Between anti-aging ingredients that are worshipped (retinol) to the ones that are obscure (bee venom), figuring out which ingredient will kick Father Time’s ass is enough to give you wrinkles. And now skin-care manufacturers have added another anti-aging contender: stem cells.
Medical researchers have long studied the ability of stem cells, which can regenerate and form almost any cell type in the body, to treat numerous chronic diseases. Now skin-care brands like Lifeline, Origins and I'm Fabulous Cosmetics are hoping that stem cells can deliver the powerful results in the cosmetics industry that they have in medicine. But are they worth the hype? Here are five facts you should know about stem cells before you spend a dime.
1. Skin care contains either plant or human stem cells. In the case of Lifeline, human stem cells are derived from unfertilized eggs (so, you’re not putting human embryo on your face).
2. Plant and human cells actually operate in comparable ways. There are similarities in the way stem cells function in both plants and animals to sustain growth and repair tissues.
3. Stem cells contain two key components: growth factors, which play a role in cell division, the growth of new cells, and the production of collagen and elastin; and proteins, which regulate that stem-cell division. When applied to your skin, these two components help firm wrinkles and slow the development of new lines.
4. There’s no definitive call on how well plant stem cells work. While there’s evidence that human stem cells, when harnessed with growth factors, stimulate epidermal stem cells to thicken the skin, which leads to tightening, there’s no scientific evidence that plant-stem-cell growth factors work in the same way.
After all, how could a plant cell have any effect on human skin?” But plant stem cells still have benefits. Products that contain antioxidant-rich fruits or plants as a source still offer free-radical-fighting benefits.
5. The amount of stem cells in the product matters. Don’t get suckered into spending a fortune simply because a product says stem-cell derived on the front label. Check the ingredient list on the back label to see how much of the active ingredients are in the product.