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SkinMedica Products and Company History

Written by: Dr. Leslie Baumann

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Time to read 14 min

Wondering where to buy SkinMedica products online? We are an authorized dealer and we run ecommerce for over 280 doctors that sell SkinMedica. We can help you shop by your skin type to find products from one of the best selling medical-grade skincare brand - SkinMedica®?   As a dermatologist and skin care expert, I understand the importance of using products that are effective, evidence- based and recommended by dermatologists.  I will help you find the best SkinMedica products online.

SkinMedica is a top skincare brand that was founded by a dermatologist, recommended and sold by many dermatologists, and has gained recognition for its groundbreaking use of growth factors in skincare. SkinMedica products were the first to contain growth factors in an antiaging skin serum.


I will help you find the best SkinMedica products for your skin type! Then I will discuss the technology known as TNS, how it was developed, and the history of SkinMedica.  Don't miss the SkinMedica company history section at the end of this blog- it is fascinating!


Ready to shop for SkinMedica products?

Step one is to take the quiz to find out your skin type.  After the quiz you will receive a custom skincare routine where you can combine SkinMedica products with other skincare brands in your routine.

SkinMedica Products

In my Miami dermatology practice, I like to pick the best skincare products from SkinMedica and combine them with other brands in a custom skincare routine that matches my patient's skin type. These are the products that I tend to recommend the most and a brief description of why I like them. Click the individual product to see a complete dermatologist review on that SkinMedica product. (These are being added so  not all products have these yet.)


Link to shop for all SkinMedica products is here.

The Best SkinMedica Product

The very best SkinMedica product combines the TNS technology with the TNS-MR technology. You can read more about these different technologies and how they were developed below. The SkinMedica TNS Advanced + Serum is the most advanced and best growth factor serum with TNS (tissue nutrient solution).

SkinMedica TNS Advanced + Serum

I'm impressed by SkinMedica's TNS Advanced+ Serum—it has 450 growth factors derived from fibroblasts and stem cells, more than previous TNS serums. These growth factors boost collagen and cell activity to truly address aging skin. The lightweight, non-comedogenic serum works well for all wrinkle-prone skin types. My patients see improvements in wrinkle, tone and texture  on the face, neck and chest using TNS Advanced+ Serum.  It can be layered before retinol in your skincare routine to boost it's antiaging abilities.

This serum has Lactococcus Ferment Lysate and Saccharide Isomerate to stabilize the skin's microbiome .It also contains the antiaging peptide Dimer Tripeptide-43.


Click to learn more about this bestselling antiaging serum!

Shop for SkinMedica Products

SkinMedica is most known for their serums. They have good antiaging, skin lightening, and hydrating serums. Take the skin type quiz to see which SkinMedica Products are best for you. In this section I will give you the same advice that I give me patients on how to choose a SkinMedica serum to use in your skincare routine.

Best Antiaging Serums from SkinMedica

SkinMedica has several types of antiaging serums with different combinations of these antiaging ingredients:

  1. Growth factors
  2. Tissue Nutrient Solution
  3. Retinol
  4. Vitamin C
  5. Hyaluronic acid

You can click on the ingredient above to learn about it or continue reading to get advice on how to choose which SkinMedica antiaging serum is best for you.

SkinMedica Retinol

Retinol is always the first antiaging serum you should buy.  It is the most effective and has the most evidence-based research. The SkinMedica retinol serum is well made, has a good form of retinol, and is manufactured and bottled in a light and air free environment that helps keep retinol stable and effective. 

These are some of the best dermatologist-recommended retinols.  They come in 3 strengths.  Retinol beginners should always choose the lowest strength and follow these how to use retinol instructions.  Do not use retinol if your skin is stinging, peeling, or you have active rosacea

This is the lowest strength retinol that SkinMedica makes. If you are beginning a retinol, choose this strength and use it every third night after your moisturizer in your evening skincare routine.

Once you are used to the 0.25% retinol and are using it every night, you should increase to the mid strength 0.5% retinol. This strength is not as strong as prescription tretinoin. Follow our retinol instructions on how to increase the strength from 0.25% to 0.5%.

The 1% retinol is the strongest retinol by SkinMedica.  It is not as strong as the weakest prescription strength tretinoin (0.025%), but it is very effective and can cause side effects if you do not use it properly in your skincare routine. Make sure you are using it with the right cleansers and moisturizers for your Baumann Skin Type to avoid irritation.

