Unpacking skin care ingredients: what do growth factors, peptides and stem cells do?

In partnership with SA’s top medical aesthetic companies

With so many options in skin care that have ‘latest technology’  and new ingredients promising fantastic results, it’s hard to know what’s what. Let’s discover which can really make a difference to your skin.

We live in an age with incredible advances in technology that gives us options we never dreamed possible in all aspects of our lives, including skin care. And these smart new ingredients can really make a difference – if they are used at the correct dosage, in the right kind of formula, and if they are appropriate for your skin concerns.

We unpack three of the biggest game-changers that focus on slowing and even reversing skin ageing to see what they do:

Growth Factors

Growth Factors are literally what their name says – they boost the growth of skin cells by communicating with the cells, sending messages to boost and grow. There are different growth factors which stimulate different types of cells – for example, some stimulate collagen production, others stimulate skin cell growth, reduce inflammation, etc. They are used in cosmeceutical skin care to help maintain a youthful complexion and a firm, smooth and healthy skin.


If you remember your school Biology, you’ll know that the building blocks of protein are amino acids. When amino acids form certain combinations, they form specific peptides – there are many – and when certain peptides come together, they create specific proteins. Our skin’s essential building blocks are protein, and one of the most important of these is collagen. With us so far?

Peptides are vitally important for the skin as, without them, the skin would lose its structure. Unfortunately, as we age, collagen and elastin proteins break down and become less efficient, causing changes in firmness and elasticity, wrinkles, changes in texture, and so on.

Peptides in skin care have been proven to reverse some of these skin-ageing signs. Specific peptides are used to rebuild specific proteins that give our skin its firmness, elasticity and smoothness.They work best as a cocktail of different peptides alongside other active ingredients such as antioxidants.

You will find peptides in:

SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Eye Complex contains a complex of flavonoids and synergistic peptides which help diminish the appearance of dark circles and under-eye bags while reinforcing the look of firmness and tone in the eye area.

SkinCeuticals Metacell Renewal B3 contains Tri-Peptide Concentrate to support natural hyaluronic acid synthesis while enhancing your skin’s firmness, along with potent antioxidant Niacinamide (vitamin B3) to stimulate skin cell turnover, reducing discoloration and strengthening your skin’s protective barrier.

Neostrata Skin Active Cellular Restoration is a powerful, multi-functional formula that helps lift and firm your skin, while reducing oxidative damage with anti-oxidants and peptides. These are responsible for enhancing collagen and reducing the appearance of deep wrinkles.

NeoStrata Skin Active Intensive Eye Therapy uses peptides to target collagen and reinforce collagen’s surrounding support matrix. The eye area appears more lifted and crow’s feet are smoothed.

Stem cells

Stem cells are prototype cells, and what makes them so remarkable is the fact that they can develop into many different kinds of cell types in the body.

In skin care, plant stem cells are included as they help protect our skin stem cells from damage and deterioration.

Found in:

Neostrata Skin Active Cellular Restoration and NeoStrata Skin Active Intensive Eye Therapy. Apple Stem Cell Extract protects the essential longevity of skin cells so that your skin behaves like younger skin.

Good to know

To find out which of these ingredients and skin care formulations will work best for your needs, get advice from the experts – an aesthetic doctor or skin care professional at an aesthetic clinic.

Remember, too, that medical skin-care products have the right dose of these active ingredients – in the right formulation – so they can be most effective. These professionals will advise you on how to incorporate these products into your routine for best results, with minimal chance of breakouts or complications.

For more information on skin care products or correct supplementation, visit Skin Renewal or contact 0861 SKIN SA (754 672).

Take the quick Beyond Beauty Survey and you could win a R2 000 Skin Renewal voucher to spend in our online store, with free delivery within South Africa. T&Cs apply.

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