With continuous research contributing to the stem cell health breakthroughs, it is no surprise that this technology is being applied by the cosmetic industry. Although this topic is complex, today we are going to focus on what stem cells are, why they work for skin care products, and how they are sourced.
What are stem cells?
There are over 200 different cell types in the human body that carry out a specific function. Every so often, your cells need to be replaced when they wear out or get damaged. For example your liver cells need to be replaced roughly every 300-500 days! Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that have potential to become any cell in the body. These are the amazing cells that transform and carry out the replacement.
There are two categories of stem cells: Embryonic Stem Cells and Adult Stem Cells.
Embryonic Stem Cells:
Retrieved from embryos donated to science - these cells are special in that they are pluripotent. This means that it can turn into more than one type of cell.
Adult Stem cells:
Adult stem cells come from fully developed tissues. As mentioned before when our cells need to be regenerated, they are replaced by underlying stem cells that differentiate into those specific cells. The only catch here is that the stem cells within the specific tissue such as bone marrow, the liver, or skin can only differentiate into those cell types where they are found. And this is where things become interesting with the innovation of stem cell research!
While adult stem cells can only differentiate into their respective tissue group they are found, scientists are able to manipulate these cells in a lab so that they act more like embryonic stem cells. More specifically known as induced pluripotent stem cells.
How do stem cells work?
When it is time for cells to be replaced - for example when we get an injury, a signal is sent to our stem cells which then release growth factors (signals) which facilitates the healing response. These signals include tasks like acting as anti-inflammatory agents, releasing natural antibiotics and stimulating collagen
Why stem cells for skincare?
Going back to those growth factors (signals) on our stem cells- remember that these signals were used to help our body with things like stimulating collagen. Essentially these growth factors help cells divide and grow, produce collagen, increase blood flow, reduce pigmentation, and calm the skin. This is what maintains the “youthful” look of skin while we are young!
However, when we grow older our skin regeneration slows down. As a result our skin becomes less elastic, and blood flow to our skin is decreased- which is why we develop fine lines and wrinkles. This is where growth factors play a role in age fighting skin care products!
Special serums that are loaded with growth factor signals have been shown to “reverse” the clock on your cells to facilitate younger looking skin through rapid cell division and collagen production.
How are stem cells for cosmetics sourced?
Stem cells can be sourced from humans, plants, and animals. However it is worth mentioning that although many anti-aging products are made with plant stem cells, there is research to suggest it does not have the same effect on human skin as human stem cells do. This will be discussed in future posts as there is much controversy to unwind!
Companies that use human stem cells within their products ethically source these stem cells through donation banks. For example the Osmosis Growth Factor Serum, one of our best selling face serums is produced with growth factors retrieved from carefully screened adult adipose tissue.
Click here to check out more of our products from Osmosis!