THE Growth Factor that’s got my attention

THE Growth Factor that’s got my attention

Most of us have heard about Growth Factors in skincare. There is so much curiosity and interest about GFs in my community. I think perhaps more than any other skincare ‘active’, growth factors promise to deliver as close as we can come to the ‘fountain of youth’. But can they? I remember when I first heard about the use of growth factors in skincare. I was in my thirties and so intrigued about the possibility. Of course, I ran out and invested in this new skincare wonder. While i wasn’t ‘wow’ed’, and didn’t initially repurchase, I’ve kept an eye on growth factors for years.

Recently I’ve re-launched my research into GFs. Below I share a bit of my learning and also an interview with Madhavi Gavini, co-founder of Droplette. There have been so many questions in my community about growth factors in general, and specifically Droplette’s recently launched pharma-grade GF capsules. I found my conversation with Madhavi fascinating. I’ve also linked out below to YouTube if you’d prefer to watch my chat with Madhavi rather read.

Finally, at the bottom of this blog you’ll find a FAQ section where i’ve put additional questions and answers. I’ll continue to add to this list as more questions come in!! Be sure to read my final thoughts just after the FAQ. 🙂

What are growth factors, and do they really hold a promise in skincare?

Growth factors are naturally found throughout our bodies. These communicating proteins send messages between our cells. They’re hanging out, ready to signal for healing and growth when required. Thanks to growth factors, we’re able to heal wounds, repair weakened blood vessels and spur the production of collagen and other proteins, all by signaling the production of new cells. In a healthy young skin, a variety of growth factors are released by the immune system as needed for cell repair, replication and regeneration. Like so many things, as we age our body is less ‘generous’ with its production of growth factors. Simply put, we’re just not the re-generation engines that we were in our early 20s.

What about growth factors that we purchase in these expensive skincare products – the ones that list ‘human stem cell conditioned media’ on the label? Human derived GFs come from a few different sources, although bone and adipose tissue are the most studied. Growth factors are made when these stem cells are nurtured with a solution, culture medium, which contains nutrients the stem cells need to thrive in that petri dish. But they don’t just consume that solution – they contribute to it by secreting growth factors and cytokines. So it’s the sum of the solution and the secretions that’s created that makes up the sort of ‘soup’ of conditioned media. And that’s what goes into most of the higher priced Growth Factors that we see on the market. Growth factor formulations made with human mesenchymal stem cell conditioned media is some of the most efficient and most studied.

Many skincare brands offer synthetic growth factors, for example ‘synthetic EGF’. You may see this on the label as sh-Oligopeptide-1. These can be useful but not thought to be nearly as biologically active as those coming coming from the conditioned media of human stem cells. Furthermore, their large molecular weight makes penetration into the stratum corneum difficult. Some companies will combine human derived growth factor with synthetic ones for a one-two punch, and that’s great too.

Interestingly, unlike retinoids or AHAs, there’s still not the depth of ‘gold standard’ studies on the use of growth factors for skin rejuvenation. But there is promise on how growth factors can have extremely compelling outcomes when used in medical settings. There is no lack of enthusiasm in the medical field, with investors, biotech firms and the public sector all playing a role in investigating how growth factors can be leveraged in solving a number of complex health problems from rheumatoid arthritis to Multiple Sclerosis to Cerebral Palsy and diabetic foot ulcers.

So we know that there are dozens of other therapeutic applications that are being heavily studied to solve some of our biggest health problems. But what about GFs in our skincare? It seems that every third skincare company has ‘EGF’ on one of their products. How do we know which growth factor products to select?

What are the challenges?

I’ve learned that there are three sequential steps that we need to pass through when we’re considering whether GFs are worth our investment and will provide the promised outcome:

  1. Step 1: Making sure the growth factors are the ‘real deal’. There are a LOT of different sources of GFs (plants, human, synthetic) and within those sources there are several sub-sources (e.g. adipose and bone derived in humans) and each sub-source offers specific growth factors that can play different (and complementary) roles in skin health.

  2. Step 2: Making sure those ‘real deal’ growth factors are focused on skin regeneration, present in abundant enough amounts and are still biologically active when they reach the consumer.

