Stem Cell Skin Care: Myth or Fact?

by | Apr 28, 2017 | Blog, Cosmetic

Many cosmetic companies push products containing “stem cells,” promising to repair wrinkles and restore the appearance of youth to our sadly aging skin. But do they work? If you search the internet for answers, you’ll probably just get more confused. Stem cell research is not exactly written for the average person to grasp, and cosmetic companies know this. Dazzling us with big words like “regeneration” and “micro-formulated,” advertisements convince us that these skin care lotions, potions, serums, and peels are backed by scientific facts.

Unfortunately, that’s just not the case.

What kind of stem cells are in your skin care routine?

The true beauty of the stem cell is in its ability to self-renew. There are all kinds of stem cells, but in cosmetics, the stem cells lauded to perform miracles on your skin mostly come from plants. Marketing these products as “clinically proven,” many cosmetic companies can’t resist making the claim that plant stem cells hold the key to anti-aging.

How does a stem cell work?

When a living branch snaps under foot, it grows back in a few weeks. Plant stem cells can become leaves, flowers, and thorns. But can plant stem cells do anything for our skin? Not much, according to Dr. Greg Maguire, Ph.D., and co-founder of the Living Foundry at UCSD: “Plants do make a few molecules that humans can make, but they don’t really work like they [cosmetic companies] say.”

The primary reason they don’t work the way they’re advertised is that they’re not human-based. Even though plant stem cells send out all the right signals, human skin will never recognize them. Plant stem cells only speak plant and human stem cells only speak human. They can’t communicate. And this communication is exactly what is needed to grow and repair tissue.

plant stem cell human skin care

Only living stem cells can regenerate tissue

Perhaps the most obvious reason for not buying into the hype over plant stem cell cosmetics is that there is not one product on the shelf or online that contains live stem cells. And unlike the complicated answers to most questions about the incredible stem cell and its amazing potential to cure diseases, treat injuries, and yes, regenerate human skin, the reason is simple. Whether it comes from a human, a plant, a fruit, or an animal, stem cells only work if they’re living. By the time these delicate cells are added to a jar, they’re dead and useless.

Stem cells will be part of the future of skin care. But for now, they can’t deliver.

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