SkinMedica TNS and Growth Factors

Many SkinMedica products have growth factors and it can be hard to choose.  This guide can help you figure out which growth factor serum to buy if for some reason you do not want to take the free skin type quiz  which will also tell you which SkinMedica product is right for your skin type.

This is the most advanced of any growth factor TNS serum on the market.  If you cannot tolerate retinol, this is the best antiaging serum for you. You can use this in your morning or night regimen.  You can use it before retinol a night. This is a good choice if you have reactive sensitive skin such as rosacea and cannot use a retinol. Do not use if you have had skin cancers on your face.

SkinMedica HA5

The SkinMedica HA5 serum contains five distinct molecular weights of hyaluronic acid (HA) ranging from 800 kDa to less than 10 kDa. This allows the product to provide both surface hydration as well as deeper skin penetration and hydration. The 800 kDa HA is an extremely long chain molecule that creates a moisture-binding film on the skin's surface, acting as a humectant. The longer chain 500 kDa and 200 kDa HA molecules also provide humectant properties while being small enough to penetrate into the epidermis. The 50 kDa medium chains and less than 10 kDa short chains are able to penetrate through the epidermis into the dermis. These tiny HA fragments bind water and help the serum carry other ingredients, like vitamins and antioxidants, deeper into the skin where they can provide more targeted treatment.

 

In addition to the multi-weight HA, the HA5 also contains several peptides including Tripeptide-29 and Tripeptide-1. These peptides boost collagen and elastin production in the dermis, helping to firm and smooth skin texture. 

 

Overall, the combination of different sized HA molecules, collagen-supporting peptides, antioxidants and other ingredients allows the HA5 to deeply hydrate while also treating signs of aging for a more youthful appearance

This hyaluronic acid serum also has antioxidants like green tea leaf extract and vitamin E to provide protection against free radical damage. 

This serum is great light moisturizer for oily skin types.  Dry skin types should use this HA serum in combination with a barrier repair moisturizer.

The Best Skin Lightening Products from SkinMedica

The best serum from SkinMedica to lighten dark spots is SkinMedica Lytera 2.0. This was the first topical serum on the market to contain tranexamic acid.This is one of the most popular serums to treat dark spots because it blocks melanin production in many different ways.

SkinMedica Lytera 2.0

SkinMedica Lytera 2.0 has these skin lightening ingredients that work together to treat hyperpigmentation:

the story behind skin medica

The Story Behind SkinMedica

SkinMedica's journey as a bestselling skincare brand began when the interest in injectable dermal fillers grew to the point that research was looking into how to make dermal fillers from human collagen instead of cow collagen. The process of growing human tissue in the lab developed into the discovery of Tissue Nutrient Solution (TNS) and the birth of one the top 10 bestselling skincare brands in the world.

TNS Recovery Complex was the first growth factor serum released on the market in 2001.

Dr. Gail Naughton

Scientist Gail Naughton and her team first described using fibroblast cell culture media  for topical use around 1999.  They named this growth factor rich serum NouriCel . (3,4)At this time injectable collagen (Zyderm® and Zyplast®) were new cosmetic procedures and fillers known as CosmoDerm® and CosmoPlast®  were being developed from fibroblasts grown from a piece of foreskin using technology developed by Dr. Naughton.  The rumor was that the donated skin was from a circumcision of someone in the company's son but I have no idea if this is true. CosmoDerm® and CosmoPlast® were approved by FDA as dermal fillers in March 2003. The fibroblast cells used to make CosmoDerm and CosmoPlast grew in a conditioned media that was full of growth factors produced by the growing fibroblasts.  This media was called Nouricel® and later Nouricel-MD® but now is known as Tissue Nutrient Solution® (TNS). 

"I began hearing about growth factors for skin rejuvenation in 2001 when I was writing Cosmetic Dermatology: Principles and Practice (McGraw Hill 2002)." Leslie Baumann MD

I was a Professor at the University of Miami running the Department of Cosmetic Dermatology when Dr.Richard Fitzpatrick began lecturing on the use of growth factors to rejuvenate the skin.   I was doing research trials for the company Inamed® who made the CosmoDerm® and CosmoPlast®  fillers from which TNS was extracted. I remember being very excited about this new technology. It was so new that growth factors were only briefly mentioned in my textbook on cosmetic dermatology which was the first cosmetic dermatology textbook in the world.  That's how new growth factors were at the time! But we all knew they would play an important role in skin rejuvenation and restoring skin collagen.

This is an image from 2003 of the large vats used to grow fibroblasts to make the dermal fillers CosmoDerm and CosmPlast.  The media used to make TNS was isolated from these cells.  The technology has changed and been improved since this time with the acquisition of HIstogen's technology.

