Tns Recovery Complex®
SkinMedica Tns Recovery Complex®Ingredients explained
Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media (HFCM) essentially means a "Growth Factor Cocktail" for your skin. We have written more about the most common GF used in skincare, the Epidermal Growth Factor here, so if you are new to the topic head over there to catch up. The TL;DR version is that a Growth Factor is a medium long amino acid sequence (= small protein = big peptide) that works as a cell signaling molecule to stimulate cell growth, proliferation, healing and/or differentiation.
Ingredients called "Conditioned Media" cover not one but a mix of Growth Factors derived from some cells grown in a lab. In the EU, human cell-derived ingredients are illegal, so GF products available in the EU usually use a plant source (e.g. barley). In the US, human-derived GFs are all OK, and Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media is derived, as its name suggests, from human fibroblast cells (VIP skin cells for collagen production).
The company Skinmedica was a pioneer in using GFs in cosmeceutical skincare, and their version of HFCM contains a "proprietary mixture of growth factors, cytokines, and soluble matrix proteins secreted by cultured neonatal human dermal fibroblasts during the production of extracellular matrix (ECM)". It is claimed to be a physiologically balanced mix of GFs that are ideal for skin cells to regenerate themselves. More specifically, it contains growth factors that can promote angiogenesis (VEGF and hepatocyte growth factor), modulate inflammation (IL-6 and IL-8), and enhance ECM deposition (TGF-β1 and platelet-derived growth factor-A).
Skinmedica has pretty convincing research showing that their products containing GFs (TNS line) work and have great anti-aging benefits. Multiple clinical studies show that the TNS Recovery Complex improves the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, skin tone and texture. The benefits are even greater when GFs are combined with tried and true anti-aging actives such as antioxidants and retinol.
This all sounds really good, however, GFs in skincare are somewhat controversial. As potent mitogenic (= stimulates cell proliferation) molecules, you should not use them if you have any of the skin cancer risk factors high or if you have psoriasis. We have written more about the concerns at EGF.
Overall, Growth Factors have increasing evidence (both proper clinical studies as well as some GF products with a cult following) showing that they have great anti-aging benefits. Whether you are comfortable with using human-derived ingredients or if you feel the cons outweigh the pros, is up to you. If you are a better safe than sorry type, daily SPF + retinol is still the golden standard of anti-aging.
A handy helper ingredient that works as an emulsifier or solubilizer to include oil-loving ingredients (such as fragrance) into water-based products.
A nice odorless liquid used mainly as a superior solubilizer and efficacy booster for cosmetic active ingredients such as skincare bigshot vitamin C, self-tanning active DHA or the anti-acne gold standard, benzoyl peroxide.
Other than that it can also be used in hair care products where it gives a longer-lasting and more uniform coloring. According to a manufacturer, it might even prevent the formation of split ends.
Though its long name does not reveal it, this polymer molecule (big molecule from repeated subunits or monomers) is a relative to the super common, water-loving thickener, Carbomer. Both of them are big molecules that contain acrylic acid units, but Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer also contains some other monomers that are hydrophobic, i.e. water-hating.
This means that our molecule is part water- and part oil-loving, so it not only works as a thickener but also as an emulsion stabilizer. It is very common in gel-type formulas that also contain an oil-phase as well as in cleansers as it also works with most cleansing agents (unlike a lot of other thickeners).
An alkaline (high pH, aka basic) material that is used to set the pH of the cosmetic formula to the right value.
Super common little helper ingredient that helps products to remain nice and stable for a longer time. It does so by neutralizing the metal ions in the formula (that usually get into there from water) that would otherwise cause some not so nice changes.
If you have spotted ethylhexylglycerin on the ingredient list, most probably you will see there also the current IT-preservative, phenoxyethanol. They are good friends because ethylhexylglycerin can boost the effectiveness of phenoxyethanol (and other preservatives) and as an added bonus it feels nice on the skin too.
Also, it's an effective deodorant and a medium spreading emollient.
