You likely already know that the natural aging process can rob skin of collagen and elastin (the body’s built in skin-firming systems), causing sagging. Plus, environmental factors and certain lifestyle choices (sun exposure, smoking, etc) can prompt your skin to start behaving older than its years. So, to get skin acting young again, there are three key ingredients that you need to slather on—growth factors, eggshell membrane and retinol. Alone, they’re fantastic, but together, they lift, plump, strengthen, and smooth skin back to its former glory. These ingredients can be found in a revolutionary new Perricone MD product that’s coming out very soon, but for now, here’s what you need to know about firming skin and this power trio.
It’s been said that three’s a crowd, but when it comes to firming and lifting your skin, three’s definitely company! Here’s why: the secret to getting your skin to look, feel and act younger lies in a trifecta of high-powered ingredients: growth factors, retinol and eggshell membrane.
First, How Skin Ages
Skin aging is caused by both internal and environmental factors. These factors mostly affect the dermis (the inner layer of skin). The dermis is primarily made up of a dense, collagen rich extracellular matrix (ECM) that provides structure and support to skin cells and lends strength and firmness to the skin. Elastic fibers are another component of the dermis, and they provide elasticity, resilience, and extra strength. As we get older, collagen production starts to slow down, and elastic fibers begin to stiffen. The aging process also impacts the epidermis (the outer layer of skin). The biggest issue here is the accumulation of corneocytes (skin cells), which can make skin look rough and dull.
In addition to what’s already happening on the inside and surface of our skin, external factors, such as sun exposure, pollution, and smoking can exacerbate all of these issues. A review of research published in the journal Clinical Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology points out that skin damage associated with intrinsic (natural) aging differs from the damage linked to extrinsic (environmental) damage. Intrinsic damage usually shows up as sagging, fine lines, and exaggerated expression lines, while extrinsic damage usually looks more like deep wrinkles, brown spots, and a general leathery appearance.
Power Ingredient #1: Growth Factors
Growth factors are large proteins found throughout the body, and they are made by all types of cells. When they hitch onto receptors on cell surfaces, they start ordering cells to do things, like grow, divide, pump out collagen and elastin, increase blood flow, and other jobs.
By our late 20s, we start making less growth factor —and without growth factors cracking the whip, those important processes don’t happen as quickly or effectively.
That’s two things working against keeping your skin firm and youthful: All the natural and environmental factors mentioned above have put the breaks on collagen production, compromised elastin, and caused damage—and growth factor is dwindling too. Which means there’s no one to tell cells to get moving again and fix everything.
But, there’s hope! Applying growth factors topically can restore the lines of communication—ultimately reversing the signs of aging and leaving skin fresh, radiant, and luminous.
The aforementioned review published in Clinical Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology shows that cosmetic products containing growth factors enhance the production of collagen and other ECM molecules (remember, the ECM is that collagen rich matrix in the dermis), and promote overall skin rejuvenation.
How they get your collagen motor running for firmer skin
One important way growth factors encourage collagen production and reverse damage is by influencing fibroblasts. Fibroblasts are special cells found in connective tissue. When tissue is injured, fibroblasts multiply and rush over the wound to help with healing by pumping out collagen to repair tissue (they’re like your body’s own internal team of EMTs), shows research that appeared in the journal Molecular Biology of the Cell. (To put this in skincare terms, these fibroblasts repair damage like wrinkles and sagging caused by aging, sun damage, and other natural and environmental issues.)
One problem: Growth factors have a large molecular weight, meaning their hefty size makes it a challenge to penetrate the skin.
But a study from The Journal of Drugs in Dermatology found that there is evidence that some amount of topically applied growth factor slips through the epidermis into the dermis, where it triggers a fibroblast response. So large growth factors are more nimble than they look.
Where growth factors come from
Growth factors found in skincare products can be derived from numerous sources. They either come from human stem cells—taken from skin, fat, bone marrow, umbilical cords, and so on—or they can be bioengineered in a lab. (Stem cells don’t necessarily need to be taken from a skin source to improve the skin; when they land on the skin, stem cells taken from a non-skin source, like fat cells for example, sort of morph into skin cells and start doing skin-repairing type jobs.)
It’s important to note that what you’re applying on your skin isn’t literal bone marrow, umbilical cord, fat, etc—it’s just the proteins they give off. Even so, synthetic growth factors, which are engineered to behave just like natural human ones, are becoming more desirable.
The new Perricone MD product contains synthetic polyamine skin growth factor, which is believed to be superior to other options”, says Perricone MD Chief Innovation Officer Chris Caires.
Power Ingredient #2: Encapsulated retinol (also known as Vitamin A)
Known as a growth factor sidekick/superhero ingredient. It causes faster cell turnover and stimulates collagen production—making it a powerhouse ingredient for reducing wrinkles, improving skin tone, shrinking pores, and firming the skin.
Study after study has proven its effectiveness, which makes it especially popular with dermatologists. (Asking a dermatologist to admit their favorite ingredient is a bit like asking them to pick their favorite child—but if pressed, they’ll usually cop to retinol.)
However, there are a few downsides to retinol: It can potentially dry out and irritate the skin; it can make skin more sensitive to the sun; and it becomes less stable when exposed to air or sunlight.
Encapsulating the retinol solves part of the problem by preventing it from breaking down.
Encapsulating an active ingredient means encasing it in a shell material; commonly used shell materials include polysaccharides (gums, starches, celluloses), proteins like gelatin or soy; lipids like waxes, paraffin, and oils; or synthetic polymers, shows research published in The Journal of Microencapsulation. (The soon to be released Perricone MD product uses a polymer matrix.) These shells protect the active ingredient (in this case, retinol) from oxidation, degradation, and evaporation—and allows for controlled and targeted release.
When retinol isn’t encapsulated, it has trouble penetrating the skin and targeting the right cells. Because encapsulating retinol is expensive, many companies don’t bother to do it, which compromises the efficiency of the product.
Power Ingredient #3: Eggshell membrane
It’s the thin, white film the sits between the egg and the shell. A study published in the Korean Journal For Food Science of Animal Resources indicates that this organic, protein keratin-rich substance has been shown to increase cellular activity and collagen production.
Additionally, it prevents skin aging and reduces damage (like wrinkles) caused by UV light and inflammation. The research also shows that eggshell membrane has antimicrobial properties and can protect against moisture loss.
Two Other Key Ingredients: Vitamin B3 and phospholipids
While growth factors, retinol and eggshell membrane are vitally important for skin radiance and luminosity, they need a bit of help to get the job done. Ingredients like vitamin B3 and phospholipids are ideal companions to help boost their effectiveness, while also working on their own to give skin a youthful appearance.
Vitamin B3 (which also goes by the name niacinamide) is an antioxidant that improves skin tone, lightens dark spots, and prevents water loss. While phospholipids are a natural type of lipid (fat) that acts as a moisturizing agent. Both of these hydrating ingredients, combined with the eggshell membrane, help combat the dryness often associated with retinol.
They round out the overall skin benefits of the product to make it as complete of a solution as possible,” says Chris Caires.
For Perricone MD, science, innovation and utilizing the newest, most effective ingredients is imperative to the quality of our products. Which is why you’ll want to be in-the-know when our new firming and lifting serum (featuring our power trio of growth factors, retinol and eggshell membrane) comes out. Sign up for our newsletter, or follow us on Facebook or Instagram.