Reduced appearance of under-eye bags with twice-daily application of epidermal growth factor (EGF) serum: a pilot study

J Drugs Dermatol. 2015 Apr;14(4):405-10.


Background: Under-eye bags are a common manifestation of age and a frequent complaint among patients who no longer feel youthful. Non-invasive topical agents are largely ineffective at reducing their appearance.

Objective: We studied the ability of a topical serum containing epidermal growth factor (EGF) to minimize the appearance of under-eye bags.

Methods: A single-center clinical trial was performed on eighteen volunteer male and female patients with under-eye bags. Subjects applied EGF serum to the infraorbital area twice daily for 12 weeks. At each visit, subjects were evaluated using clinical photography and written self-assessment. A grade on the Merz Infraorbital Hollowness Scale was also given and two independent, blind investigators assigned an Investigator's Global Assessment (IGA) score. At the trial's end, patients shared their final evaluation and perception of results with a questionnaire.

Results: Sixteen subjects completed the trial. The final average Merz grade was 1.63 (SEM = .273), statistically significantly lower than the mean baseline average of 2.06 (SEM = .232) (P = .0019). A reduction in average IGA score was also significant (P< .0001). Average initial IGA was 2.75 (SEM = .270) and average final IGA was 2.00 (SEM = .310). All but two subjects reported improvement at the final visit. Improvement was quantified as 76-100% by two subjects, 50-75% by three subjects, and 25-49% by nine subjects. Eleven subjects classified their under-eye bags as milder at the end of the trial compared to the first visit. Seven subjects reported greater satisfaction with their overall facial appearance. Of the subjects who had used other topical treatments in the past, two reported the serum to be "significantly better" and four said it was "better" in treating their under-eye bags.

Conclusion: Our results offer evidence that topical EGF can reduce the appearance of under-eye bags.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / administration & dosage
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orbit*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Pilot Projects
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Skin Aging / drug effects*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Epidermal Growth Factor