Stem Cells and Skincare: What You Need to Know
Plant Stem Cells are something that have recently emerged in the skincare and beauty world. Some would say they have taken the industry by storm because of their healing properties; others would say they’ve never heard about plant stem cells and are unsure of their function. There is minimal information out there about plant stem cells and what they can (and probably can’t) do, and we are here today to give you the lowdown on what we know. Thus far the research states that the stem cells found in plants and their regenerative abilities are making some serious changes when it comes to the way we take care of our skin, they just need to be studied more to fully understand them.
Just like many other organisms, plants have a way of regenerating their tissues under different conditions throughout their lifetime. Plant biotechnology, the area of research surrounding plant based stem cells, has put their focus into understanding the moving parts that allow plants to regenerate. These regeneration efforts made by the plants are for both tissue repair and for the development of a new plant, as plants are equipped with a mechanism that allows regeneration under stress. It is this important feature of plant stem cells that they are being thoroughly researched for.
In the case of plant stem cells, terminology is important. Any product containing plant stem cells as an ingredient actually means the extract of the primitive plant stem cell is being used. Plant stem cells never undergo the aging process, but they do give rise to new specialized and unspecialized cells. They also have the potential to grow into any organ, tissue, or cell in the body. This ability makes them totipotent cells, equipped with regenerative powers; these regenerative powers facilitate plant growth and production of new organs. Totipotent cells are cells that have the ability to divide and produce all of the differentiated cells in an organism, which aids in their regeneration process.
When it comes to plants, you may wonder why having stem cells that allow for regeneration are necessary. Unlike animals and most other organisms, plants cannot move to escape any danger that approaches them. Weather, environmental conditions, and other animals or people are just a few of the many uncontrollable things that can wreak havoc on these poor plants. The reason they are able to survive these encounters is because of their stem cells and their abilities to regenerate.
Research on plant stem cells in cosmetics and skin care products is still very much in its early stages. Plant based skincare and cosmetics have been limited in their development and when it comes to their accessibility for purchase. Part of this is due to the fact that research is still being done and that many theories and ideas have yet to be fully proven, but another reason this is the case is because of the time associated with plant stem cell extraction and growth. Other factors include seasonal harvest and the variation of active concentration from plant to plant.
A research piece for Future Science states the following in regard to plant stem cells and the beauty industry:
“In current times, for innovative cosmetic scientists, the goal is to connect the evidence from ancient practices to evidence in modern science and see where the application of plants in cosmetics can improve the delivery to the skin in a more effective, safer and targeted way. Plant science in this vein is currently in its infancy and research in herbal biotechnology and physiologic effects on the skin could open new doors in cosmetics.” (Trehan, Sonia & Michniak-Kohn, Bozena & Beri, Kavita. (2017). Plant stem cells in cosmetics: current trends and future directions.).
All in all, plant stem cells are a truly magnificent thing, and the potential for them to be beneficial in other branches of science (especially those related to skincare) is strong. The more we research, the more we will be able to fully harness the advantages that plant stem cells bring to the beauty industry. Learning about what they do and how they do it will lead to a better understanding of the potential they have to change the cosmetics and skincare game.
Trehan, Sonia & Michniak-Kohn, Bozena & Beri, Kavita. (2017). Plant stem cells in cosmetics: current trends and future directions. Future Science OA. 3. FSO226. 10.4155/fsoa-2017-0026.