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There are countless anti-aging ingredients used in skincare today, but few have the potential regenerative capabilities of stem cells. With the remarkable ability to limitlessly divide into new stem cells or more specialized cells such as muscle, blood cells or brain cells, stem cells play an integral role in repairing and replenishing all parts of our bodies—including the skin. But as with many other types of cells, stem cells in the human body decline with age.
New York City dermatologist Dr. Gary Goldenberg recognizes the significance of stem cells and their impact on the skin and hair, which is why he offers umbilical stem cell injections at his practice. “By harnessing the power of cells harvested from human umbilical cords to improve collagen, overall skin health and hair follicles in patients with hair loss, we are now able to improve our patients’ appearance in the most natural way,” he explains. Injected or applied to the skin in conjunction with fillers, platelet-rich plasma, microneedling and laser treatments, Dr. Goldenberg has found that the introduction of stem cells helps enhance results and promote skin rejuvenation. But how? “Stem cell injections help skin and hair health by providing the very building blocks we lose as we age.”
Although the stem cells used in these injections are obtained from umbilical cords that are donated after normal, full-term pregnancies, embryonic stem cells have been the subject of much controversy. To side-step any ethical concerns, skincare research has turned to plant-based stem cells, which also have the ability to regenerate themselves. Another approach to anti-aging is stimulating the proliferation of adult stem cells present in the skin with other ingredients such as peptides.
Due to the complex nature of stem cells (whether in a skincare product or the target of a product’s action), look for brands that rely on science and research for optimal performance and results.
We’ve done the legwork for you, and here are some good ones to try:
This innovative range of three advanced products (8-in-1 Bioserum, 24/7 Barrier Balance Cream and 2-Minute Reveal Masque) is formulated with potent peptides called defensins, which were discovered through stem cell research for wound healing and diabetes. “Peptides act as ‘communicators’ between cells, and one type of defensin seems to speak directly to adult stem cells and instruct them to regenerate themselves,” explains Nashville, TN dermatologist Natalie Curcio, MD. “My patients like DefenAge because of its simplicity. They can use the 24/7 Barrier Balance Cream + 8-in-1 BioSerum twice daily as their main anti-aging products and then simply add a sunscreen and an antioxidant serum to their regimen to achieve striking results.”
The DefenAge product range also contains a second type of defensin that has been found to enhance the skin’s barrier function, and this combination of actions has been shown to provide dramatic improvement in aging skin in as little as six weeks.
NeoStrata Cellular Restoration
Formulated to fight the visible signs of aging on multiple fronts while you sleep, this treatment protects against damage caused by environmental damage as it corrects the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. In addition to the age-delaying action of apple stem cell extract, it features glycolic acid to exfoliate the skin, maltobionic acid and gluconolactone to preserve collagen integrity, and an antioxidant blend of grape seed extract, pomegranate, blueberry and acai.
Replenix Enriched Nighttime Bio-Therapy
Ideal for dry, aging skin, this overnight moisturizer is formulated with a veritable cornucopia of anti-aging ingredients—including plant-derived stem cells. This rich barrier-repair cream also features a biomimetic ceramide complex, peptides, hyaluronic acid, caffeine, green tea and vitamin E that work synergistically to hydrate, smooth lines and wrinkles, improve skin firmness and elasticity, refine surface texture and protect against free-radical damage.
NOTE: Neostrata product was sampled in a doctor’s office. DefenAge and Replenix were provided for review and trial. All opinions are my own.