Light Therapy may seem like a high-tech method to heal your skin. But wait! There’s a new trend in skin care that will sound amazing: stem cells.
To combat wrinkles, improve skin appearance and turnover, dermatologists have turned to stem cell therapy. Yes, that’s right. These stem cells, which are also used in medical research to treat Alzheimer’s disease and certain types of cancer, can now be purchased over-the-counter in the form creams, serums, and other skin care products. There is one important difference: Stem cells are often derived from animals or plants. They work in a similar way to human stem cells, and could offer anti-aging benefits for your skin.
Stem cells: What are they and how do they work?
Because they can divide, human stem cells is unique. They can become highly specialized in certain organs to replace or repair damaged tissue. Dr. Shah explains that stem cells are quickly dividing cells in your body that can give rise to other types of stem cells or have the ability to become more specific cells. Sejal Shah is a board-certified dermatologist in New York City and a RealSelf contributor. She says that stem cells from plants serve similar functions.
Both stem cells of plant and animal plants contain proteins and amino acid, says Dr. Michele Green a board-certified dermatologist in New York City and RealSelf contributor. She says that these signals can help to restore the cells’ ability to regenerate and could result in skin that is younger looking.
Stem cells are a reason you see stem cells in skin care products
The stem cells are rich in amino acids and propeptides which are powerful ingredients for skin renewal. Green explains that these are the building blocks of cell rejuvenation. Therefore, skin care products have included a range of both animal-based and plant-based stem cells over the years. “Stem cells have natural antioxidant properties and nourish skin cells, which promotes cell turnover. They also increase collagen production.”
She says this could lead to fewer wrinkles, a better skin texture, and a younger, more youthful-looking skin.
Shah points out that these are not living stem cells. “Most cell-based skin care products contain stem cells and, more specifically, stem cell extractions.” This is not necessarily a bad thing. These extracts can be rich in antioxidants, and they may also provide growth factors that help repair and renew the skin. Although extracts can be beneficial to the skin, it is not true that they will become new skin cells. Plant cells are not able to become human cells and once they are added to skin care products, they cease being alive.
Dr. Dr. Eve Lupenko is a board-certified dermatologist at Greenberg Cosmetic Surgery. She has begun to use plant-derived stem cell treatments in her practice. She says that plant stem cells are preferred because they don’t transmit human or animal diseases. Plant-based stem cells are being used in skin care products because they can repair the skin at a cellular level (a deeper level). These areas are not reached by most regular skin care products.
What dermatologists think
The effectiveness of stem cells in skin treatment depends on the person you ask. They are endorsed by dermatologists such as Lupenko. She says that stem cells can repair skin cells and protect skin from outside factors. They also give skin a younger appearance. They penetrate the skin’s cells and are capable of delivering moisture and other reparative agents to the areas they are needed.
Some aren’t sure why stem cells suddenly seem to be buzzing in skin care. Shah states that stem cells can be rich in antioxidants and can often be rich in moisturizers and hydrators, which can make them good for skin. But do they have a higher effectiveness than products made from non-stem cells? But not necessarily.
Green believes stem cells can be used in combination with other treatments. The products are effective, but you can increase the benefits with other treatments such as the Fraxel laser and thermage.
Stem cell-infused skin care products are a good choice
Lupenko recommends that you consult your dermatologist if you are interested in stem cells. She says that it is important to continue using them if you want to see results.
Green suggests sticking with plant-based stem cell products, even though there are stem cell products made from animal tissue. She says that there is more research into their effectiveness.
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