Stem cells have long been celebrated and utilized in the medical field for their ability to regenerate tissue and develop innovative therapies for a host of ailments, so it’s only natural that the skincare industry would find the ability to harness their powers, too.
However, like many scientifically exciting discoveries in the realm of skincare, “stem cells” has become a hype term that brands have used to aid marketing efforts rather than providing proven results in improving one’s skin.
As always, here at The Esthetics Academy, we’re adamant about continually sharpening your skill set and widening your knowledge not only so you can grow a successful business, but one you feel good about by being a truth seeker who can provide your clients with the most accurate and helpful information for their needs.
So, what’s the story with stem cells?
To give a baseline definition of what a stem cell is, it is a cell that can both replicate itself or differentiate itself by morphing into other cell types.
In this article, you’ll also see the terms “cytokine” and “growth factors.” Cytokines encompass a group of molecules secreted by specific cells within the immune system that mediate and regulate immunity, inflammation and the production of blood cells and platelets.
Growth factors are molecules that stimulate cellular growth, proliferation, healing, and cellular differentiation.
(It’s important to note that some, but not all, Cytokines are classified as growth factors since some Cytokines can signal responses such as cell death.)
With those definitions in mind, we can see that stem cell classification varies greatly, and so do the quality of the stem cells used in the variety of these products on the skincare market.
Below is a breakdown of the most common stem cells you’ll find cultured and advertised in skincare products and which one is the superior stem cell for actually achieving the desired and advertised results that “stem cell skincare” promises:
- Bone Marrow Stem Cells
Rather than saving the best for last, let’s flip the script and kick off the list with what we know is the superior stem cell, the Mesenchymal bone marrow stem cell.
We have the greatest number of Mesenchymal bone marrow stem cells upon birth and these cells diminish as we get older, which is why the healing process for any type of injury slows significantly as we age.
These cells are superior (and unique) because they are the only cells that are not anchored and will travel and patrol our entire bodies looking for injury and damage to heal. And in addition to their modality of movement, no other stem cell can heal, repair and reduce inflammation so powerfully.
This is due to their ability to transform to make new cells as well as secrete growth factors and Cytokines, which, when coupled with other anti-aging ingredients such as Hyaluronic Acid, Retinoids,Bakuchiol and Defensins + antioxidants, give these ingredients direction and optimize their role in skincare.
Adipose cells are typically sourced from liposuction waste from middle-aged women and are widely used due to being cheap to acquire and easy to utilize.
Although cultured fat stem cells do give off significant quantities of growth factors, the majority of the growth factors produced provoke inflammation (the root of all evil in the body), disrupt other healthy biochemical pathways in the skin, and promote aging (due to inflammation of tissue), which is precisely what we’re looking to minimize, especially when using a growth factor skincare product.
In addition to those factors, the risks and concerns around using adipose cells are still unclear, but with even a basic knowledge of inflammation, we can hypothesize that potential excess inflammation may pose future health risks.
Furthermore, the purpose of fat stem cells is to increase fat, not to benefit the skin, which makes this one of the worst possible choices for a “stem cell” product to use in the treatment room and home care regimens.
- Fibroblast Cells
Fibroblast cells were the first human derivative growth factor used in skincare products about 15 years ago, and thankfully, our industry (and scientific findings) have come a long way since.
Yes, fibroblast cells are known as being top producers of collagen and elastin, (which at the surface makes them sound like the ideal stem cell for skincare), but fibroblasts are in fact NOT a stem cell despite frequently being marketed as such.
You may have heard of the latest hot-in-Hollywood skin trend which uses neonatal skin cells in its protocol, and has been dubbed “The Penis Facial" to make it sound unique and exciting, but the truth is that the concept isn’t new and the treatment smells just as icky as it sounds.
Although they’re powerful cells, fibroblasts have not been proven to be effective biosignal producers compared to Cytokine growth factors. This is due to fibroblasts being cells that “take orders” rather than “give orders.”
So, even though they’re major collagen and elastin producers, that’s the role they’ve been ordered to fill…and can you guess from which cells they take their orders?
That’s right, bone marrow stem cells.
- Cell Lysates
Finally, we have cell lysates, which is really just a jumble of cell parts that have been combined after they’ve been frozen, thawed and spliced into a million pieces of cellular material and DNA fragments.
Simply put, these pieces don’t add up to a whole and can’t replicate the natural physiological balance of growth factors and Cytokines that your skin needs or can utilize rendering cell lysates virtually useless as a “stem cell” skincare ingredient.
How AnteAGE is Leading the Way in Stem Cell Skincare
After comparing the four most commonly used “stem cells” within the cosmeceutical industry, we can clearly identify bone marrow Mesenchymal stem cells as the superior stem cell for skincare as they are the only stem cell that has the capacity to control cellular regeneration everywhere in the body or secrete Cytokine Growth Factors for both healing and repair and cell regeneration.
And despite the many claims skincare brands make about their “stem cell” based products, AnteAGE, a division of Cellese Regenerative Therapeutics Ltd., is the only company sourcing stem cells from medically-monitored and heavily-screened donors (females, aged 20-25) to ensure the production of the most vibrant and youthful bone marrow cells to use in their products.
During my time out in Orange County, CA, I had the honor of visiting the state-of-the-art Cellese headquarters, which is run by renowned researchers, scientists and physicians, as well as meeting Dr. Sanderson, M.D., the CEO and Founder of Cellese and a leader in stem cell science.
Since visiting the lab, our sister brand, Herbal Skin Solutions, has officially partnered with Cellese for the co-branding of the AnteAGE micro-needling and micro-channeling (Nano) growth factor solutions, serum, and accelerator.
In addition to the current line-up of micro-channeling (Nano) growth factor solutions targeting clarifying, brightening and anti-aging, we’ve also got another growth factor solution for a powerful micro needling treatment coming soon, so keep your eyes peeled!
(*Hint* - your client’s hairlines will be happy about it!)
In the meantime, you can dive deeper into the science behind bone marrow Mesenchymal stem cells when you join us and fellow truth seeker, Daniel Clary, the VP of Education at Cellese, for in-depth stem Cytokine knowledge class and training at our headquarters in FL on October 2!
If you miss the chance to come to this live training, but would still like to learn more, click here to visit our site to peruse our educational resources.