Stem Cell Beauty

Odds are, the first thoughts that come to mind when you hear ‘stem cells’ are the heated, ethical debates over using human embryo stem cells (which have the capability to grow into any type of new tissue) to aid in the treatment of diseases and to engineer new organs. Now the cosmetics industry is using these buzzwords. Over the last few years, we’ve seen a slew of products that somehow incorporate them. But what ingredients are actually in these products and what do they do? We chatted with Karen Behnke, Juice Beauty CEO, about her brand’s new line of Stem Cellular Repair products to help answer some of our questions.

The Breakdown

Human stem cells are important because they allow the body to renew and repair itself when it is injured. But beauty products aren’t using adult human or embryonic stem cells in their formulas. Generally speaking, if the packaging has the words ‘stem cell’ on it, that can mean three things: either the product uses specialized peptides (made from amino acids) or enzymes (proteins that speed up chemical reactions) or plant stem cells (which is said to stimulate the skin’s own stem cells). For Juice Beauty, it is the latter. “We extract stem cells from fruit trees,” says Bahnke. Her team of scientists then injects them into highly concentrated juice bases. “We feel that putting our potent ingredients in an organic juice base will help absorption and we know there is absorption because of the clinical results.”

An Open Wound

To harvest plant stem cells, you first have to wound the stem of a fruit tree. “It is a similar type of action, a similar type of healing mechanism, to what happens in human bodies,” says Behnke. She explains that stem cells form at the site of an injury. It takes about two to three weeks before a fruit tree generates enough stem cells to be extracted.

The Results

When all is said and done, fancy science isn’t really impressive unless it gets real results. For its new Stem Cellular line, Juice Beauty enlisted an independent lab to conduct clinical testing that covered everything from post-treatment questionnaires to before and after 3-D silicone replicas of participants’ skin. After just six weeks, 88 percent saw improved skin tone and 96 percent had a noticeable reduction in fine lines and wrinkles. Does this mean stem cells are the fountain of youth? “I feel like it’s really the formulation we use,” said Behnke. “But the stem cells really boost the power of the other organic ingredients.”

To learn about other helpful products that can reverse the signs of aging, click here to read all our articles on skincare.

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