Plant Stem Cells—the Promise of Eternal Beauty?
In the cosmeceutical world, plant stem cells are being touted as the secret to younger-looking skin.
Plant stem cell. What are they? Scientifically, plant stem cells are innately undifferentiated cells located in the meristems of plant. Plant stem cells serve as the origin of plant vitality, as they maintain themselves while providing a steady supply of precursor cells to form differentiated tissues and organs in plants.
Like human stem cells, they have the ability to self-renew and replace specific plant cells in need of repair.
But these cells don't end up in the serums. Instead, plant stem cells are cultured in labs away from pollution and pesticides. This way, scientists have more control over the quality and quantity of whatever anti-aging substance the plant produces. The technology also gives them access to purer ingredients because they don't have to worry about toxins or chemicals sneaking in from an outside source.
WHAT PLANTS ARE USED?
The small and white, clean and bright Edelweiss, a mountain flower, isn't just fodder for nostalgic songs about a rapidly disappearing world.
It's also a stem cell powerhouse.
Edelweiss contains leontopodic acids, chlorogenic acid and other ingredients that may lead to younger-looking skin. It is said to have anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective (cell protecting) properties and allegedly prevents collagen breakdown, according to MyChelle Dermaceuticals.
Utilizing the powerful super fruit, Acai, stem cells derived from this coveted superfruit is touted to impart antioxidant, protectant and anti-aging benefits while also enhancing ATP synthesis and cellular metabolism. It has also been found to increase collagen in the face and is found in formulas such as Hardy & Co Dewy Skin Anti-Ageing Champagne Mist .
Raspberry: Eve Lom products, including its Natural Radiance Mineral Powder Foundation ($50), contain BerryFlux Vita™ that is taken from raspberry cell cultures and is said to moisturize and lock in hydration.
Other popular sources of plant stem cells harvested for ingredients for skincare products include lilac, algae and grape seed.
WHY ARE PRODUCTS SO EXPENSIVE?
Youthful-looking skin comes at a price. The higher-end creams with stem cell-derived ingredients can set you back a few hundred dollars.
Victoria Beckham has admitted to being a fan of the Lancer Lift Serum Intense, which costs $275 per bottle. And you will have to shell out $310 for a 1-ounce bottle of La Mer's Regenerating Serum, which has a "bio ferment engineered with plant stem cells."
Turns out, a lot of what you pay for is the research and development. The stem cell-derived ingredients are also more expensive to produce compared to going out to a field and picking some plants.
Not everyone is convinced that the price tag is justified. "There is a lot of promise, but some of the advertising is a little bit of a hyperbole," says Jane, one beauty blogger I spoke to earlier.
However, those with deep pockets are certainly taking no chances on investing for their skins’ future, "I swear by Hardy & Co. stem cell sprays, that’s all I use. And I find that my skin actually looks better now than when I was lathering on all sorts of creams and products. I say when it comes to quality skincare, less is more” declares Amelie, a beauty editor and skincare aficionado.