Stem Cells vs. Growth Factors vs. Peptides

Stem Cells vs. Growth Factors vs. Peptides

Recently, at DNA Skin Institute™, we have been asked many questions in regards to “Stem Cells” that are typically stored in a jar, at room temperature. The small print on these “Stem Cell” products often times reveals that the product does not actually contain Stem Cells, but Growth Factors or Peptides instead. Addressing the difference among Stem Cells, Growth Factors and Peptides is an issue we would like to clear up for all of our accounts as it has been presented to us in volume as of lately.

DNA CryoStem Cell Therapy
Our CEO and creator of DNA Skin Institute, Dr. Noel Aguilar, and his research team broke the code for younger-looking skin through the revolutionary DNA CryoStem Skin Therapy System. Dr. Aguilar developed this technology based on a well perfected technique known as Hibernated Biogenesis, the direct utilization of cryogenically preserved (frozen) embryonic serum containing stem cells.


Skin cells are like people. They start off fresh, and full of energy. As time passes, every cell loses strength and becomes more independent as its surrounding tissue deteriorates and simply runs slower and rougher. The result is progressive aging over the entire body. Just as with humans, cells need other cells for information, support, nourishment and direction. For skin to work the way it does, every cell must work in perfect unison with its surrounding tissue. This biotechnology is specific to the organ it is addressing. In the field of esthetics, the specific organ is skin. The CryoStem biologically active serum is selected to specifically target skin to achieve specific results. The serum is processed to retain all the constituents of skin’s complex make up – components required for skin cell renewal and overall skin rejuvenation. A “like matches like concept” is the reason why this biotechnology is so effective in correcting and nourishing the skin. By being tissue specific, there is a matching of tissue, its energetics and consciousness, and the same biological functions. This is known as T-SON Technology (Tissue-Specific Organic Nutrients.)


In other words, the cryogenic serum is performing the same identical functions and tasks as live human skin. By introducing a product that functions at the same cellular level, a natural communication pathway is already established. Since human skin is already familiar with these communication patterns, it recognizes the information and effectively utilizes the resources provided. The skin is “in tune” with the constituents of the serum and draws from these resources to repair, heal and rejuvenate itself.  DNA CryoStem extracts can stimulate up to 72% of human skin Fibroblast synthesis. Our CryoStem frozen products, enriched with T-SON technology, are a perfect blueprint of healthy younger skin cells. Learn more about our proprietary stem cell facial>

Growth Hormone

The issue of human growth factor (HGF) is exceedingly complicated and unclear. The physiological intricacies of the varying HGFs and their actions challenge any layperson’s comprehension. Nonetheless, because the use of HGF seems to be the direction some skin-care companies are taking, and because there is a large body of research showing its efficacy for wound healing (but not for wrinkles), it does deserve comment.

HGFs make up a complex family of hormones that are produced by the body to control cell growth and cell division in skin, blood, bone, and nerve tissue. Most significantly, HGFs regulate the division and reproduction of cells, and they also can influence the growth rate of some cancers. HGFs occur naturally in the body, but they also are synthesized and used in medicine for a range of applications, including wound healing and immune-system stimulation. HGFs are chemical messengers that bind to receptor sites on the cell surface (receptor sites are places where cells communicate with a substance, “signaling factors,” to let them know what to or what not to do). HGFs must communicate with cells to instruct them to activate the production of new cells, or to instruct a cell to create new cells that have different functions. Another way to think of HGFs is that they are messengers designed to be received or “heard” by specific receptor sites or “ears” on the cell. HGFs, such as transforming growth factor (TGF, stimulates collagen production) or epidermal growth factor (EGF, stimulates skin-cell production), play a significant role in healing surgical wounds. The main task of HGFs is to cause cell division, which is helpful; however, at certain concentrations and over certain durations of application they can cause cells to over-proliferate, which can cause cancer or other health problems. In essence, speed up aging!

But what happens when you put HGFs on skin, particularly TGF and EGF, which some cosmetic companies are using? The risk is that they could accelerate the growth of skin cancer by stimulating the overproduction of skin cells. In the case of TGF, which stimulates collagen production, it can encourage scarring, because scars are the result of excessive collagen production, and if you make too much collagen you get a scar or a knot on the skin such as a keloidal scar (seen to the right).  Most of the research on the issue of HGFs for skin has looked primarily at the issue of wound healing, and at short-term use of HGFs. In skin-care products, however, they would be used repeatedly and possibly over long periods of time. A shortcoming of HGFs, according to an article by Dr. Donald R. Owen in Global Cosmetic Industry (March 1999), is that,  “The body produces these [HGFs] in exquisitely small concentrations at just the right location and time …. Actual growth factors such as [EGF and TGF-B] are [large] configurations, which do not penetrate the skin… They [also] lose their activity within days in water or even as solids at normal temperatures… [Yet], even after all these complications; the siren’s song is too strong. We [the cosmetics chemists] will use them.” According to Drs. H. Ray Jailan, MD and Jenny Kim, MD, PhD, “many cosmeceuticals now contain various growth factors including EGF, insulin-like growth factor, platelet growth factor, and keratinocyte growth factor. Although these growth factors can theoretically induce keratinocyte differentiation and dermal remodeling, whether any of the products available to consumers demonstrate significant clinical effectiveness in preventing or reversing photoaging has not been established.” The doctors went on to state “Whether the TGF-B and other growth factors contained in cosmeceuticals are stable, can be absorbed adequately, or exert a functionally significant outcome to induce dermal remodeling and reverse photoaging [wrinkles] is unclear since well-controlled clinical studies are lacking.”

The research into HGFs is without question intriguing, but much remains unknown at this time, especially in terms of long-term risk or stability when they are used in cosmetics and applied to skin. In this arena, if cosmetics companies continue to use HGFs, it is the consumer who will be the guinea pig.


At DNA, we incorporate Peptides in our Zen Therapy Gel to be used to help with Microcurrent conduction and also to be cocktailed into daily DNA Moisturizer for skin firming effects.  Our Peptides are from sources not synthesized in a Lab. Peptides have been a hot topic for years since Dr. Perricone  discussed them in his best selling book, ‘The Wrinkle Cure”.  As the building blocks of proteins, peptides have become an essential ingredient in anti-aging skin care. Peptides are a string of amino acids that are held together by bonds of nitrogen and carbon. Short chain peptides are able to penetratethe epidermis and send signals to cells, informing them how to function.
There are many different types of peptides, which have various effects on the cellular function of the skin. Considered by many to be one of the most effective treatments in repairing damaged and aging skin, the most important thing to remember when using a peptide formula is diligence.   We believe by incorporating Peptides we are providing more support for the Collagen Synthesis that our CryoStem frozen products induce.  However, a Peptide is not a Stem Cell!
-Tisha Frazier
National Trainer
Esthetic Division

(Sources: Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy, June 2008, pages 104–109; Journal of Burn Care and Rehabilitation, March–April 2002, pages 116–125; Journal of Dermatologic Surgery and Oncology, July 1992, pages 604–606; Journal of Anatomy, July 2005, pages 67–78; International Wound Journal, June 2006, pages 123–130;Tissue Engineering, January 2007, pages 21–28;Wounds, 2001, volume 13, number 2, pages 53–58; Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, August 1995, pages 251–254, and September 1997, pages 657–664; Skin Pharmacology and Applied Skin Physiology, January–April 1999, pages 79–84; Journal of Surgical Research, April 2002, pages 175–182; and Cosmetic Dermatology, Second Edition, McGraw Hill Medical, Baumann, Leslie, et. al.,2009, pages 23–24).


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