The relationship between “growth factor” products and Dermaroller
Micro-needling is a skin rejuvenation procedure that stimulates the body’s own natural wound healing process. Wound healing is regulated by a complex signaling network consisting of growth factors and cytokines. Micro-needling releases cytokines, including growth factors, during the procedure.
Cytokines are signaling proteins that stimulate cell growth, differentiation, survival, inflammation and tissue repair. The types and amounts of cytokines released during micro-needling are limited to those found in platelets, blood serum and lymph. However, those cytokines signal cells in the damaged tissue to release other cytokines that in turn release others in a process known as the wound healing cascade.
Some micro-needling protocols include the application of topical “growth factors” products. External application of appropriate, viable growth factors, in conjunction with micro-needling assist skin rejuvenation. There is evidence that using topical growth factors would hinder the micro-needling process, however here are several considerations if you choose to use topical “growth factor” products in addition to the micro-needling procedure:
Timing of growth factor delivery.
Growth factors should be used when the micro-channels are open (up to 20-plus hours after the micro-needling procedure). Micro-needling allowed growth factors to penetrate into the dermal tissues instead of sitting on top of the skin’s surface.
Products must be intended for use on “broken” skin.
Products containing growth factors must be formulated for use on open or broken skin, as foreign contaminants and certain ingredients found in some products may increase the risk of adverse events such as irritation, inflammation, necrosis and infection.
Choose products with no or minimal irritating ingredients.
Some ingredients may interfere with the tissue remodeling process. Avoid ingredients such as fragrances or dyes that cause inflammation or don’t allow the skin to reach homeostasis. If ingredients stimulate the pro-inflammatory pathway, the product may reduce the beneficial effects of the micro-needling procedure.
Know what’s in your skincare products.
Look for products that contain stable, viable growth factors (meaning there is data to show that the proteins are quality tested per batch). Growth factors are typically not stable for long periods of time and will likely degrade in the bottle or on your skin unless there are technologies in place that preserve them. Therefore, you should always inquire as to which growth factors are in the product, in what amounts, whether they are stable/active and what data is available to support these claims.