin. It’s Skin Serum has human fibroblast and human stem cell conditioned medias. And that’s mostly it. Pretty compelling.
Rejected for testing
ZO Skin Health Ossential Growth Factor Serum Plus ($148)
I am including this as it provides a good example of a product in this category that is not what it seems to be. Buyer beware, Growth Factor Serum Plus does not contain growth factors. It does have a plant stem cell and a peptide for helping to control expression lines — plus an awful lot of silicone and a few fillers.
Citrix CRS Cell Rejuvenating Serum ($113)
With a 10 percent concentration of vitamin C and a specific epidermal growth factor, TGF-1, which is one of the most useful signaling proteins, Citrix is rather tempting. In the end, I decided against it as there are so few ingredients and around half of them are silicones. I can get more interesting formulations for the price. But if anyone out there has tried this and thinks I should too, please leave a comment.
Nurse Jamie EGF Stem Cell Complex ($125)
I have to admit that there are some good things about this: Rh-Oligopeptide-1 (that’s the growth factor) and two types of plant stem cells, as well as the peptide in Matrixyl Synth’6. I guess my main quibble is that there is nothing compellingly unique about this. Indeed, these ingredients are also in a serum by Expurtise, which is much cleaner.
PCA Rejuvenating Serum ($84)
Although attractively priced compared to the others, PCA is probably the least impressive of the oligopeptide-1 serums. The growth factor is at the very end of the ingredient list. You have to get past a fair few acrylates, polymers and a harsh preservative before getting to any good stuff. There are some good things though, including antioxidant glutathione, phospholipids and a component of green tea.