  3. Step 3: Once those ‘real deal GFs which are biologically active’ have reached the consumer, can they then reach the deep skin layers so they can effect positive change?

How do we choose a growth factor?

Step 1 – what’s the source?

The first step to choosing a GF is to ensure that you’re convinced about the safety profile and source of the ingredients. Some skincare brands are happy to disclose the name of the lab they use to source human derived growth factors. We can, in turn, look at the lab’s credentials and track record. As mentioned above, human derived mesenchymal growth factors from healthy young donors (who are compensated!!) are the most studied and reliable source for skincare, and that’s where I’ll focus. I won’t be talking about other sources here (CALECIM uses deer umbilical cord, BioEFFECT uses barley, etc) but may cover those in an upcoming blog.

Step 2 – are the GFs focused on skin, present in abundant amounts and still biologically active when they reach the consumer?

The next step is to determine whether the formulation has high enough quantities of the right growth factor (referred to ‘conditioned media’ on ingredient lists) and that it is stable enough to ensure it is biologically active. So, by the time it gets out of the manufacturing facility, through its distribution channels, onto retail shelves and into your hands, does it contain enough ‘live’ growth factors to have a biological effect on your skin? Some companies will provide information on the percentage of conditioned media in their product. If they don’t, we know that (in the US and Europe, at least) the higher the item is on the ingredient deck, the higher the concentration it is in the formulation. Some of the more notable growth factor skincare companies I’ve looked at list 93%+ conditioned media. That’s a great place to start.

It’s even more helpful if we can get a peek into which growth factors are present in the conditioned media. The list doesn’t have to be exhaustive for a formulation to be effective. In fact, each company will have done research and have a philosophy and a ‘cocktail’ of their own – that’s great. Some to look for are EGF, TGF-beta, HGF, KGF, etc). As mentioned above, they may include synthetic growth factors, that while not potent on their own, can contribute to a GF formulation.

Mesenchymal stem cells (stained so we can see them!)

According to Eskens and Amin, authors of Challenges and effective routes for formulating and delivery of epidermal growth factors in skin care “EGF is a powerful ligand (a molecule that binds to another), adding other components to a cosmetic formulation can act synergistically to enhance skin rejuvenation…many other growth factors are capable of promoting collagen and elastin production, and the natural dermal state utilizes them synchronously. Specifically, TGF-β and GDF-1 signalling play central roles in ECM (extracellular matrix) longevity and fibrogenic processes. Carefully selected growth factor nanocomplexes for skin repair have out-performed the same formulations made with each individual component.“1

So we know a little bit about what to look for on a label. As consumers, how can we know that the active growth factors that the formulator designed into a skincare product is actually ‘live’ when it reaches us? Well, it’s simple – and it’s not.

Eskens and Amin go on to say in the Journal of Cosmetic Science “A major hurdle for retailing EGF products is their shelf life. An average 3-month stability period under proper storage conditions leaves EGF formulations impractical for large, commercial batches. While one week of storage at room temperature has little effect on the stability of EGF, the long-term integrity of the product requires temperature monitoring. Refrigeration can broaden the lifetime from 1 to 3 months, and if the product format can remain uncompromised under freezing conditions, a shelf life of 6–9 months can be achieved.” 1

The most obvious solution is for GF skincare providers to keep the product refrigerated or frozen throughout the entire process – from raw materials, creation, distribution to any retailer and straight to your door. Droplette does this with their GF capsules. No other company that I’m aware of uses refrigeration to maintain the integrity of growth factors during the months it takes to get the product from creation to the consumers door.

But what about growth factor skincare products that aren’t kept cold on their way to the consumer?

Different brands use different techniques to preserve the integrity of their GFs. These might include encapsulating GFs in nanoparticles, for example. I’m not a scientist nor a cosmetic formulator, so clearly not in a position to gauge whether the GF I purchase from a skincare company is ‘biologically active’ (I assume you aren’t either 🙃.) So how do we know whether they’re at all ‘active’?

