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STEM CELL MYTH-UNDERSTANDINGS | Distinctions between human-derived stem cells and plant stem cells, and how both help
Learn the true science behind some common myths surrounding stem cells used in our skin and hair & lash rejuvenation serums.
Excerpts & paraphrases from next month's DAYSPAmagazine.com:
MYTH NO. 1: Plant stem cells and human stem cells are exactly the same.
There are some major differences between plant- based and human-derived stem cells. One key distinction is that, although both types of stem cells are able to differentiate, or change, into any type of cell in the organism, plant stem cells can return to an undifferentiated state. Human stem cells reach a point of terminal differentiation, where they are so specialized that they will forever only make a particular type of cell—liver cells will always stay liver cells, for example. With plants, you can take more specialized cells and de-differentiate them, restoring their initial state of unlimited potential.
The controversies that arise for some people regarding safety and/or the ethical nature of sourcing are really about embryonic stem cells only.
Some skincare products contain proteins extracted from human stem cells that are cultivated in a laboratory. The proteins that stem cells release have been proven to stimulate wound healing, and therefore could assist with sun- damaged skin, sensitivity and wrinkles.
...The skin contains approximately 2% to 7% stem cells, which are responsible for skin repair and regeneration. As they diminish over time, the skin loses its ability to efficiently repair and regenerate, causing skin aging. Plant-based stem cells help increase skin stem cell longevity while protecting and maintaining their function.
MYTH NO. 2: Plant stem cells are genetically altered.
Some consumers express concern that plant stem cells are not “natural” — that they’ve been genetically modified in some way, but this simply isn’t true.
Plant stem cells... are an extension of the plant. They’re essentially the plant without the skin.
MYTH NO. 3: Plant stem cells in skincare formulations interact with human skin cells, producing new skin.
Plant-based stem cells do not have this effect on human skin... although they help to protect and nourish the skin, they don’t actually alter or replace human cells...With topical stem cell extracts, it is believed that they send a signal to the tissues to propagate new cells.
Plant stem cells are safe and contain no environmental contaminants;... every batch is standardized through a controlled biochemistry process and... the process of harvesting plant stem cells is sustainable for the environment.
Plant stem cells are a natural extension of a plant, and that fact is what allows them to work the wonders that they do. It really comes down to this: it’s one blank cell that’s compatible with everything else — because everything else started out as this one blank cell.
Q. Why do we make so many different skincare serums? Why can't you put all the ingredients into one product? It's very confusing.
A. That's a great question.
The answer lies in chemistry.
There are many ingredient incompatibilities, especially related to pH and to electrical charge (cationic/positive charge; anionic/negative charge).
Many ingredients like delicate proteins (growth factors, etc.) cannot stand a low pH, nor can many preservatives. Niacinamide can turn into nicotinic acid if the pH isn't in the right range. Copper and Vitamin C can theoretically cancel each other out. Certain ingredients need a lower pH to be effective.
Then there is the issue of volume and potency. Most ingredients require a certain volume to be considered "active." You can only add so many of these active ingredients before everything starts to get diluted, and thus ineffective.
The exceptions? Certain actives like peptides, growth factors and stem cells. Such ingredients are measured in micrograms -- a unit of mass equal to one millionth of a gram -- and little volume is required for such ingredients to be very effective. That's why, for example, we're able to "shove" the top 25 primary ingredients of TNS Essential Serum® into Reviv Serums' Ultimate Serum AND leapfrog that formula by also including hexapeptides and stem cells.
While we wish we could provide a product that contained a sunscreen, antioxidants, stem cells, hydrators, brighteners, tighteners, telomere-targeters, glycolic acid, retinoid, emollients, redness reducer, wrinkle filler, anti-inflammatory, copper, vitamin C, etc. -- all in one bottle. It's not practical or possible. Be skeptical of the efficacy of any product that portrays itself to do it all. There is really no such thing as an "all-in-one" skincare product.