Stemming the Tide


Stem Cell Compound Sampler

There are already dozens of plant stem cell compounds available, with many more on the way. We’ve profiled a few of the more popular options:

Apple (PhytoCellTec Malus Domestica): Apples from the Swiss Uttwiler Spätlauber tree are known for their ability to stay fresh for an extraordinarily long time. Scientists have speculated that the apple’s stem cells might have special properties. (For more information, see “Evolution of Plant Stem Cells,” left.) Published results of a four-week study of 20 subjects treated with Malus Domestica, this apple’s stem cell compound, showed that it significantly reduced wrinkles and generally fortified skin texture and firmness.

Alpine Rose (PhytoCellTec Alp Rose): While roses are known to deteriorate quickly, the Alpine Rose blooms at high altitude in extremely cold, dry conditions, and is thought to live for up to 100 years. PhytoCellTec Alp Rose is a powder based on the stem cells of the alpine rose leaves. A clinical study performed in the Alps during the peak of winter confirmed the capacity of this compound to improve skin barrier function and boost epidermal regeneration.

Butterfly Bush (Buddleja Davidii Meristem Cell Culture): Traditionally used to hasten wound healing, this flowering bush has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It has been shown to inhibit inflammation, protect against UV-induced oxidative stress, and inhibit collagenase, thereby helping to prevent the breakdown of the skin’s natural collagen. A clinical trial conducted by the manufacturer on 10 subjects showed broad and highly effective protection against UVA damage after five days of daily treatment with a cream containing 2% Buddleja Davidii Meristem Cell Culture, compared to a placebo.

Echinacea (Echinacea Angustifolia Meristem Cell Culture): Scientists have found this drought-tolerant perennial herb to be high in phytosterols. Studies show that the stem cell culture not only blocks collagenase, helping to preserve collagen, but also stimulates new collagen growth.

Edelweiss (Leontopodium Alpinum Cell Culture Extract): Another Swiss plant, this flower flourishes in extremely dry climates with freezing temperatures. Its stem cell extracts have been shown in vitro to have higher antioxidant activity than resveratrol or vitamin C. “Phytosterols have been shown in clinical studies to diminish wrinkle depth,” notes April Zangl, CEO, Hydropeptide.

Gardenia (Gardenia Jasminoides Meristem Cell Culture): This hardy bush, known for its fragrant flowers, has demonstrated ability to increase collagen synthesis and inhibit the secretion of collagenase enzymes.

Grape (Vitis Vinifera Fruit Cell Extract): Antioxidants in grapes found in Burgundy, France, are known to protect skin stem cells against environmental stress, and may help protect the skin against sun-induced aging.

Lilac (Syringa Vulgaris Cell Culture Extract): This flower contains verbascoside, a very effective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, which is known to support tissue repair, and may be useful in fighting acne.

Biological Buzz

If you’re patient and have lots of money, you may want to consider the latest iteration in stem cell products, the U-Autologous Regenerative Product Suite—made from your own adult stem cells.

First you’ll need to visit a participating physician, who will remove about a quarter cup of fat from your abdomen. (If you happen to be having liposuction anyway, the surgeon can use some of the fat recovered from that surgery.) He or she will send the fat to the U-Autologous lab, where it will be purified and cultured to increase the number of stem cells. As an added benefit, a portion of your stem cells will be stored for future use with American CryoStem.

From the stem cells, technicians will use enzymes to extract your own individual mixture of growth factors, cytokines and matrix proteins—the substances that give instructions to stem cells and other tissues to repair themselves. The lab adds an appropriate amount of this mixture to an emulsion base rich in antioxidants and puts the formula in a convenient pump bottle. The process takes about six weeks.

The original clinical trial of U-Autologous Regenerative Product conducted by a surgeon showed 15% to 85% improvement in wrinkle depth, and 78% of the 10 women tested experienced significant improvement in elastin and collagen production. Maybe those women who see 85% improvement in wrinkles will consider the five-figure price of the first year’s supply of the individualized skin cream a bargain...but what about those who see only 15% improvement?

Cell-able Skin Saviors

The following manufacturers employ botanical stem cells in professional spa products.

B. Kamins
Bio Jouvance
Cellese Regenerative Therapeutics
Cosmetic Solutions
Éminence Organic Skin Care
GlyMed Plus
G.M. Collin
Goldfaden MD
Lifeline Skin Care
Prana SpaCeuticals
Rhonda Allison

Related: Evaluating Homeopathy | The Zen Ten | Label Reading 101 | Smoothing Deep Wrinkles | Cult Facials