We’re all too familiar with the what a PCR is (thank you COVID19). It’s a type of test that establishes for the presence of certain proteins, and in what quantities. PCRs are a form of ELISA test. ELISA stands for enzyme-linked immunoassay. Beyond testing for antibodies, skincare formulators can use ELISAs to test for things like growth factors and Procollagen. Growth factor companies (if willing) can test their product before it leaves their facilities and then again in an ‘on the shelf’ environment that simulates how long a serum would take to reach the consumer. I think it’s amazing for us to know this. Any one of us can ask the brand that we purchase from ‘How long typically expires between your company packaging a live growth factor product and when it reaches the average consumer? Do you refrigerate or freeze your product along the way? In any case, would you please provide me with the results of your ELISA test that simulates that amount of time? I’d really like to see the quantities of ‘active growth factors’ in the product once I get it home.’ That way we can be sure that we’re getting a product full of active growth factors. Growth factors are expensive. I truly think that we, as consumers, have a right to ask these questions. In case you’re wondering, I will be asking this question of my favorite (non-Droplette) GF brand. I encourage you too do the same.

Above: This is Droplette’s result on their ELISA testing a few of the GFs that are in their formulation – immediately before it heads out from frozen in the refrigerated packaging, on the way to customers. These are biologically active amounts of a pharmaceutical grade growth factors.

Step 3: How do we ensure the ‘precious GF cargo’ gets to where its needed: the deeper levels of the epidermis and dermis

Okay, say we’ve passed through the first two steps; we have the right, good quality growth factors that are aimed at skin regeneration and we know they’re biologically active. Now how do we get this precious solution to where it can do the most good – through the stratum corneum (SC) and deep into the epidermis where it can do its magic.

Growth factor molecules are much larger than 500 Da, which makes it difficult to penetrate the SC. It’s certainly possible for some to pass through sweat glands and across the hair follicles and sebaceous glands, but this is an inefficient way to introduce precious and volatile ingredients. There is some indication that a signaling might be at play “…transcellular or a signalling call-down mechanism through surface cells are all possible alternate delivery routes utilized by growth factors. Strategically creating vehicles to reinforce these propitious avenues is essential for subcutaneous accumulation of EGF.”1 So, assuming we’re working with high quality biologically active growth factors, it appears that topical application of a product with a clever formulation can be absorbed to some extent. There is evidence that cosmetic microneedling can be useful, again assuming that we’re working with a high quality active.

“Growth factors offer promise for optimal wound management as the understanding of their role in the pathophysiology of chronic wounds increases; however, they have limited clinical applications because of a short in vivo half-life due to their low stability, restricted absorption through the skin around wound lesions.” 2

So we see the promise of growth factors is so great, but the reality seems a bit uncertain. In my opinion, this is where Droplette really shines. This expensive ingredient that’s been curated from the stem cells of healthy donors, transported carefully along the way with constant refrigeration can then be ‘deposited’ where they can go to work. Droplette gets the growth factors into the deepest cell layers through the epidermis and into the dermis. What’s more impressive is that Droplette’s studies show that growth factors can permeate cell membranes without damaging them. And because all of this is done so swiftly (and gently), there is no opportunity for degradation of ingredients; active ingredients reach their ‘target’ within the skin cells within a fraction of a second. . I’ve been a Droplette fan for a few years now. I have to say, when you have very expensive ‘precious cargo’ like growth factors, you certainly want to make sure it’s not sitting on the surface of your skin without much of a chance to act. And when I remember that Droplette was initially created not for skincare but for medical applications (like treating diabetic foot ulcers with growth factors), it all makes perfect sense.

Do Growth Factors work?

Earlier this year, a friend of mine Nancy and I had two sets of Ellacor micro coring treatments – mine were January and April, Nancy’s were in April and a second in August (I opted for a different laser treatment in August). I’ll soon be releasing a video and blog about our experiences with Ellacor. For now, I wanted to show you a little ‘side test’ we did. For our first Ellacor treatment in April we didn’t have access to Droplette Growth Factor capsules but for our second session(s) in August we prepped with Droplette GF for two weeks and followed on with Droplette GF for two weeks after our respective treatments. The photos below show baseline (day 1 for both April and August), then four days in and baseline against 15 days. The photos of Nancy show a significant difference in healing quality and duration.

