When it comes to new trends in skin care and aesthetic medicine, “stem cells” are the hottest buzzwords in the industry. Although stem cell technology has been applied to aesthetic procedures since 2005, a new generation of stem cell skin care therapies and products is fast gaining enthusiastic support among practitioners and patients.
Even the harvesting of stem cells for cosmetic procedures has become so sophisticated, researchers and practitioners can now avoid controversy by collecting the patient’s own stem cells.
Stem cells are a part of every living being—plants, animals and humans. Stem cells have the ability to develop into different cell types and continue to divide (proliferate) almost indefinitely. Their unique qualities make stem cells highly valuable in tissue repair and skin rejuvenation.
Medical researchers believe that as we age, the reserve of stem cells in our bodies diminishes, and with it the ability of our bodies to self-heal or replace damaged cells decreases. Stem cell-derived therapies and products may hold the key to potentially reversing the aging process.
When it comes to making skin care products, remember that the stem cells are cultivated and processed, with the resulting extract used as an anti-aging ingredient. Live human stem calls are not applied directly to the skin.
Stem cells are “pluripotent,” which means they have the potential to differentiate and eventually lay the groundwork to become organs, including epidermal tissue (skin). Stem cells also produce generous amounts of growth factors like cytokines (cell-signaling molecules that exist in peptides and proteins) to stimulate cell repair and rejuvenation. As a part of the aging process, the number of growth factors in the skin decline, weakening our natural ability to heal sun damage and other skin injuries. In recent years, scientists have developed a process to extract various bioactive growth factors, peptides and enzymes from stem cells.
Stem cell-derived growth factors have been proven safe, especially since they simply act to replace the cells’ natural growth factors that have been lost over time.
These growth factor molecules are large, which makes their delivery through the skin a challenge. Through a process called liposome delivery, however, the challenge has been successfully addressed. Liposomes are tiny bubbles made up of phospholipids that encase the growth factor molecules and aid their absorption through the skin. When the liposome bubble comes in contact with the skin’s surface, it breaks and delivers the stem cell growth factor; when the bubble’s membrane ruptures, it seals to the skin surface and forms a barrier. Liposome delivery increases growth factor penetration by 600 percent, enhancing the effect on skin rejuvenation.
The use of stem cells in aesthetic and anti-aging procedures has become one of the fastest growing trends in skin care, creating noticeable changes when it comes to moisturizing, addressing wrinkles, wound healing, pigmentation and rosacea, without adding to the potential risks that some products pose.