Myth or Medical Breakthrough? By Danné Montague-King ©2016
Years ago, stem cells and growth factors became hero ingredients in skin care formulations. Some brands have claimed plant-based stem cells helped reproduce human stem cells and growth factors directly changing the behavior of human DNA. I would like to share with you a few facts on stem cells in skincare products. Let’s start by clearing up some confusion about the roles that stem cells and growth factors perform in regenerating skin. Human biology versus skincare ingredients; Growth factors are proteins that regulate cellular growth, proliferation and differentiation under controlled conditions, maintaining healthy skin structure. Growth factors are secreted by all cell types that make up the epidermis (outer layer of skin) and dermis (the layer of skin between the epidermis and subcutaneous tissue) of the skin, including , fibroblasts and melanocytes. Growth factors are naturally occurring regulatory molecules. They stimulate cell and tissue function through influencing cell differentiation by changing their biochemical activity. Regulating the rate of proliferation – certain beta glucans are in this class. Medical stem cell implantation play a role as back-up support to the implanted cells and potential auto-immune rejection. However, this is a far cry from crèmes, serums etc. in skin care. The most common question that I am asked about stem cells is how do the stem cells in the crème work with your own stem cells... well the answer is THEY DON’T. The most common question that I am asked about stem cells is how do the stem cells in the crème work with your own stem cells… well the answer is THEY DON’T. As a way of inflicting miniature wounds, Technicians extract and scratch cultured plant tissue. This damage stimulates the plant’s stem cells to act and heal, inducing the formation of new stem cells on the wounded surfaces. After slow replication and division on the outside, new cells fashion a large accumulation of colourless cells, known as callous. Cells composing the callous divide into cells that do not carry the specific features of individuated plant cells. This callous is used as an ingredient in facial crèmes. Downstream differentiated plant cells are ones that possess the biochemical machinery required to produce the myriad of substances derived from plants that have pharmaceutical or other value (e.g. quinine, digitalis, aloe vera, etc.). Plant totipotent stem cells do not produce substances capable of affecting other cells. Callouses are forced upon living plant stems to encourage new baby cells, harvested and then put into crèmes as “stem cell therapy”. Even rubbing human stem cells on the skin would never work. They have to be alive in the product despite any effective delivery mechanism. We should look at what skin cells respond positively to and what they recognize, how we can influence and support growth factors and life cycle of cells. My methods have always been to work with the body’s chemistry. Many research papers have concluded that stem cells are just too large to penetrate the lipid barrier of the epidermis. There are many types of stem cells with a variety of special functions, there is so much more to say. I welcome you to our family, our concept is based upon the principles of the skin’s biochemistry…Remove, Rebuild, Protect, Maintain.