Above: Baseline Ellacor treatments. Nancy was treated by the same doctor who used the same treatment approach in both sessions. Immediately after the treatments there is no difference between Nancy’s reaction to the treatment.

Above: In the short term we noticed the healing speed and quality difference with Droplette GF.

Above: At day 15. Nancy still experienced significant post inflammatory erythema (PIE) around her mouth 15 days after her April session but only trace amounts after 15 days having treated with Droplette growth factors.

Clearly Droplette GF played a huge role in both the speed and quality of healing post our Ellacor treatments. Growth factors can play such a quick and obvious role in wound repair (Nancy had over 20K micro cores taken out of her lower face – so that’s a lot of wounds!!) While the impact that we can expect using biologically active GFs to address anti-aging may not be as immediately compelling, it’s good to remember that the underlying mechanisms that heal wounds are some of the very same ones that address collagen, elastin and pigmentation issues in our maturing skin.

My Interview Madhavi, Droplette Co-founder

I enjoyed talking to Madavi so much. This is just a subset of our bigger chat – you can find the full video linked below if want to view along…

Penn: Would you share with us what went into bringing the growth factors to market. If you could just give us the rundown on that we would love to hear the behind the scenes details.

Madhavi: Growth factors are a really, really cool skincare ingredient. And Rathi and I had worked with them before, so we were excited to bring out Droplette growth factors. For those unfamiliar with growth factors, they’re hormones/ proteins that basically act as the instructions for cells. So they will tell cells to do things. They’ll tell stem cells to differentiate. stimulate cell proliferation and wound healing. They’ll basically act on senescence cells or cells that that are older to help remove them. They play a huge role in ageing. They’re just an incredible, incredible class of potential therapeutics for things like spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and have been kind of touted in the academic literature for quite some time as this amazing regenerative anti-ageing class of proteins.

So when we were thinking about what product we want to do next, it just made a lot of sense for us – because we work with them personally and we’ve seen the impact that they have on cells and tissues, ex vivo or in medical settings, and, you know, and just the fact that we’re very, very cool.

When I’ve worked with Growth Factors in a laboratory setting, we treated the stuff like it was liquid gold, it was $17 per millilitre to get the really high quality stuff ($17,000 a litre!!). So one litre that you know, you’re a grad student, it’s basically your annual salary. And we’d wait for the supply it to come in, you aliquot (divide) it. So you basically distributed to very tiny volumes, and you put it in the minus 20 to minus 80 degrees for storage. And so we have always treated it like it’s a really delicate ingredient. And that’s because it is because these proteins are just not stable for long periods of time. So we knew that when we’re going to launch a growth factor product, we would need to figure out these cold storage logistics and wanted to get really high quality growth factors, because when growth factors are in the right concentration, they’re incredible for anti ageing, but if you get growth factors from sick cells, dead cells, they’re just not in the right ratio, or you get inflammatory ones, they’ll actually age you faster.

We get our growth factors from this really amazing biotechnology company out in tech. called Hope Biosciences, they are conditioned media derived from live human mesenchymal (bone marrow) stem cells . We screened a lot of companies before deciding to work with Hope Biosciences. They’re involved in an impressive set of clinical trials, and doing work on crush injury burns and also partnering with the US military. So, so we buy our conditioned media from Hope. It’s shipped in, it’s a cold to our formulator where they maintain the correct temperatures. And then it’s shipped to us, also on ice. We fill our capsules, seal and we freeze them. And when we ship it to customers, we ship with ice packs, and it’s shipped so that the temperature fluctuations are within acceptable levels – this is key. And then we ask that when customers receive it, they put the fridge if it’s going to be used within a month – or in your freezer for storage up to six months. And that’s really to preserve the integrity of these molecules. And we’ve done third party assays. They’re called Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assays (ELISAs). And we do that to basically guarantee that when our growth factors go through this entire process, they’re still going to be stable, they’re still going to be present in high enough concentrations, and they’re going be biologically active. And so that’s kind of what we can guarantee with this process.