- A natural moisturizer that’s also in our skin
- A super common, safe, effective and cheap molecule used for more than 50 years
- Not only a simple moisturizer but knows much more: keeps the skin lipids between our skin cells in a healthy (liquid crystal) state, protects against irritation, helps to restore barrier
- Effective from as low as 3% with even more benefits at higher concentrations up to 20-40% (around 10% is a good usability-effectiveness sweet spot)
- High-glycerin moisturizers are awesome for treating severely dry skin
It’s a handy multi-tasking ingredient that gives the skin a nice, soft feel. At the same time, it also boosts the effectiveness of other preservatives, such as the nowadays super commonly used phenoxyethanol.
The blend of these two (caprylyl glycol + phenoxyethanol) is called Optiphen, which not only helps to keep your cosmetics free from nasty things for a long time but also gives a good feel to the finished product. It's a popular duo.
A chelating agent that helps to preserve cosmetic products by neutralizing the metal ions (especially iron) in the formula (that usually get into there from water). Its special thing is that it also acts as a biostatic and fungistatic agent and remains active even at high pH.
It is often coupled with antimicrobial glycols (such as propanediol) to create a "preservative free preservative system" for cosmetic products.
It’s pretty much the current IT-preservative. It’s safe and gentle, but even more importantly, it’s not a feared-by-everyone-mostly-without-scientific-reason paraben.
It’s not something new: it was introduced around 1950 and today it can be used up to 1% worldwide. It can be found in nature - in green tea - but the version used in cosmetics is synthetic.
Other than having a good safety profile and being quite gentle to the skin it has some other advantages too. It can be used in many types of formulations as it has great thermal stability (can be heated up to 85°C) and works on a wide range of pH levels (ph 3-10).
It’s often used together with ethylhexylglycerin as it nicely improves the preservative activity of phenoxyethanol.
Exactly what it sounds: nice smelling stuff put into cosmetic products so that the end product also smells nice. Fragrance in the US and parfum in the EU is a generic term on the ingredient list that is made up of 30 to 50 chemicals on average (but it can have as much as 200 components!).
If you are someone who likes to know what you put on your face than fragrance is not your best friend - no way to know what’s really in it.
Also, if your skin is sensitive, fragrance is again not your best friend. It’s the number one cause of contact allergy to cosmetics. It’s definitely a smart thing to avoid with sensitive skin (and fragrance of any type - natural is just as allergic as synthetic, if not worse!).
A common fragrance ingredient that has a sweet scent somewhere between lily and fruity melon. Can be found in essential oils, such as lavender oil, orange flower oil or ylang-ylang.
In cosmetics, it can be used up to 1%. It’s one of the “EU 26 fragrances” that has to be labelled separately (and cannot be simply included in the term “fragrance/perfume” on the label) because of allergen potential. Best to avoid if your skin is sensitive.
Linalool is a super common fragrance ingredient. It’s kind of everywhere - both in plants and in cosmetic products. It’s part of 200 natural oils including lavender, ylang-ylang, bergamot, jasmine, geranium and it can be found in 90-95% of prestige perfumes on the market.
The problem with linalool is, that just like limonene it oxidises on air exposure and becomes allergenic. That’s why a product containing linalool that has been opened for several months is more likely to be allergenic than a fresh one.
A study made in the UK with 483 people tested the allergic reaction to 3% oxidised linalool and 2.3% had positive test results.
A common fragrance ingredient that has a sweet, vanilla, nutty scent. When diluted it smells like freshly-mown hay.
It’s one of the “EU 26 fragrances” that has to be labelled separately (and cannot be simply included in the term “fragrance/perfume” on the label) because of allergen potential. Best to avoid if your skin is sensitive.
It’s a common fragrance ingredient that is one of the “EU 26 fragrances” that has to be labelled separately (and cannot be simply included in the term “fragrance/perfume” on the label) because of allergen potential. Best to avoid if your skin is sensitive.
Geraniol is a common fragrance ingredient. It smells like rose and can be found in rose oil or in small quantities in geranium, lemon and many other essential oils.
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|what‑it‑does||emulsifying | surfactant/cleansing|
|what‑it‑does||solvent | moisturizer/humectant | perfuming|
|irritancy, com.||0, 0|
|what‑it‑does||chelating | viscosity controlling|
|what‑it‑does||skin-identical ingredient | moisturizer/humectant|
|irritancy, com.||0, 0|
|what‑it‑does||moisturizer/humectant | emollient|