The Science

Stem Cell Skin Care Science

A deep dive into the the leading edge science of stem cells, cytokines, and growth factors applied to anti-aging skin care.

Stem cells are truly at the leading edge of medical science. There are emerging stem cell related therapies for many major diseases and conditions; everything from heart attacks & strokes  (stem cell infusions) to burns (grow a new sheet of skin in the laboratory) to blindness (create a new retina from stem cells harvested from your bone marrow).  The science is deep, and not easily translated into common every day language. But here we will attempt to do so, using illustrations, stories, word pictures, and analogies from other parts of life. We will also reference a myriad of other online resources for those wishing to go deeper. 

Stem cells applied to skin care is a topic that is widely misreported, and generally misunderstood. We have a separate section of the site entitled Misconceptions, to help clear some of this up. We will also critique some of the newspaper and magazine articles, and web sites (including some by professionals)  that have added to the confusion, and gently point out where they may have missed the mark.

You may have noticed in the site headline  and the categories picker that not all products reviewed here have anything to do with stem cells. True, but all have a place if for no other reason than to further understanding of what is and is not a stem cell-derived product (or technology).  As you will see, there are pretenders to the stem cell moniker (e.g. plant stem cells), and ground up cow and sheep organs that use the term stem cell for its marketing cache alone.  We call these stem cell products in name only. Then there are other products that derive not from stem cells, but from human fibroblasts.  These are legitimate products and we include these because the actual topical product derived from stem cell technology applied to skin is not the cell itself, but what the cells make.  And yes, you can make whole new sheets of skin, but our focus here is on the topical delivery of small molecules  generally termed cytokines. We usually refer to cytokines and growth factors by convention, although growth factors are classified as as  a type of cytokine. Now, there are other chemicals made by the cells as well, including small messenger RNA’s.  Fibroblasts make the same chemicals when grown in cultures in the laboratory, and much of the early work in discovering the skin benefits of these was discovered in fibroblasts.  More recently, stem cells have been discovered to be even more prolific, pumping out 10-50 times as much of these beneficial chemicals.  But, although the site is dedicated to stem cell skin products, it makes sense to include products whose source of these same cytokines is fibroblasts, or other cells producing the same beneficial substances.

There are hundreds of different cytokines, growth factors, and related molecules. Collectively we can call these bio-signals, as the cells use them to communicate with one another. Each has a special message.  But they don’t act in isolation – but rather as a complex pattern. Think of a symphony, played by an orchestra, with many instruments, playing a complex score of notes, all coming together to create an effect. Cytokine patterns are like that. And the conductor of the symphony? Certain stem cells seem to have that truly artistic capability.

While the results to date are compelling in terms of benefits available now,  for various skin aesthetic concerns, there is much more to come.  This field is very young, and the future holds tremendous promise for more great things to come.

What is a stem cell?
In process.
What is stem cell skin care?
In process.
What are cytokines and growth factors
In process.
What are fibroblasts
In process.
How do human cells differ from plant cells?
In process.
What happens in the lab?
In process.
What are the benefits for skin?
In process.
Is there evidence that this stuff works?
In process.
Is it safe?
In process.
What does the future hold?
In process.
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Stem Cell Skin Care Science