Penn: So what you’re saying is if these growth factors were in a store and placed on a shelf – Droplette’s own growth factors – let’s say they were there on a shelf for a month, and I came in to buy them, they would not be good, correct?

Madhavi: Oh, no, they wouldn’t. I mean, it’s a it’s a protein. So okay, I’ll give you an example. There’s one FDA approved drug that contains growth factors. It’s called Regranex and it it contains a synthetic version of a platelet derived growth factor. And so this is a really stable version of this growth factor that’s synthetically made. But it doesn’t matter if it synthetic or not. And it’s on it’s in like a lifeless powder in a thick like a volume solution which is just about as big as you can get it. The whole process is FDA approved and it is still stored in the fridge.

Even if you go to Sigma Aldrich, the biotech company owned by Merck. Sigma Aldrich provide epidermal growth factors. They’ll tell you straight on their website. This is going to the fridge for a month and it’s going in the freezer for up to six to 12 months.

Penn: So the bottom line is growth factors are incredibly unstable. It sounds like at room temperature, they are not good for very long. They simply don’t have shelf life at room temperature.

Madhavi: That’s correct. They’re good for maybe a couple weeks at room temperature.

Penn: Okay, so can you tell me if the growth growth factors are vegan or do we know the source of the growth factor and are they human derived? I know that a lot of people will ask questions about you know, aborted babies and stuff like that. They just want clarity on that kind of stuff that is just definitive.

Madhavi: Yes, of course. condition media is what we use, which is the exudate (secretion) of stem cells, and we get our stem cells from healthy young adults donors, so the donors are compensated – it’s completely ethical. And they are screened for any illnesses, and then independently from the vendor we screen them. Droplette does its own set of assays on the conditioned media. So we guarantee that it has the growth factors you want. It has EGF, it has transforming growth factor. It has procollagen, it has all that good stuff in there, and we’ve quantified it. I think that’s actually the first time I’ve seen a growth factor on the market that’s been fully quantified and characterized. I think that’s sort of our pharmaceutical of backgrounds coming into play here.

Penn: As far as being vegan, none of your things are tested on animals, correct?

Madhavi: No, our formulations are not tested on animals.

Penn: Great. Let’s talk about the price ($380 for 28 capsules.) I do think that it was a shocker for a lot of people and I think a part of that consumers are used to growth factors on the market going between $100 and $200 or so. If you could just give people a little bit of a breakdown when we’re talking about price as to why it is so expensive.

Madhavi: It’s a good question and a completely valid one. So we know that raw material the condition media is really expensive. I mentioned before if you’re buying it in small batches, it’s about $17 per millilitre. And then you have to pay to get it shipped cold or frozen to the formulator they have to store it for cold – there’s a clear up-charge on that. They ship it to us frozen once again an up-charge. And then when we ship it to you, it’s expensive. If you’ve ever received frozen food in the mail, you know like what those delivery charges look like. So so that’s a big part of it. But it’s also really making sure we’re offering a premium ingredient – because we believe the quality ingredient is worth it. And then also making sure that we’ve created the infrastructure around cold storage logistics, make sure was available bioactive when it got to you.

Penn: I think that’s something that’s important for people to really understand. There’s just nothing else out there. Like this. This is not the same as anything else that’s on the market and and it’s not just because it goes into a device that gets these big molecules into the layers of the skin where they can help with regeneration. But also, the actual GF product itself, even if you were put in a bottle and you shipped it off, it’s not the same as anything else that’s on the market as far as its efficacy and as far as it’s actually going to work and it is live and gets to the customer active.

I have to tell you, and you know this because we’ve had private conversations, that it’s pretty enlightening to learn all of this stuff. And as somebody who considers myself an educated consumer, it really has opened my eyes a little bit to growth factors in cosmeceuticals. So I’m sure we’ll have more discussions about this.

Penn: I think Droplette GF capsules have tremendous value to augment in-office procedures such as laser. My friend Nancy and I had two rounds of Ellacor micro-coring treatments. The difference between our healing time with and without Droplette Growth Factors was like – no comparison. I mean, it was absolutely incredible. I also think it’s fantastic used when you’re microneedling or anything like that.

