epidermal growth factor (EGF)

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Categories:
Anti-Irritants , Cell-Communicating Ingredients
Stimulates cell division of many different cell types. There is research showing it to be helpful for wound and burn healing (Sources: Journal of Controlled Release, April 2007, pages 169–176; Journal of Burn Care and Rehabilitation, March–April 2002, pages 116–125; and Journal of Dermatologic Surgery and Oncology, July 1992, pages 604–606). There is also research showing that its effect is no different from that of a placebo and that it may not be effective at all (Sources: The British Journal of Surgery, February 2003, pages 133–146; Wounds, 2001, volume 13, number 2, pages 53–58; and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, August 1995, pages 251–254). It can have anti-inflammatory properties when applied to skin (Source: Skin Pharmacology and Applied Skin Physiology, January-April 1999, pages 79–84), although it also can promote tumor growth (Source: Journal of Surgical Research, April 2002, pages 175–182). In general, the potentially frightening consequences of growth factors can come into play when they are taken internally, as in certain cancer treatments (interleukin and interferon are growth factors), because they can be highly mitogenic (causing cell division), and at certain concentrations and lengths of application can cause cells to overproliferate. This overabundance of cells causes problems, one result of which is cancer. No one is exactly certain what happens when EGFs are applied to healthy, intact skin, but there is concern that with repeated use EGFs can cause skin cells to overproduce, and that’s not good (psoriasis is an example of what happens when skin cells overproduce).

All of the research that does exist on EGFs has primarily studied their short-term use for wound healing. See human growth factor

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