Are Stem Cells in Skin Care the new Anti-ageing Miracle?

Plant Stem Cells in moisturisers have become very popular and much advertised in the last couple of years. Consumers are happy to pay small fortunes for those little pots of anti ageing miracle.

But do we really know what Plant Stem Cells are, how they work or even IF they work?

In this Blog Post I would like to shed some light on the use of Plant Stem Cells, how they are "harvested" and help you find out whether products containing Plant Stem Cells are worth your hard earned money.


The thinking, as far as plant stem cells in cosmetics products, is that extracting stem cells from certain plants (usually apples, grapes, melons, or lilacs) can help skin look younger and better defend itself against environmental aggressors.

Similar to animals, the stem cells in plants have properties that help stimulate and regenerate plants after injury. The unique properties of plant stem cells have been a recent area of interest and focus both in developing new cosmetics and studying how these extracts/phytohormones will influence skin. Plants are equipped with a robust mechanism for regeneration of their tissues under stress. In other words, cutting the branch of a tree also results in a new bud/branch growth. 

The question is “Can plant phytohormones have the antioxidant and regenerative ability to prevent this aging process in human skin?"

Simply put, plant stem cells cannot deliver their promised results. That’s because stem cells must be alive to function as stem cells, and by the time these delicate cells are processed and added to skincare products, they’re long since dead and unable to work as they once did.

Due to the objectionable use of human or animal sources, all cosmetic research and development for new products is consequently focused on biotechnology and plant cell culture technology to overcome the industrial, consumer and legislative constraints. Plants of cosmetic interest have been limited for use due to slow growth, seasonal harvest, variation of active concentration from plant to plant and harvest to harvest and existence of toxic metabolites.

Terminology is crucial in claims made by cosmetic companies, for example, understanding that when the term ‘plant stem cell’ is used as an ingredient, it actually refers to the extract of the primitive plant cell.

Many skin care companies are promoting their products with the claim of utilizing stem cell technology. 

In fact, almost all cosmetic companies advertising to contain stem cells in their products actually contain stem cell extracts and not the live stem cells.

Although research on plant stem cells used in skin care reveals their potential as skin protectives, antiaging and antiwrinkle products, the actual stem cells in cosmetic formulations are already dead.

Extracts from stem cells cannot act in the same way as the live stem cells.

Claimed benefits of smooth and firm skin are due to antioxidants and active extracts from stem cells.

To gain all the authentic benefits from stem cells and to let them work the way they are promised to in skin care applications, they need to be incorporated as live cells and should remain so while in the cosmetic formulation. Incorporating stem cells in a carrier which can assist the cells to penetrate deep into the skin to provide an actual cosmetic benefit is another challenge to be addressed.

Plant stem cell therapy needs to move in the right direction to implement its inherent potential in skin care. This might happen in the next 20 years but any cosmetic that is advertised to be antiaging due to plant stem cells at this time is about as effective as all the skin creams without stem cells [source: Future Science Group].

Great summary by Caroline Hirons, a British Skin Care Expert

"There are a lot of stem-cell products around these days. Brands need to be very careful what claims they make when they sugest that a plant stem cell can affect the cells in human skin. They can't.
Medical research about stem cells always refers to stem cells that come from human tissue, but plant-derived stem cells are used in skincare products. It is illegal in the EU to use any human-derived tissue or fluid in cosmetics.
Plant stem cells cannot influence stem cells in human skin.

If you’re buying a stem cell cream for its touted benefits, it’s not worth the extra cost."

If you’re thinking that the description of plant stem cells in a cosmetic products sounds very much like what anti-oxidants do, you’re right!

Although plant stem cells cannot work as stem cells on skin, they do maintain their antioxidant ability. That’s why using products with plant stem cells isn’t a total waste of time and money.


Antioxidants in general relief oxidative stress caused by the excessive formation of free radicals (i.e. seen in inflammation) and slow or diminish the development of visible signs of ageing. The formation of free radicals is also influenced by ultraviolet radiation, ultrasound, ozone, chemicals and tobacco smoke. The more advanced in age the body is, the less capable it is of combatting free radicals without external help. The importance of nutrients, vitamins and minerals with antioxidative effects increases.
Antioxidants preserve normal cell functioning and prevent skin inflammation and skin ageing. Nevertheless, overuse is not recommended as an excess of antioxidants may have the opposite effect.

I am often asked what are the best anti-oxidants for skin?

In reality, there are dozens of phenomenally effective antioxidants. Despite the seemingly endless array of good antioxidants, there are a few that really stand out. Each has an outstanding performance record when it comes to taking the best care of your skin—and knowing which ones to look for can make shopping for great skin care a lot easier!

RESVERATROL (Grapes, Nuts, Blueberries, Cranberries, etc.)


If you are in doubt of a product, one that is expensive and you are not sure if it is worth the spend, please read the ingredient label!
Most of these Stem cell containing products try and deflect with a very long list of ingredients that mainly consist of stabilisers, emulsifiers, thickeners, conditioners, emollients, preservatives and water. 
These ingredients are good and necessary but won't do what the stem cell product claims to do - to be for example "the pinnacle in anti-ageing technology".
A small amount on this long ingredient list might be the "good stuff" as in extracts or for example premium plant oils and butters (Rosehip, Shea Butter, etc.). 
Simply look for the anti-oxidants in the ingredient list (mentioned in my blog post) and you are on the right track to finding your perfect anti-ageing product :-) 

If possible please share this Blog Post with your friends and family! 

Thank you so  much for your interest and please keep sharing!

Gerlinde x


  Try my Moisture Rich Vitamin C Face Cream which also contains 3 important anti-oxidants

My moisture rich Vitamin C Face Cream is infused with powerful multi-antioxidant ingredients, promoting healthy, beautiful looking skin. The unique and non-greasy formula is suited for all skin types including sensitive skin.

✔ Plump and smooth the skin with Coenzyme Q10
✔ Encourage collagen production
✔ Brighten a dull skin tone
✔ Even out the complexion, reducing fine lines
✔ Protect against free radical damage caused by the environment