So do you agree that this is a way to kind of offset the fact that they’re so expensive is to use them as a “treatment”? …although it sounds like you only want to keep it in the fridge for one month…so you DO want to use it up. Are you able to buy only one pack of 14 capsules? Or do you have to buy two packs of 14 – so 28 capsules at a time.

Madhavi: So we currently sell it like in the two because the idea would be if you’re using it for treatment, you pretreat your skin with it. And then you use post treatment. We think that the combination of like pre-priming your skin would be really helpful to have those high levels of growth factors when you go into treatment.

Penn: That makes complete sense. With the feedback would you consider selling them in half packs in future?

Madhavi: I think we definitely will consider it, I think the reason we didn’t want to do it out the gate comes down to efficacy, like it just takes a while to see growth factors have an impact. So our concern was okay, if we do 14 capsules, and then people use it and it’s just not long enough to see result. We don’t want people to be disappointed.

Penn: Which is funny because even though you would be spending less money you really are not getting your money’s worth because you’re not getting the efficacy because you’re not getting fully treated. So that makes complete sense to me too. I do think though, it’s something that to consider because I think that people could use it around a monthly microneedling treatment. And one pack would be enough (maybe) in that situation. Maybe that might be enough, so I’ll just put it out there… but it makes complete sense.

Madhavi: Right and just a quick point of clarification- so you can store it in your freezer for much longer – up to six months.

Penn: Okay, so what is the feedback that you’ve gotten so far about the growth factors like how are people telling you that they’re using them and you know, what have you gotten back from people after it’s been on market for a little while.

Madhavi: So we’ve had it’s been kind of funny feedback. It’s been “your product is really expensive. And I wanted to hate it. But it’s been amazing for my skin, and I’m addicted.” So there’s been a lot of that we’ve had people who have this is all anecdotal, of course, like we do our own studies, and you know, we can sort of quantify those results and say, you know, you see this improvement in this in this parameter, but anecdotally, we’ve had people who’ve said “I’ve had the scars since I was a child, and then used your product for four weeks and it’s gone”, which has been incredibly heartwarming to hear it. Similarly, we’ve heard feedback about people seeing this big improvement in their under eye area and like those sort of fine lines around there, which is nothing you can really treat without an in-office procedure. It’s really delicate skin. You don’t really want to inject if you don’t have to under there and people are seeing the impact of growth factors.

Penn: That’s really cool because truthfully the under eyes, they’re hard even for surgeons to address I mean, obviously there’s lower blepharoplasty but other than that, you know it is a really tricky area. So anything that we can do at home that can help is amazing.

Penn: So we have had questions about the growth factors and skin cancer and is there can you address you know the potential negative effects or what your recommendations are if someone does have a history of skin cancer as far as using growth factors.

Madhavi: I would say talk to you dermatologist about it. I think that’s probably the best advice we can give and if you’re worried about it, you know like you should be cautious skin cancer is not something to mess around with. While we have seen no evidence, and and truly don’t think that there’s anything here that will exacerbate it or cause it, with things like that you should always always exercise caution

Penn: For sure. No matter what I always think it’s just a conversation with the doctor because just like skincare or anything else, medical history is so individual that there’s always going to be cautionary answer to just talk to your doctor personally.


Q. I’m already using a topical growth factor (separate from microneedling.) I’m sure I’m seeing results – but now I know they could be too large to cross the barrier – or not biologically active enough to make a difference. Am I seeing real results or is it all placebo?!

A. Most of the major growth factor skincare brands have formulations that include a wealth of very compelling ingredients apart from GFs. Some GF brands would state that when epidermal growth factors are applied to your skin in high concentrations, they initiate a communication chain between your cells and that this leads to the stimulation of your dermal fibroblasts sparking collagen growth. I think we all have to make our own decisions based on the evidence presented to us. I think requesting the results of an ELISA test would be very helpful (including info about at what stage along the product manufacturing/distribution cycle it was taken). It is so important to note: ELISA testing when the product has been on the shelf for a month or more will be the most accurate as far as whether or not the GF in the product is “live”.

