Based For Your Face

Courtesy of Dr. Christopher Zachary

The Benev Company, a multi-billion dollar industry of dermatology based in Mission Viejo, is suggesting that they may have found a way to fix acne-scarred and wrinkled skin.

The Benev Company has recently placed a new protein blend onto the market known as the GF Rejuvenating Complex: this protein blend is a formulated combination of growth factors that have been proven to “stimulate cell growth, proliferation and differentiation on wound healing,” according to the Benev Company. This topical treatment is fairly typical in its formulation; the issue that has arisen instead is its method of application to the human dermis.

The Benev Company has developed its own “GF Complex Dermal Rolling System,” which is in fact a SkinStamp — a device that causes less bleeding and pain — that contains over 100 microneedles. This stamp is used to pierce the skin so that the complex can reach deep within the dermis. However, its intentional damaging of the skin and unsupported research leaves many dermatologists and doctors skeptical of its validity as a treatment that does not require prescription.

“The dermal roller procedure creates micro-channels in the skin to allow improved penetration of the GF Rejuvenating Complex. The procedure serves to increase the efficacy of the patient’s rejuvenation treatment by influencing dermal remodeling through stimulation of the wound healing process,” the company claims.

Skeptics feel that by soliciting the treatment as external, the Benev Company is evading control by the FDA (Federal Food and Drug Administration), because if otherwise presented as an injectable medication, the Benev Company would have to participate in longer studies to ensure the safety of the product and verify the efficacy of the treatment.

By defining itself as a cosmetic under FDA laws, as an “article intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled or sprayed on, introduced into or otherwise applied to the human body … for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness or altering the appearance,” the GF Rejuvenating Complex is not required to apply for FDA approval. Many doctors feel that the FDA should intervene to investigate the complex and ensure that the treatment is safe and appropriate without prescription.

“Growth factors generally consist of large molecular structures that cannot penetrate the skin and are unlikely to achieve anything but lighten the wallet, however, all bets are off with the addition of micro-needling techniques,” said chairman of the UCI Department of Dermatology, Dr. Christopher Zachary. “Any type of injury to the skin will increase the absorption of topical creams and lotions dramatically, such that they really act as therapeutic agents … which means they should be regulated by the FDA as drugs rather than cosmeceuticals.”

Although the Benev Company and some Orange County dermatologists rave about the drastic effects that the treatment is giving patients at an average cost of over $1,000 for five sessions, the evidence of its promised effects seem to be lacking. With the Benev Company claiming that 88 percent of test subjects showed a decrease in wrinkles, it is important to note that only 18 subjects were used in the company’s exclusively small clinical trials, and that only 17 actually finished the treatments. With such a small test group and such an uncommon technique of application, many doctors and educated scientists are skeptical of the actual effects that this GF Rejuvenation treatment provides. They are urging the FDA to intervene and ensure that the public is actually getting the results that they are paying exorbitantly for.