Plant-derived stem cells are one of the newest and most exciting advances in cosmeceutical skincare. Referred to as “meristematic cells,” they can differentiate to become various cell types and have an unprecedented ability to protect epidermal cells in human skin.
What some may find interesting is real stem cells do not actually exist in plants; we derive “plant cell culture” from plant sources. This new wave of technology has allowed scientists to create innovative cosmeceutical-grade actives. This cultivation technique improves the purity and quality of the ingredient, while maintaining a deep respect for the environment. Since this is undoubtedly a new frontier in the skincare arena, knowing the purpose of the most commonly used plant-derived cell cultures will be helpful when speaking to patients about the benefits of products containing these ingredients.
It is important to first understand what a plant stem cell is capable of doing in human skin. Human epidermal stem cells reside in the basal layer and perform tasks such as wound repair and replenishing cells as they perform their normal tasks. The role of plant stem cells within human skin is to provide antioxidant protection, guard against inflammation, protect human DNA by neutralizing free radicals and to reverse photoaging.
As stated in an article by New You, “…the stem cells found in botanical products mimic the action of human stem cells, in that they secrete the same growth factors that allow healing and cellular regeneration…” Any formulation containing a plant stem cell is actually utilizing the growth factor of that stem cell, not the stem cell itself.
Undoubtedly, there are myriad stem cells now available to formulate with, but three stem cells in particular offer the richest sources of data and research: grape seed extract, lilac leaf and Swiss apple.
Throughout the months of June and July, we will discuss each of these stem cells at great length and detail. Stay tuned for the next blog post to learn more about these powerful ingredients.