Q. I’ve already invested in xyz topical GF. Is there any benefit to using these products during cosmetic needling?

A. I think it’s important for us to know what we’re paying for in our skincare. The first thing I can suggest is to get in touch with the specific brand to as them to validate the presence of biologically active GFs in the formulation, once it reaches your home. Apart from that, most of the higher priced GF brands have fantastic non-GF ingredients in their formulations; things like niacinamide, arbutin, HA, peptides, etc. These ingredients can make up a very solid post-MN cocktail. My favorite (non refrigerated) GF product contains SO many other things that I love to have in my skincare routine (like arbutin, humectants, peptides etc) that I feel good about this product regardless (although I will be asking about the ELISA testing!).

Q. On Amazon you can find ‘EGF’ (epidermal growth factor) products offered for as little as $18. Do these have live GFs and can they benefit my skin in any way?

A. Most of the products that you’ll see with price tags under $75 will contain synthetic EGFs rather than conditioned media created using healthy human adult stem cells. According to my research, synthetic EGFs (sh-Oligopeptide-1) in theory could be useful. With a molecular weight of 6400 Da, perhaps small amounts could make their way in through pores, but it’s well over the size limit (500 Da) for significant topical penetration.

Q. What’s the mix of Growth Factors contained in Droplette GF capsules?


EGF -proliferation of keratinocytes, fibroblasts and endothelial cells

TGF-beta ECM fibroblast activity proliferation of keratinocytes and endothelial cells

bFGF – instructs fibroblasts to produce collagen and elastin

IGF-1 – stimulates fibroblasts to proliferate

KGF Keratinocyte growth factor – Stimulates epithelial cell growth

HGF (Hetapocyte Growth Factor) – Stimulates new blood vessel formation

Fibronectin – enhances the activity of growth factors

VEGF – stimulates keratinocyte migration and collagen production via fibroblasts. VEGF secretion also induces release of other growth factors which further stimulate healing

Procollagen – precursor (forerunner) of collagen, the protein that adds strength and support to many body tissues



I hope you enjoyed this post and learned something new! Personally I learned A LOT of this very recently and this information will influence my skincare purchases going forward.

FINAL THOUGHTS: while the Droplette GF are expensive (and super cool, but please do not think you HAVE to have them to have great skin. That said, I am wowed by the science for sure) … I think it may be more expensive to invest in products over and over thinking that they contain live growth factors when they don’t. Those brands COULD deliver products that contain active growth factors…but they would cost a LOT more because they would have to ensure that they are in a temperature controlled environment all the way to your door.

My advice to you (advice I am taking myself) is to ask the maker of your favorite growth factor product to show you their ELISA testing after the product has been at room temperature for a month or more. The reality is that most products sit on a shelf in a warehouse for a while, then they sit on a store shelf or they get shipped, then they sit on YOUR shelf. All that non-refrigerated time….likely means the GF is no longer active (live). This has been news to me…and I HAD to share this with you. We all deserve to KNOW the truth when it comes to our skincare products. I will continue to research for you my friends.

Droplette Black Friday Deals – this is the first time Droplette has discounted capsules (only growth factor capsules for now, but I’m hoping for more soon)

What: Droplette Growth Factor Set: Droplette device in Cobalt Blue plus 28 Growth Factor Capsules

Offer: Sale price after discount is $480, down from $679

Code: PennHolidaySet

When: Through the end of the day, Monday 28 November


What: Growth Factor Capsule Bundle: 28 Growth Factor Capsules

Offer: $80 off set of 28 Droplette Growth Factor Capsules (sale price after discount is $300, down from $380)

Code: PennCapsules

When: Through the end of the day Monday, 14th November (we will extend this if it makes sense)


What: Droplette device

Offer: 40% off Droplette device

Code: Penn40

When: Through the end of the day, Monday 28 November



Disclaimer: This post is not intended to provide diagnosis, treatment or medical advice. Content provided on this blog is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Please consult with a physician or other healthcare professional regarding any medical or skin related diagnosis or treatment options. Information on this website should not be considered as a substitute for advice from a healthcare/skin professional. The statements made about specific products throughout this website are not to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. It is important that you check labels to determine if a product is right for you. Before starting any treatment at home consult a health care or skin care professional to determine if it’s right for you.