Dr. Richard Fitzpatrick

Tissue Nutrient Solution

This groundbreaking discovery of growth factors in cultured fibroblast media paved the way for the development of TNS (Tissue Nutrient Solution), a proprietary blend of growth factors, soluble collagen, antioxidants, and matrix proteins. This growth factor-rich media is a key ingredient in SkinMedica products. Over the years, SkinMedica has continually improved the formulation, ensuring that it remains at the forefront of medical-grade skincare. In 2017, SkinMedica (owned by Allergan  at the time) acquired the skincare line Regenica owned by Dr. Naughtons's company Histogen. (7)  Regenica used Multipotent Resignaling Complex (MRCx) which also contains growth factors. There is a new version of TNS called TNS-MR that combines the TNS and MRCx technologies to form the most advanced growth factor serum on the market now.  TNS Essential Serum contains 380 dermal derived growth factors while TNS-MR contains 450 epidermal and dermal derived growth factors.

“Histogen has developed a next-generation regenerative cell technology, harnessing the power of growth factors and stem-cell signaling molecules for skin rejuvenation that complements Allergan’s flagship growth factor technology—TNS,” said Rahul Mehta, PhD, vice president of research and development at SkinMedica, an Allergan Company." MedEsthetics July 27, 2017

Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media

Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media is the INCI name found on the product ingredient label and is essentially the same thing as Tissue Nutrient Solution (TNS) or Multipotent Resignaling Complex (MRCx).  It is the name for the solution that contains growth factors.  

Allergan and SkinMedica

SkinMedica Is owned by Allergan: Allergan is owned by the pharmaceutical company Abbvie. Allergan acquired SkinMedica in 2012 for approximately $350 million. It is not one of the top science-based medically proven skincare brands in the world.

Is SkinMedica the Best Skincare Brand?

The best skincare brand for you depends upon which of the 16 Baumann Skin Types you are, your values, and budget.

 Take the free skin type quiz to find out which  products are best for you and build a custom skin care routine.

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Level up your skin care knowledge with medical advice from dermatologists

Is SkinMedica worth the money?

If growth factors are right for your Baumann Skin Type, SkinMedica makes the best antiaging growth factor skincare products with the most evidence based studies to show the products really work. However, not all skin types need growth factors in their skin care routine.

Is Skin Type Solutions an authorized seller of SkinMedica prodcuts?

Yes Skin Type Solutions is one of the best places to buy SkinMedica products because it is an authorized SkinMedica seller and keeps the products in an air conditioned warehouse to maintain the stability of the growth factors and antioxidants in the skincare products.

SkinMedica Lawsuit

In 2014 a lawsuit Ruhnke et al v. SkinMedica, Inc. and Allergan, Inc., Case No. 14-cv-00420, C. D. CA was filed against SkinMedica for failure to disclose safety risks from human growth factors. The class action lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed in Jan 2018. (Ref 9)

Where to buy SkinMedica products?

Only buy SkinMedica from licensed sellers with an airconditioned warehouse like SkinTypeSolutions.com. or ExclusiveBeautyClub.com. Do not buy SkinMedica products on eBay because they may be counterfeit or stored improperly. Exclusive Beauty club is an authorized SkinMedica seller on Amazon.

Does SkinMedica test on animals?

SkinMedica is cruelty free. Its products are not tested on animals.

Are SkinMedica products Gluten free?

Most SkinMedica products are gluten free but it depends upon which products. However, gluten must go through the digestive tract to cause a sensitivity reaction so using topical gluten containing skincare should not cause any problems for gluten sensitive people.

Is SkinMedica Vegan?

No SkinMedica is not vegan. Some of the growth factors are derived from human cells.

Are SkinMedica Products Safe in Pregnancy?

No pregnancy safety studies have been done. It is always a good idea to avoid retinol during pregnancy. Studies on the safety of topical growth factors in pregnancy have not been done.

What is better Obagi or SkinMedica?

SkinMedica has better growth factor products for anti-aging while Obagi has better skin lightening and melasma treatments for resistant skin types. Find out your Baumann Skin Type to see which brand is better for you.

Where to buy SkinMedica Online?

The best place to buy SkinMedica online is at SkinTypeSolutions.com because you can take the scientific skin type quiz and get a dermatologic recommended skincare routine of SkinMedica products to make sure you are buying the right ones for your Baumann Skin Type.

Is SkinMedica retinol as strong as tretinoin?

