Stem Cell Skin Care: Would You Use It?
Human stem cell extracts…in your anti-aging cream? Yup—well, at least if you use products from skin care brand Lifeline, the first and only brand on the market to utilize non-embryonic stem cell extracts in its formulas.
Intrigued? Skeptical? So I was I. The topic of stem cells as a whole is admittedly mystifying to me. So, I turned to International Stem Cell Corporation Executive Vice President Dr. Simon Craw to answer my many questions about Lifeline's products.
Read on to learn about why stem cell extracts may be the miracle age-fighting ingredient you've been waiting for, and why the whole thing isn't as weird as it may seem. Then, click through the gallery to shop a couple of Lifeline's products.
Lucky: What would you say to someone who is turned off by the idea of using a product that contains human stem cells? What certain myths or facts are important for consumers to know before buying?
Dr. Simon Craw: A stem cell is a special type of cell integral to early development and tissue regeneration. Stem cells contain a large number of fundamental proteins called growth factors that are needed for the proper development of the body’s organs and tissues. Our bodies contain stem cells in the skin, brain, blood, liver, bone marrow, muscles and organs. But as we get older our stem cells weaken and the effects of aging become more apparent.
That’s why it’s valuable for the beneficial elements of stem cells to be supplied to the skin. The growth factors and proteins that are extracted from the stem cells support cellular renewal and have potent regenerating properties.
There are some misconceptions about stem cell skin care, and one of the main ones is that they actually contain stem cells. They don’t. It is impossible to incorporate live materials into a skincare product. Lifeline Skin Care extracts the proteins, peptides and growth factors from non-embryonic, human parthenogenetic stem cells, which have been created from unfertilized human eggs.
What are the benefits of using Lifeline products versus other top anti-aging products that do not contain stem cells? Does Lifeline work significantly quicker or show more lasting results?
The benefits to using Lifeline products are that this extract can improve skin firmness and elasticity, thickness, skin tone and brightness. Fine lines and wrinkles also diminish over time, but the #1 thing we hear from our customers is that their skin looks and feels brighter, more luminous and healthy.
Stem cells are usually dormant in our bodies; they go to work when they detect injury and recognize the need for repair or regeneration. That’s their purpose in life—to repair damaged tissue. The stem cell extracts in Lifeline Skin Care help detect damaged and photoaged skin cells and stimulate the skin’s own abilities to repair itself. Stem cell extracts also help to increase skin thickness, therefore making the skin less vulnerable to premature aging.
Independent clinical studies revealed that subjects saw smoother, brighter and healthier-looking skin. Generally, peak improvement is reached after six to eight weeks (or two complete cellular renewal cycles) of continuous use, although many people tell us that they see improvement almost immediately.
I've seen products on the market that boast plant stem cells. What can human stem cells offer that plants cannot?
Many of the skincare brands that are using plant-based stem cell extracts are derived from apples, melons, edelweiss or rosebuds. While those have value as antioxidants and are a good source of metabolites, they can’t identify or facilitate skin repair, and that’s exactly what the function of human stem cells is. For example, a bruise on your hand will heal in several days because stem cells are activated to repair the injury. But a bruised apple will be forever bruised. A plant with a cut leaf will forever stay cut. There may be ways that plant stem cells can benefit the skin, but they don’t function the same way that human stem cells do.
Lifeline Skin Care features concentrated growth factors, peptides, amino acids, and enzymes from human non-embryonic stem cells. The stem cells are not synthetic, and they’re not derived from apples, melons, or any other plant-based material. Lifeline uses the same human stem cells that are active early in life to create new, young skin. These stem cell extracts help replace aged, damaged skin cells with new, healthy skin cells. We haven’t seen clinical studies to support or prove that human skin responds or relates to plant stem cells.
Aside from anti-aging properties, what else can human stem cells offer beauty-wise? Are there any exciting new types of products in the pipeline that contain these stem cells?
Generally, growth factors increase the bio-availability of lots of different kinds of proteins in the skin. It’s kind of a one-size-fits-all approach. We’re looking at ways for Lifeline to upregulate certain specific proteins, like collagen or elastin, because we all age differently.
There’s a lot of interest in wound repair—using the growth factors and peptides that are extracted from stem cells to help skin repair and recover from injury. Growth factors can enhance the skin’s ability to recover from simple cuts or from laser treatments or peels. Not only would that reduce the downtime associated with laser treatments, it would enhance comfort. We’re actively working with companies now to develop products that help skin repair.
We’ve heard anecdotal evidence that stem cell creams can help with hair loss. Some companies claim that stem cells cure gray hair or baldness or eczema or psoriasis or reduce fat. Many of these companies offer little to no scientific proof of their claims, and we believe that consumers need to beware of this pseudoscientific hype. Many of them are making false and misleading claims and are doing a great disservice.
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