Plant stem cells are an area of interest for organic cosmetics. Researchers determine how they can be harnessed effectively for anti-aging purposes.
Like many organisms, plants have ways to regenerate their tissues under different conditions throughout their life. Many scientists have put a lot of time and effort in figuring out the mechanisms that underlie regeneration in plants. This is an ever-increasing area of research known as plant biotechnology. We know that when a tree branch is cut, this can result in new branch formation. Researchers now want to learn whether we can harness these critical plant properties to improve tissue regeneration in other organisms.
A research team from New Jersey led by Sonia Trehan reported on current plant stem-cell based, organic cosmetics and their future potential in the Future Science OA journal. Skin aging is a dynamic process that involves changes at many layers of the skin. During aging, the skin stem cells that are responsible for regeneration throughout our lives become less efficient and eventually lose function. A big problem that the cosmetic industry has faced is to provide products that are effective, innovative, and safe, while still having a realistic shelf life. In addition, there are many limitations on using human or animal cells for cosmetic purposes.
Naturally, the industry has turned towards plants to overcome these challenges. Dermatologists and the cosmetic industry are now asking if plant stem cells can prevent aging of the skin and if they can be used as organic cosmetics. Although the field is still new, research involving plant stem cells has quickly become prolific.
What Has New Research Found?
A company in Switzerland that used plant stem cells in human skin cells has found that it could reverse the aging process in these cells by increasing genes important for cell growth and antioxidant production. Another company has used apple stem cells to show that they can reduce fine crow’s feet wrinkles. Another research group was able to propagate stem cells from the cloudberry in a way to produce fresh extracts for use in organic cosmetics. Tomato stem cells have shown efficacy as a protector against metal toxicity in skin cells.
An Italian biotechnology company has also recently extracted an anti-aging ingredient from the Edelweiss plant stem cell. Furthermore, XStemCell is a newly patented system using a new technology that extracts highly concentrated nutrients from plant stem cells that increase skin renewal.
Plant Stem Cells May Be the Key to Anti-Aging Skin Care
Routinely, when cosmetic companies claim that a product contains plant stem cells, they are in fact using the extracts from the plant stem cells. However, live stem cells, rather than extracts, have been shown to be more advantageous as organic cosmetics. This means that there needs to be an increase in research for extraction, propagation and delivery of plant stem cells as an organic cosmetic.
Plant stem cells might be the key to anti-aging skin care if we can figure out a way to utilize and harness the benefits that they hold to create effective and innovative organic cosmetics. There is a clear need for further research into plant stem cells and improvement for the biotechnology aspect to improve future organic cosmetics.
Written by Ingrid Qemo, BSc
Reference: Trehan, S., Michniak-Kohn, B., & Beri, K. (2017). Plant stem cells in cosmetics: current trends and future directions. Future Science OA. doi: 10.4155/fsoa-2017-0026