Misleading Marketing Hijacks Maternal Instincts to Sell Us Flawed Science

The word “placenta” has strong connotations: it is the organ that delivers nutrition to the baby in a mother’s womb. Is human placenta safe for use by humans? The FDA does not think so. It is contaminated with bacteria and probably with some virus. But virus or not, the FDA does not allow human derived materials to be used in cosmetics.

Still, the word “placenta” is worth a lot of money. Companies will take the strong feelings we have for babies and maternity and use them to sell a product unsuitable for the skin.

Biology of the placenta

The placenta is the respiratory, excretory, and digestive organ for the fetus. In humans, the placenta is delivered by the mother soon after the baby’s birth. It is not needed by the baby anymore. But while it is still developing, the embryo has increasing nutritional needs. These are met by the development of an association with the uterine wall into which it implants. A series of synchronized morphological and biochemical changes occur in the embryo and the uterus. The final product of this is the placenta, a temporary organ that allows physiological exchange of metabolites, but no direct connection between the maternal circulation and that of the embryo.

In the placenta, you will find many growth factors. Some that fit in the development plan for a fetus, like Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF), plus others that promote the development of blood vessels. This is because, after all, the placenta is a big mass of blood vessels moving everything back and forth from mother to baby, and vice versa.

The magic of words

You will find the word “placenta” in some skin care products. Don’t worry though, those products will not be beneficial or dangerous for your skin because they do NOT contain placenta, human or animal. They may contain vegetable placenta: a thin piece of vegetable tissue that transfers nutrients from the fruit to the seed. But this is not much use unless you are actually a seed.

So what is in this BIO-Placenta product on the market? An assortment of growth factors enrobed in lecithin, nutrients derived from soybean, one amino acid (glutamine), hyaluronic acid and preservatives.

Ingredients: Water (and) Lecithin (and) Acetyl Glutamine (and) sh-Oligopeptide-1 (and) sh-Oligopeptide-2 (and) sh-Polypeptide-1 (and) sh-Polypeptide-9 (and) sh-Polypeptide-11 (and) Bacillus/Soybean/Folic Acid Ferment Extract (and) Sodium Hyaluronate (and) Caprylyl Glycol (and) Butylene Glycol (and) 1,2-Hexanediol.

What are the problems with this ingredient list? In this case, the growth factors are obtained using biotechnology just like Skin Actives’ growth factors, so I have no problem with that. However, growth factor IGF-1 (sh-Oligopeptide-2), is usually found in blood vessels in the smooth muscles, which makes sense for the placenta but not necessarily for adult skin. It does not make sense to apply growth factors that promote development of blood vessels to the skin. In fact, there should be a warning for Rosacea sufferers. This product is a result of faulty thinking by people who don’t know enough biology or biochemistry.

Skin Actives Scientific’s product with beneficial growth factors

I could give you other examples of products that proclaim to contain growth factors, but nothing in the market comes close to our Collagen Serum.

Ingredients: Water, Seakelp (Lactobacillus/Kelp Ferment Filtrate) Bioferment, Glycerin, Sodium PCA, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Sodium Hyaluronate, Boswellia Serrata Extract, Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola) Extract, Carnosine, N-Acetyl-D-Glucosamine, Niacinamide, Betulinic Acid, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Epigallocatechin Gallate, Glutathione, sh-Polypeptide-2 (Thioredoxin), sh-Oligopeptide-1 (Epidermal Growth Factor), Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol (and) Caprylyl Glycol (and) Sorbic Acid.

When you look at the ingredient list, you will find a few ingredients that are included to provide a suitable medium for our actives, plus a long list of active ingredients. No fragrances and no colorants. There are building blocks the cells require to do their job, plus actives known to protect the structure and function of collagen. The rest are there to hydrate the skin, keep the active proteins active, and keep you safe from bacteria and mold that would love this rich medium. The idea of this product was to include every active known to stimulate synthesis of collagen and/or preserve its structure, because a protein that has lost its original structure is no longer able to do its job properly. By “known,” I mean studied and proven as shown in research that can be found in reputable scientific journals.

The growth factor in our Collagen Serum is Epidermal Growth Factor, which is there to tell your skin cells what to do. EGF (sh-Oligopeptide-1) is safe and present in your body since before you are born, although levels decrease as we age. EGF promotes cell division and survival, and synthesis of cell components. There is no need for a “delivery system,” as the growth factor works by binding to the surface of the cells.

All of these factors make our Collagen Serum the best anti-aging product you can get. Using effective growth factors and supportive actives provides you with almost everything your skin needs. Use this serum with our Every Lipid Serum to provide essential fatty acids, and your skin will thank you.

-Dr. Hannah Sivak