Getting to the Root of the Matter: Stem Cells in Cosmeceutical Products


What stem cell extracts are used for in cosmetics
How stem cells work in cosmeceutical products
Debunking misinformation about stem cells
Marketing limitations and benefits
Why stem cell extracts are so promising

Stem Cells in Cosmeceutical Products

The subject of much controversy, fear, and patents, stem cells are emerging as a clinically proven, results-driven cosmeceutical agent in the personal care industry. In this presentation, I’ll be taking a look at how stem cell extracts work in cosmeceutical products and why you’re still only seeing them in limited products available.

One of the theories of aging is Hayflick’s aging theory, which states that cells have a limited capacity to replicate. As this limit is approached, the cell ages and is not able to perform in its usual manner. And once it has been reached, the cell dies. So if you are able to slow the rate of replication, you can keep cells functioning as they did when they were younger. And even as they do replicate, you can slow the rate at which they replicate to slow the aging process.

Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can replicate to become identical copies of themselves or differentiate to become specific cells of certain organs and tissues. The epidermis is an organ that has a 27-day renewal process. So keeping the vitality of the stem cells of the epidermis means the skin is able to renew and revitalize its appearance every 27 days. It’s also an important part of the repair process should skin become damaged.

As skin stem cells are subject to Hayflick’s aging theory, they have a limited capacity to replicate. And as they age, they become less in number and activity, resulting in slower skin cell turnover, which results in a devitalized appearance and less even skin tone and a thinner epidermal structure more prone to skin depressions. This is commonly seen as fine lines and wrinkles.

In the epidermis, stem cells are found in the basal layer of the epidermis. So to be effective, products need to be formulated carefully to ensure delivery of the stem cell extract to this basal layer. If formulated correctly, only small amounts of the stem cells extracts are needed to reach this type of activity in the stratum basale.

Stem cells from plants have clinically proven activity because of their ability to nurture the reading of epidermal gene functions. This results in the stem cells’ ongoing capacity for self-renewal. Externally applied stem cells from plants have displayed the following activities in epidermal stem cell cultures: protection against oxidative stress and delaying the rate of aging. This not only slows the rate of cell aging, but also the need for replication, meaning cells survive longer simply because they do not need to replicate as often. To prove they’re effective, cell cultures were created from young epidermal stem cells as well as old epidermal stem cells. When an extract containing stem cells was applied to these cultures, the epidermis that grew was composed of all epidermal layers and indistinguishable as to whether it was grown from the young or the old epidermal stem cells, showing that application of the stem cell extract was just as effective on young stem cells as it was on the old to build full epidermal skin tissue.

In addition to this, cells age according to Harman’s free radical theory of aging, which states that cells age due to oxidative damage. If you can apply a substance to the skin that protects against this oxidation, you reduce the need for cellular repair and activity, and that will reduce the need for replication, further enhancing the anti-aging efficacy of the material. Stem cells have this antioxidant capacity.

The main controversy with using stem cells in cosmetics doesn’t come from the cosmetics industry at all. It actually relates to the general fear and hype that’s been generated about using embryonic stem cells in medical research. This is not at all the same substance we’re using in cosmetics, but unfortunately, some of that fear has crossed over to the use of stem cell extracts in cosmeceutical products, when really we’re talking about a very different substance.

The way stem cells are used in medical research is vastly different to the way we use stem cell extracts in cosmeceutical products. Stem cells for cosmetic products are instead created through a biotechnology process from selected plant stem cells, which are then cultivated and grown in a very sustainable way without adulteration, pollution, or seasonal variation. The end result is a very pure and ecologically sustainable substance with proven clinical results.

Products containing stem cells can market the visible results of anti-aging that they can produce, which is limited to “visibly improves or reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkle” type claims. Stem cell extract technology in cosmeceuticals has actually been around for around 10 years, but what has limited its market acceptance and also commercialability, is the fact that you can’t talk about how it’s providing these anti-aging benefits.

While I can explain to you in this video how stem cells work, under cosmetic regulations and the definition of cosmetics, marketing of finished cosmetic products cannot refer to the physiological impact that the extract has on the cells at the basal layer. So what you see in this video is the science behind the use of stem cell extracts, but you won’t find it in marketing material because the story can’t be told.

When formulated to be effective, you can expect:

    • 100% results when the product reaches the target, the cell, epidermal cells. If the product reaches the target site, it will always provide its benefits.
    • You can expect statistically significant and visible anti-aging results within 28 days, including a noticeable reduction in wrinkles.
    • Antioxidant protective benefits will also occur, which goes on to have further visible anti-aging results as well as further delaying the aging of cells.
    • You can also see a significant rejuvenation of skin density and tone.
    • Finally, a reversal in the signs of aging while ongoing use will also delay the visible rate of aging over a prolonged period of time.

      Excerpted from UL Prospector. Read more here: