This week’s question shows how far skin care products have come in the last ten years. Both cell growth factors and Retin A are significant anti-aging tools. Cell growth factors wake up old tired fibroblasts in the skin and get them to provide more collagen. Retin A also increases healthy young collagen in the skin but we don’t exactly know why. In addition the retinoids stimulat circulation producing a youthful healthy glow to the skin. Finally retionoids exfoliate the skin that has three, count ‘em three great benefits– it removes dull dry tired skin, it stimulates the growth of new fresh skin and it slowly lightens discolorations and flat age spots. Nice.
But both retinoid and cell growth factors products are a few issues. Retinoids can be very irritating and some women just can’t use them. For women of color, retin A may actually cause increased pigmentation because of the irritation. Cell growth factors are far more gentle and do not increased sensitivity to the sun like Retin A and alpha hydroxy acids. In cold wintery weather it can be very hard to use Retin A everyday and cell growth factors will help the skin withstand cold windy weather. However they are unregulated. Unlike retinoids which have to list their concentration, there is little way of knowing how much growth factor is actually in a that pricy tube or jar. It could be a full effective dose or just a drop so that it can be included on the list of ingredients on the label.
To bottomline it, I don’t think its an either/or situation. I think there is a role for both retinoids and cell growth factors in a successful anti-aging plan. There is good science behind Rejuve MD with cell growth factors and I use it rotation with Retin A Micro and a vitamin C serum from Skinceuticals. I tend to reach for my cell growth factors when I don’t want to wait for 30 minutes to apply a night treatment before going to bed. Both Retin A and vitamin C can sting if applied to freshly washed skin and treatment products with cell growth factors are soothing rather than irritating. One final thought. Some experts recommend using both at at the same time. I’m not a big fan of layering because I’m concerned about absorption . I use them on different nights and love the results.