I Tried Human Growth Factor Induced Therapy, It’s Not What You Think

Men have turned to the procedure to improve their looks and confidence.


Kelleigh Korevaar |

The name makes it sound like something out of a futuristic early 2000’s sci-fi movie, so when I was told the procedure would be performed with a DermaStamp containing 140 needles, my mind immediately went to a Saw torture scene.

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Although it sounds like a serious and painful procedure, it’s the fact that it actually is the exact opposite that is making it so popular. And with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reporting more men than ever turning to cosmetic surgery in order to improve their looks and increase their confidence, it’s no wonder. Yes, you heard that right. Growth Factor Induced Therapy (GFIT) is a cosmetic procedure. And this is everything you need to know about it.

What Is It?

Growth factors are found naturally in the body. But as we age, the mechanisms that keep us young inevitably become sluggish and slow. That’s why you don’t exactly age like George Clooney. The signs of ageing aren’t just about wrinkles, although that is a major issue for men, especially those in the corporate world. It has an effect on your skin, hair, eyebrows and eyelashes.

The entire process is very scientific because it originated in the medical field. Dr. Ahmed Al-Qahtani did extensive work in Growth Factors for healing wounded tissue and creating artificial skin grafts.

Growth factors speed and improve the healing of damaged area by facilitating changes at the cellular level that reverts the damaged cells to a younger state, which heals the damaged skin in the process. You can see why the cosmetic industry would go wild for technology like this. Forget trying to look young, you can actually make your cells young again.

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That’s why since 1994, growth factor technology has been used to improve the appearance of ageing skin, sun-damaged skin, and help restore normal hair growth. Dr. Al-Qahtani then identified the growth factors that were most effective for improving specific issues (say your skin and hair) in exact quantities and combinations and created formulations based on this.

Why? Well because you wouldn’t want hair growth factors in your serum that would be applied to your face for anti-aging purposes (unless maybe you were sporting a weak beard). That’s where AQ Skin Solutions comes in.

How Does It Work?

Growth Factor Induce Therapy (GFIT) is the application of the growth factors. Whilst there are some products in the AQ Skin Solutions range that you can buy for at-home use. The Recovery Serum is a pharmaceutical grade serum that has to be administered by a trained skincare professional. First, if you opt for it, you will have your face lathered in a numbing agent. Don’t try be brave, you don’t have to take in the pain of 140 needles entering your skin repeatedly to feel badass.

Once you face is numbed, the treatment begins. One of the reasons this micro needling treatment is gaining popularity is because, for a major anti-ageing procedure, there is no down time. According to 8 West Clinic, a premier cosmetic plastic surgery and laser skin practice, a facelift takes a minimum of two to three weeks of recovery, and it is time people don’t have.

And considering that according to the American Academy for Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, 31% of men were “extremely likely” to consider having a cosmetic procedure. A procedure that has no down time is an ideal option for men.

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The Recovery Serum is applied directly to the skin and then your skincare specialist begins working it into your skin with the DermaStamp (the device with a head that contains 140 tiny needles). In under 15 minutes the entire procedure is finished and you can go about the rest of your day.

After the procedure, you’re given information about what you should do post-treatment. You aren’t allowed to shower or touch your skin for 24 hours and you can’t go in the sun, amongst other things. And your skin might appear red. Immediately after, my skin was quite red (nothing I couldn’t be seen in public with) and by that evening it had subsided to looking more like a slight sunburn. The next morning my skin was still slightly red but it was barely noticeable.

Is It Painful?

Throughout the entire procedure, whoever is administering it checks how you are feeling. When asked my pain level, I mostly said 2/10. It was only around my eyes and areas with thinner skin or more bone that my pain went to a 3/10. But a 2 or 3 out of 10 on the pain scale is not bad. In fact, a game of rugby would probably cause you more pain.

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It’s more of a slight discomfort than any real or unbearable pain and due to the nature of the procedure being so short, it is something that anyone can comfortably handle. But even so, is that slight discomfort and the steep price worth the results.

Should You Get It?

Whilst young men focus more on enhancing their bodies, older men are more concerned with looking younger by getting minimally invasive facial procedures, says the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

The need for men to stay at the top of their game and the growing acceptance in society towards men valuing their appearance more, and investing in their skin, is reflected in the stats. In 2017, there were nearly 100 000 men who had filler injections. This is a 99% increase since 2000, with a fourfold increase in Botox injections, said the group.

There are only two things you need to consider. Firstly, no matter what, you need to choose someone who is reliable, not your friend who watched a YouTube tutorial and bought some products off a dodgy website. That’s a recipe for disaster.

I had my procedure at GenPrac, in Cape Town with Amy Bowie from AQ Skin Solutions and Dr. Jan Nel whose client list boasts a long list of returning male customers. That’s another thing, you want someone who specialises in what you’re looking for. It’s no good going to someone who is the best in South Africa at boob jobs if what you’re after is an anti-aging procedure. It pays to do your research.

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“The extensive training that these doctors go through gives them the versatility to offer their patients more choices so that each person receives the right procedures to meet their goals,” says Dr Jeffrey Janis, president of the society. And that’s where the second important factor comes in.

Secondly, choose the right procedure for you. After having Growth Factor Induced Therapy, I noticed there was a decrease in the redness of my skin and I had no active breakouts. This is one of the touted benefits of the recovery serum, to calm inflammation and irritation.

I have some frown lines and a chicken pox scar on my forehead. There was a slight reduction in how visible these were, but I’ve had that scar for ten years and it’s deep, so I wasn’t expecting it to magically disappear from my forehead. With another few sessions and by using the Active Serum, which is a daily topical serum that you take home, I’m sure the anti-ageing benefits would be more visible. After all, you can’t undo years of damage with one session.

You have to commit to a skincare routine and that’s what will give you the best results. They don’t say your skin is an investment for no reason, it’s true. These are our Fashion & Grooming Editor, Azeez Jacobs’ recommendations for products to incorporate into your skincare routine:

Clarins Men Line-Control Eye Balm

Kick off your anti-ageing strategy with a revitalising balm that works to decrease wrinkles and crows feet. It lifts, firms and takes down puffs for a bright-eyed, revitalised look.

Buy Now

R 480

Buy Now

Lab Series Pro LS All-In-One Face Treatment

This Pro LS All-in-One Face Treatment by Lab Series is a lightweight, fast-absorbing formula that soothes, moisturises, repairs and mattifies the skin.

Buy Now

R 475

Buy Now

Loreal Men Expert Vita Lift 5

Fight the 5 common signs of ageing in just 1 step. It smooths away wrinkles, hydrates skin, fights dullness and leaves skin feeling comfortable and firmer.

Buy Now

R 149.95

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Uriage Age Protect Multi Action Cream Spf 30

You should always be wearing suncream. It’s on of the cardinal rules of fighting signs of ageing. This smooth cream acts on both signs of ageing and daily aggressions damaging the skin, from blue light, UV rays and pollution to stress and fatigue.

Buy Now

R 585

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Kiehls Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate

This formula is infused with 2% more Vitamin Cg than the original and fragmented Hyaluronic Acid. This potent serum visibly reduces wrinkles and fine lines and boosts radiance.

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R 950

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