Stem Cells in Anti-Aging Skincare - do they work? Myth or Fact?

Monday, 16 February 2015  |  Admin

Thanks to Marc I got reminded that I wanted to publish a post about the current Stem Cell hype. The use of Stem Cells in Anti-Aging Skincare have become such a buzzword but what does it really mean? 

Skincare companies are not using embryonic stem cells but instead are creating anti-aging products with specialised peptides and enzymes = Plant Stem Cells. 

The claim is that when applied topically, these Plant Stem Cell products help protect the skins stem cells from damage and stimulate the skin’s own stem cells, therefore reducing wrinkles. The temptation for consumers to try these very expensive Stem Cell Products is huge.

But the issue when companies are claiming that they have taken components (such as peptides) out of the plant stem cells and made them stable, is that this theory doesn't make any sense because stem cells must be complete and intact to function normally.

Using peptides or other ingredients to influence stem cells in skin is something that's being explored, but to date scientists are still trying to determine how that would work and how it could be done safely. Apparently there is no research showing that these stem cell extracts can affect stem cells in human skin.

Marc sent an article which was published by Apollo Botanica’s Michael Steven Ford MS MA and explains the myth behind the Stem Cell hype:  



‘Multicellular organisms (plants, fruits, animals, humans) have stem cells. They are found throughout our bodies, where they can play an essential role in tissue renewal. Stem cells can help with restorative functions, such as cellular regeneration, and may ultimately enhance the capacity to repair aging skin. The real wonder of stem cells, however, is that they have the amazing ability to develop into many different types of cells.

Where skin care is concerned, however, the theory is that by applying a product that contains stem-cell extracts derived from plants or fruits, you may encourage the growth of your skin’s own stem cells and possibly trigger their anti-aging effects... There's one problem... IT IS SCIENTIFICALLY IMPLAUSIBLE. The chemical messengers in plant cells DO NOT communicate with NOR do they biochemically stimulate animal or human stem-cells in skin or anywhere else.


The stem cells found in beauty products are obtained primarily from plants and fruits that can stay fresh for a long time, like Swiss apples, edelweiss, roses, date palms, narcissus bulbs, bogbean, and gotu kola. Extracts of these stem cells—not the live cells themselves—are added to skin-care products.

To yield the most potent, stable extract, the fruits and the plants that are the source of the stem cells must be cultivated in a controlled environment, without any contaminants, and extracted from a vegetative thallus, grown from cultivated plant cells. This extraction technology can drive the cost of these products to $100 and upward, and is not proven to be effective.

It’s not possible to maintain live stem cells in cosmetic emulsions. If a product is labeled as a stem-cell cream or serum, you may see some of the stem cell’s key substances, such as ferulic acid, ellagic acid, and quercetin, plus hydrators like hyaluronic acid, listed on the ingredient panel. However, these are COMMON constituents of anti-oxidant herbs and natural anti-aging products and are NOT UNIQUE at all to plant stem-cell extracts.

The Bottom Line

Although stem cells are a sexy story, I would not expect them to improve the appearance of your skin. Stem-cell beauty products ARE often formulated with other effective phytochemicals, antioxidants, moisturizers, etc. which may be responsible for the actual benefits. BUYER BEWARE!’

more in depth information about Stem Cells



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