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Also-called-like-this: Epidermal Growth Factor, EGF, rh-Oligopeptide-1


Sh-Oligopeptide-1 is the famous molecule, which is also called Epidermal Growth Factor or EGF. Chemically speaking, Growth Factors are largish peptides or smallish proteins, or to put it in another way, medium-length amino acid sequences (EGF consists of 53 amino acids).  Biologically speaking, Growth Factors are cellular signal molecules that can stimulate cell growth, proliferation, healing and/or differentiation. 

There are lots of Growth Factors and EGF is just one of them. The topic of "Growth Factors and skincare" is a big, confusing and controversial one and we will try our best to summarize the story for you, including the pros and the cons. 

EGF is a special snowflake when it comes to skincare as it was the first Growth Factor that made its way into cosmetic products and it is also the most common one. The American biochemist, Stanley Cohen discovered EGF and was awarded a Noble prize in 1986 for it. As the Noble prize may signify, the molecule is significant and powerful and directly stimulates the proliferation of epidermal cells. 

When it comes to Sh-Oligopeptide-1 in a cosmetic product, it has pretty well-established wound healing and skin renewal properties. It might even do more than that. According to a 2012 study on a serum containing barley bioengineered epidermal growth factor, "clinical evaluations showed statistically significant improvement in the appearance of fine lines and rhytids, skin texture, pore size, and various dyschromatic conditions apparent within the first month of use, and continuing improvement trends for the duration of the study" (which was 3 months).

This all sounds amazing, "give me some EGF Serum", we can hear you say! But as we wrote in the intro, the topic is complex and controversial so here are some of the questions that keep coming up around slathering EGF all over our face. 

The first and biggest concern is that if EGF is so good at stimulating cell proliferation, how does it relate to cancer? Is the definition of cancer not "cells proliferating out of control"?  Most experts agree on this answer: EGF is mitogenic (= stimulates cell proliferation) but not mutagenic (= does not alter the cell to make it cancerous)If you do not have cancer, you will not get cancer from EGF. However, if you have cancerous cells, EGF will help them to spread, just like it helps healthy cells. So if you have a lot of moles, excessive UV exposure in the past, or if you have any of the skin cancer risk factors, we suggest you should think twice about using EGF products. The same is true if you have psoriasis, a skin disease related to the abnormal growth of epidermal skin cells. You do not want to add fuel to the fire with EGF. 

Other (less serious) concerns are if EGF can properly penetrate the skin (as it is a medium-sized, polar molecule, so a special delivery system is probably needed), if it can affect collagen synthesis (or just works on the surface plumping up only the upmost layers of the skin) and if it has beneficial effects at all when used in isolation versus when used in a "conditioned media" that contains lots of growth factors resembling the synergistic balance found in the skin. 

Overall, our impression is that EGF is definitely a potent molecule. Some EGF products have a cult-like following adding anecdotal evidence to the clinical studies showing EGF has a beneficial effect on the skin. If you like experimenting, by all means, go ahead (unless you have psoriasis or high skin cancer risk factors), but if you are a better safe than sorry type, stick to daily SPF + a good retinoid product. This duo is still the golden standard of anti-aging.

Are you interested in Growth Factors and skincare? We have some more here:

Show me some proof

  • Schouest, Jonathan M., Teresa K. Luu, and Ronald L. Moy. "Improved texture and appearance of human facial skin after daily topical application of barley produced, synthetic, human-like epidermal growth factor (EGF) serum." Journal of drugs in dermatology: JDD 11.5 (2012): 613-620.
  • Pastore, Saveria, et al. "The epidermal growth factor receptor system in skin repair and inflammation." Journal of Investigative Dermatology 128.6 (2008): 1365-1374.
  • Brown, Gregory L., et al. "Enhancement of wound healing by topical treatment with epidermal growth factor." New England Journal of Medicine 321.2 (1989): 76-79.
  • Krane, Jeffrey F., et al. "Synergistic effects of epidermal growth factor (EGF) and insulin-like growth factor I/somatomedin C (IGF-I) on keratinocyte proliferation may be mediated by IGF-I transmodulation of the EGF receptor." Journal of investigative dermatology 96.4 (1991): 419-424.
  • Mehta, Rahul C., and Richard E. Fitzpatrick. "Endogenous growth factors as cosmeceuticals." Dermatologic therapy 20.5 (2007): 350-359.

Products with SH-Oligopeptide-1

Dermagen RM-Repair Cream JJLabs Skincare Solution Super Antioxidant Serum With EGF, Gamma Poly Glutamic Acid, And Aloe Vera Klairs Midnight Blue Youth Activating Drop JJLabs Skincare Solution Peptide Complex Anti Aging Serum LE MIEUX CLINICAL Cellpro Gf3 Lanbelle Ultra Lifting EGF Ampoule Le Mieux Stemcell EGF RevivSerums Ultimate Serum - New & Improved Sidmool 'Min Jung Gi' Bio-Nano Egf Serum SkinPep Collagen Renew Growth Factor Night Cream Toskani Rcpr 2Sol Duna Tiger Repair Ampoule Arcona Magic Green Ice™ BELAY Lactobionic Acid BeautyMed Cellular Renewal Serum With EGF Cellular Skincare Epidermal Growth Factor Serum DNA renewal Dna Regeneration Serum Joanna Vargas Twilight Face Mask Klairs Midnight Blue Youth Activating Drop Le Mieux EGF DNA Le Mieux Gf3 Cream Ray Gold Facial Mask Rhonda Allison Bio 53 Matrix Swanicoco Fermentation Peptine Eye Care Cream Tunemakers EGF Essence Esthemax Nano EGF Cure Serum 938 Manyo Factory 4Gf Eye Cream PATCH PRO Micro Needle Patch Trouble Dr. Sidmool Acetyl Ampoule Skin Actives Scientific High Potency Egf Spray Zeroid Dermanewal Revitalizing Ampoule skinVacious EGF Serum With Vitamin A & D Benton High Content Steam Cream (Old Formula) CHOSEN® By Dermatology Peptide Therapy Intense Repair Gel Cellderma Gf5 Growth Factor Serum Cosmedix Cell Id Nutritive Defense Serum Cosmedix Elite Relief Soothing Peptide Gel Eighth Day Regenerating Serum Farm Stay 24k Gold & Peptide Perfect Ampoule Cream FarmStay 24k Gold Solution Prime Ampoule Her Hyness Bio-peptide Advanced Youth Plus Glow Serum ISOMERS Skincare Ultimate Super Skin Booster Vials Kate Ryan Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) Skin Rejuvenation Serum Moonlab Gold Snail Wrinkle Free Cream RejuvAus Collagen Peptide Pores & Fine Line Serum Rx Sensora Revitalising Serum With EGF Skin Actives Scientific High Potency EGF Serum Skin Moderne Elementals Bio-placenta carrot & stick The Repair Serum hamel Double Shot 12gf Core Glow Mist Serum