Updated: Feb 22
THE FUTURE OF SKINCARE SCIENCE
Stem Cells are a hot topic in skincare right now, but have been on the scene for a while, ever since the multi-national Human Genome Project was completed in 2003. Shortly afterwards many skincare companies introduced formulations that encouraged a boost in energy for aging skin cells via stem cell technology. Soon after, Elizabeth Renee introduced two stem cell technology based products: Revitalize Cell Therapy and Crepe Escape. Both remain highly sought after products that produced visible results and improvements for mature or maturing skins by boosting metabolism of sleepy stem cells in the skin.
When formulating Revitalize Cell Therapy we recognized that using actual stem cells was not a good idea because stem cells in skincare formulations are not very stable. Instead we opted for ingredients that were stem cell stimulators. What we discovered were ingredients known as extremophiles. These are plants found in nature that thrive in hostile environments like extreme heat or cold. They’ve developed defense mechanisms to heal, repair and replace damaged stem cells, thus stimulating all the healing magic that stem cells can do.
As we age, surface skin cells die and become disorganized, leading towards a rougher texture and uneven tone. Youthful proteins decline, creating a looser, less compact skin. Moisture-holding lipids decrease resulting in dryness and increased sensitivity. Waiting to receive the molecular messages to replace damaged cells are reservoirs of stem cells hidden in microscopic niches within the skin. Scientists discovered messengers in a North Atlantic Algae that help reactivate dormant stem cells found in mature skin. Within days, skin is energized. Within weeks, skin appears regenerated. Contours become more defined, firmness is improved and lines and wrinkles are less noticeable.
In Crepe Escape, our neck and décolletage cream, we used a similar strategy. We incorporate plant stem cells from an extract derived from a rare apple tree cultivated for its extraordinary longevity. By boosting repair of aging skin cells, this plant extract has been shown to lessen the appearance of wrinkles and help with firmness on the skin of the neck.
You might ask yourself, “How are plant stem cells going to help or change human stem cells?” After all we are not apples (or snails for that matter - another story for another day). Okay, studies do show that plant stem cells don’t work by coming in and replacing our own mature (worn out) stem cells - but don’t discount their value. This type of plant stem cell has an exorbitant amount of potent antioxidants that quell inflammation. This stimulates repair, albeit not as effectively as harnessing human stem cells might be. That’s because... well, we’re human. Our human stem cells have a unique biology that is different from plants or dogs or snails.
Most of us are familiar with the discussion of and the controversy surrounding the use of HUMAN stem cells. These cells claim to hold the promise of treating disease, regenerating a host of different kinds of tissues and nerves, slow the aging process and even extending our life expectancy. What makes stem cells so unique? They are literally the chameleons of the body! They are shape shifters that have the ability to differentiate into other types of cells such as muscle, bone, nerve and skin cells. As a result, they are able to regenerate these tissues and restore functionality to damaged tissues.
While controversy surrounds the use of stem cells which originate from embryonic tissue, the use of human stem cells sampled from a fully formed human who is not harmed in the process is not. For example, the practice of harvesting stem cells from human bone marrow transplants has been implemented for decades now and, in turn, has saved thousands of lives. The key benefit that many of us are searching for in our skin care is the ability to reduce, if not reverse the signs and process of aging in our skin. Many scientists now agree that aging is actually a condition and the process of aging is really a series of accumulated, poorly healed wounds and a loss of genetic communication between cells. Put this theory together with the ability of stem cells to effectively heal wounds and you have a potentially magical combination for truly effective skin care! The goal of skin care lines that contain true stem cell technology is to restore your skin’s natural ability to heal itself and, in turn, reset the aging process.
To expand on this discussion I wish to refer you to David Sinclair: A geneticist and professor at Harvard Medical School who authored the book, “Life Span. Why We Age and Why We Don’t Have To.” This is a fascinating, intelligent read. It won’t touch on skincare per se, but offers state-of-the-art credible science that could profoundly improve health and longevity.
Back to skincare. You may remember me saying before that it has been clinically shown that stem cells in a topical formulation are unstable. Stem cells and cells in general are notoriously difficult to keep alive in a laboratory, let alone in a skincare formulation. Instead, formulators are working with byproducts of cultured cells. Chemists extract stem cells from young adult bone marrow called mesenchymal stem cells. These cells are then placed in a petri dish and stressed to release something called exosomes. The stem cells are then skimmed off, creating a stem cell medium, so that no genetic material remains. Encapsulated in the exosomes are all the healing molecules specific for stimulating repair of the skin, specifically cytokines, peptides and growth factors. These are the messengers that spur our skin’s own stem cells into action. Results from a three month controlled study* published in Nature magazine (April, 2019) revealed that the stem cell medium created from human adult stem cells resulted in the following improvements:
Increased epidermal thickness
Greater number of proliferating cells
Reduction in pore size
Reduced superficial wrinkles/fine lines
Reduced deep wrinkles and folds
*Results based on histology, high-resolution ultrasound imaging, clinical photography and 3-D Skin Imaging.
STEM STIM - GROWTH FACTOR SERUM Our medical grade growth factor serum called STEM STIM is now available for home use. You will only find it at Elizabeth Renee Esthetics. When used regularly, you will see over time, the same longevity boosting -anti-aging results I have shared with you in this blog post. The serum must be used daily, on clean skin, before any other treatment products are applied.