The Effect of a Combination of Recombinant EGF Cosmetic Serum and a Crosslinked Hyaluronic Acid Serum as Compared to a Fibroblast-Conditioned Media Serum on the Appearance of Aging Skin

June 2016 | Volume 15 | Issue 6 | Original Article | 738 | Copyright © June 2016

Zoe Diana Draelos MD

Dermatology Consulting Services, High Point, NC

Anti-aging cosmeceutical efficacy is hampered by lack of active ingredient purity and lack of dosing standardization. These are two important key factors necessary to insure consistent, reproducible, and documentable skin effects. Without this type of standardization, it is not possible for cosmeceutical science to advance. Growth factors are interesting cosmeceutical ingredients with established cosmetic skin effects that can now be standardized due to the recent ability to manufacture recombinant epidermal growth factor. The concomitant use of a recombinant epidermal growth factor with a filler grade hyaluronic acid (EGF/RHA) was studied over 12 weeks in 60 females with mild to moderate photoaging as compared to a currently marketed spent fibroblast growth media and moisturizer (TNS). Investigator, noninvasive, and subject assessments were collected at baseline and weeks 2, 4, 8, and 12. The blinded investigator noted a statistically significant preference for the EGF/RHA at week 2 in terms of smoothness (P =0.003) and firmness (P =0.003). This improvement continued into weeks 4 and 8 with continued superior EGF/RHA results in fine lines (P =0.002), radiance (P =0.014), and overall appearance (P =0.027) by week 12. Transepidermal water loss was reduced for the EGF/RHA over the TNS at week 12 (P =0.005). The subjects gave high ratings to both study products. This research demonstrates the utility of recombinant growth factors, when combined with hyaluronic acid hydration, in improving skin cosmetic attributes. The ability to manufacture consistent pure recombinant growth factors lays the foundation for improved scientific study of this category of cosmeceutical actives.

J Drugs Dermatol. 2016;15(6):738-741.


One of the newest technological advancements in the facial cosmeceutical category is the synthesis of recombinant growth factors and their incorporation into moisturizer formulations. The recombinant manufacturing technique removes the materials obtained from the host insuring increased purity and quality, without possible contamination. Further, the technique allows a standardized dose to be obtained, which provides for better clarification of how a specific amount of growth factor affects skin appearance. The value of the recombinant growth factor can be further enhanced by formulating the material as a lyophilized powder that can be placed into a nano-liposome solution.1 This novel approach to delivery overcomes some of the prior challenges in formulating growth factor containing cosmeceuticals.
Of these growth factors, epidermal growth factor (EGF), shows the most promise for skin care because of its direct influence on keratinocyte growth and differentiation.2 Skin that is able to replicate with vigor will be more cosmetically attractive than aging skin. The concept of growth factor incorporation into moisturizers began with the utilization of spent fibroblast media derived from the culture of fetal foreskins. This spent media was previously discarded as the fibroblasts were cultured for a variety of medical uses. The spent media contained some remaining unused nutrients and numerous substances secreted by the fibroblasts during their growth.3 The spent media product utilized a unique two chamber design whereby the fibroblast media was dispensed from one orifice while the moisturizer was expressed from a second separate orifice. The two chambers were encased in a single tube dispenser.
The new technology studied in this research combined a pure recombinant epidermal growth factor in a serum formulation applied initially to the face followed by application of a crosslinked hyaluronic acid based serum. The products were unique in appearance as the growth factor is a clear liquid while the crosslinked hyaluronic acid serum is a clear gel, formulated to the same standards as commercially available injectable filler materials. These two products were packaged separately and applied sequentially. The objective of this research was to evaluate the effect of a recombinant epidermal growth factor serum combined with a hyaluronic acid based hydrator as compared to a currently marketed spent fibroblast growth media and moisturizer in aging skin after 12 weeks of use.