If you think light therapy is a high-tech way to heal your skin, wait until you hear about this trending skin care ingredient that’s going to sound incredibly brilliant: stem cells.
Dermatologists have turned to stem cells to fight wrinkles and improve skin turnover and overall appearance. Yep, you heard right. Stem cells, the same ones used in innovative medical research to treat Alzheimer’s and certain types of cancer, are now being sold over the counter in the form of creams, serums and other skin care products. Except there’s one major difference here: These stems cells are usually derived from plants (or occasionally animals). However, they work similarly to human stem cells and may offer anti-aging benefits for your skin.
What stem cells are and how they work
Human stem cells are unique because of their ability to divide. In certain organs, they can even become specialized to repair and replace damaged tissues. “Stem cells are rapidly dividing cells in the body that have the ability to give rise to more stems cells or become other types of cells with more specialized function,” explains Dr. Sejal Shah, board-certified dermatologist and RealSelf contributor in New York City. Plant stem cells serve similar functions, she says.
Both plant and human stem cells contain proteins and amino acids, adds Dr. Michele Green, board-certified dermatologist and RealSelf contributor in New York City. “These signal the body’s cells to rejuvenate and may result in younger-looking skin,” she says.
Why you’re seeing stem cells in your skin care products
As mentioned above, stem cells contain amino acids and peptides, which are skin care powerhouse ingredients for skin rejuvenation. “These are the building blocks for cell rejuvenation, so over the past few years, there have been a variety of both animal- and plant-based stem cells in skin care products,” explains Green. “Stem cells naturally have antioxidant properties and they nourish skin cells which promotes cell turnover and increases collagen production.”
This could result in fewer lines and wrinkles, improved skin texture and tone, and younger, better-looking skin, she says.
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