While natural skin care companies have long used plants and fruits as ingredients in their products, scientific advancements have upped the ante. Technology now allows for the extraction of plant stem cells―literally, cells from the stems of plants―to be used in face creams.
Applying plant stem cells, or extracts from the plant stem cells, to your skin may encourage the growth of your own skin cells.
There are two ways that plant stem cells are used in natural skin care: active cells, a laborious and expensive process; and inactive extracts. Most companies use the inactive extracts. Ferulic or ellagic acid, the chemicals that the cells produce when they are grown in a culture, will often been seen in ingredient lists.
It Started with an Apple
Plant cell extracts appeared on the scene in 2008, when extracts taken from a Swiss apple cultivated for a long shelf life provided protective effects on human skin cells. The apple, called the Uttwiler Spatlaüber, displayed the ability to heal itself if its skin was cut while on the tree. The study, published by the International Journal for Applied Science in 2008, found that a cream containing the extract decreased “crow’s feet” wrinkle depth by an average of 8 percent after two weeks and 15 percent after four weeks.
Other sources for stem cell extracts include edelweiss, a herbaceous plant with anti-inflammatory properties, and gotu kola, a plant used in traditional Indian medicine to heal wounds and burns. In addition, grapes and rosebuds are known sources of antioxidants and can protect skin and diminish signs of aging. Argan, derived from the Berber tree, is said to accelerate skin repair.
The bottom line? While science has yet to offer definitive proof that plant stem cell extracts can help reverse the effects of aging, the promising results of initial studies and the extracts’ already-proven antioxidant properties are encouraging.