Stem Cells, stem cells, stem cells .... this phrase is every where right now. I think we all have an idea of what stem cells are, but why in skin care? What are the benefits of using stem cell skin care? How does it work?

What are Stem Cells? Stem cells are the bodys cellular building blocks or raw materials. They are not yet assigned a specific function. When these cells divide, they will have a specific function. eg. fibroblast cells - responsible for our youthful appearance, regenerating collagen and elastin.

What are the types of Stem Cells? Embryonic stem cells are harvested from outside sources - namely fertilized human eggs. These treat injury and disease. In Skin Care and cosmetics Adult Stem Cells are used. These are present within our body and serve to maintain and repair the tissues.

From stem cell to skin care: The progenitor cells (stem cells) of the human fibroblast are taken from adipose cells, which contain many cells such as immune cells and fibroblast cells. From the progenitor cell (a stem cell that that can only replicate a limited amount of times), many thousands of new cells are grown in the lab. Understanding this may help dispel myths (and fears) that new human cells are extracted for each batch of cosmetics and that they may be diseased or cancerous. The progenitor cell is supposedly pristine and then is cloned in a laboratory.

What is Conditioned Media? CM is the solution (sugars, amino acids and such) that is put in the petri dish in which the cells are grown. Conditioned media might typically be thrown away by a lab that is using the cells for something else and this has led some people to worry that this ingredient is in fact waste. However, cosmetic companies such as SkinMedica are not gathering by products that are about to be thrown away. The conditioned media contains proteins that have been secreted by the cells and these proteins are what makes it into their serums.

What are Growth Factors? Intelligent media (proteins) cultured in a laboratory setting from stem cells that assign specific functions to stem cells in the body. There are multitudes of different growth factors that all assign different functions eg FGF  (Fibroblast Growth Factor) directs cells to generate collagen and elastin.

How is the Conditioned Media delivered into the skin? There are a few theories here.

  1. Transfered from the stratum corneum through the hair follicle which serves as a vertical pathway.
  2. They produce the effects from the epidermis without the need to penetrate to the dermis through signalling pathways.
  3. The high levels of growth factors applied to the skin which likely far exceeds the amount the skin requires.
Benefits of Conditioned Media in the Skin
- Reduction of fine lines, deeper lines
- Improvement in overall texture of the skin
- Improves the appearance of pigment spots
- Strengthens the skins natural barrier

I have personally tried both the Osmosis Stemfactor and love it. It absorbs nicely into the skin and I can see an improvement in my skin after 1 month of use morning and night.


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Sources: http://www.truthinaging.com/ingredient-spotlight/stem-cells-and-human-conditioned-media http://blogcritics.org/scitech/article/stem-cells-in-skin-care-101/ Quotes from Dr Fitzpatrick from the Article July 2002, Dermatology Times


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