The 1.0% retinol is almost as strong as 0.025% tretinoin gel, but tretinoin is stronger.

What does SkinMedica retinol do?

Retinol benefits skin by smoothing fine lines, treating acne, and exfoliating away dark spots. It is one of the best antiaging serums on the market.

What is SkinMedica known for?

SkinnMedica is known for its growth factor technology called human fibroblast conditioned media or Tissue Nutrient Solution.

Best References on SkinMedica Products

  1. Baumann L. Antiaging Ingredients in Ch. 37 of Baumann's Cosmetic Dermatology Ed 3. (McGraw Hill 2022)
  2. Baumann, L. Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients (McGraw Hill 2015)
  3. https://patents.google.com/patent/US6372494B1
  4. https://patents.google.com/patent/US7118746B1
  5. www.skinmedica.com/us/time_line
  6. https://www.medestheticsmag.com/news/article/21147679/allergan-acquires-regenica-line-with-plans-to-expand-histogen-growth-factor-technology
  7. https://www.genengnews.com/news/allergans-skinmedica-to-market-histogen-proteins-growth-factors/
  8. Sundaram, H., Gold, M., Waldorf, H., Lupo, M., Nguyen, V. L., & Karnik, J. (2015). Pilot, Multicenter, Open-Label Evaluation of Safety, Tolerability and Efficacy of a Novel, Topical Multipotent Growth Factor Formulation for the Periorbital Region. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology: JDD, 14(12), 1410-1417.
  9. https://truthinadvertising.org/class-action/skinmedicas-tns-products/
  10. Herndon, J. H., Makino, E. T., Jiang, L. I., Stephens, T. J., & Mehta, R. C. (2015). Long-term multi-product facial regimen in subjects with moderate-to-severe photodamage and hyperpigmentation. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, 8(8), 16.
  11. Atkin, D. H., Trookman, N. S., Rizer, R. L., Schreck, L. E., Ho, E. T., Gotz, V., ... & Mehta, R. C. (2010). Combination of physiologically balanced growth factors with antioxidants for reversal of facial photodamage. Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy, 12(1), 14-20.
  12. Gold, M. H., Wilson, A., Makino, E., & Mehta, R. (2023). Improvements in skin quality parameters in postmenopausal participants after use of topical growth factor serum. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 22(1), 236-244.
  13. Mehta, R. C., & Fitzpatrick, R. E. (2007). Endogenous growth factors as cosmeceuticals. Dermatologic therapy, 20(5), 350-359.

  1. Baumann L. Antiaging Ingredients in Ch. 37 of Baumann's Cosmetic Dermatology Ed 3. (McGraw Hill 2022)
  2. Baumann, L. Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients (McGraw Hill 2015)
  3. https://patents.google.com/patent/US6372494B1
  4. https://patents.google.com/patent/US7118746B1
  5. www.skinmedica.com/us/time_line
  6. https://www.medestheticsmag.com/news/article/21147679/allergan-acquires-regenica-line-with-plans-to-expand-histogen-growth-factor-technology
  7. https://www.genengnews.com/news/allergans-skinmedica-to-market-histogen-proteins-growth-factors/
  8. Sundaram, H., Gold, M., Waldorf, H., Lupo, M., Nguyen, V. L., & Karnik, J. (2015). Pilot, Multicenter, Open-Label Evaluation of Safety, Tolerability and Efficacy of a Novel, Topical Multipotent Growth Factor Formulation for the Periorbital Region. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology: JDD, 14(12), 1410-1417.
  9. https://truthinadvertising.org/class-action/skinmedicas-tns-products/
  10. Herndon, J. H., Makino, E. T., Jiang, L. I., Stephens, T. J., & Mehta, R. C. (2015). Long-term multi-product facial regimen in subjects with moderate-to-severe photodamage and hyperpigmentation. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, 8(8), 16.
  11. Atkin, D. H., Trookman, N. S., Rizer, R. L., Schreck, L. E., Ho, E. T., Gotz, V., ... & Mehta, R. C. (2010). Combination of physiologically balanced growth factors with antioxidants for reversal of facial photodamage. Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy, 12(1), 14-20.
  12. Gold, M. H., Wilson, A., Makino, E., & Mehta, R. (2023). Improvements in skin quality parameters in postmenopausal participants after use of topical growth factor serum. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 22(1), 236-244.
  13. Mehta, R. C., & Fitzpatrick, R. E. (2007). Endogenous growth factors as cosmeceuticals. Dermatologic therapy, 20(5), 350-359.