April 11, 2013
PLANT STEM CELL TECHNOLOGY
There are organisms on the planet that have lived through the rise and fall of civilizations, from the first cave drawings scratched on the wall with a sharp stone to Snooki getting tipsy in a Jacuzzi on The Jersey Shore. Some beings live an impressively long time: tortoises (255 years), barrel sponges (2300 years), and that annoying barking dog next door (too long). But they are still mortal...
When we think of immortality, we might think of vampires (who have great skin) and zombies (not so great skin), but we rarely think of plants. But we should. Plant stem cells do not age – they immortally produce new cells, without limits. They are all the good things about vampires and zombies, without the blood sucking and the brain eating. Imagine harnessing these immortal plant cells to help your own skin defy the skin cell grim reaper, and allow your skin cells to have a longer lifespan.
Stem cells – plant or animal – are distinctive from other cells in that they can produce differentiated cells (a variety of types of cells), while maintaining their undifferentiated state.
They typically divide into the type of cells that they are near, especially if the tissue is damaged. For example, if a stem cell is near skin cells, it will produce skin cells. If it is near liver cells, it will produce liver cells. If it’s near a prison cell . . . well, then it has bigger problems to deal with than replicating itself.
Plants require stem cells in order to survive. Plants are stationary and can’t run away from danger, harsh weather conditions, or reruns of Baywatch. So, they use these restorative stem cells to repair damage in any part of their organism, from leaves to bark to flowers.
Plant stem cell technology is now being used in cosmetics to repair and restore human skin cells. In this case, the fountain of youth is actuallythe flower of youth.
“Plant stem cell technology is on the forefront of skincare research due to the potential health possibilities without the ethical challenges of animal stem cells,” said Kristi Sloe, Director of Global Brand Innovations for Laboratoire Remède.
These plant stem cells contain the essential building blocks for life, such as proteins, lipids, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, all of which can help restructure and renew skin. And the best thing about it (besides better looking skin)? No guilt. The technology used in Remède’s anti-aging skincare is called Green Defense – they harvest the plant stem cells without harming the flower. The particular plant used in Remède’s technology is the White Nymphaea alba, also known as the European White Water Lily, or the White Lotus. In vitro, the Nymphaea alba’s stem cells have shown to deduce DNA fragmentation by eighty-five percent versus untreated cells, significantly reduced free radicals induced by UV exposure, decreased toxins in skin cells, and prolonged longevity of cells in their growth phase. What does that mean for you? Preservation of the life cycle of the skin. “White Nymphaea alba is used in the Laboratoire Remède products because the ingredient has shown tremendous results in skin defense against free radicals,” said Sloe. “The core of Laboratoire Remède formulations contains more than 36 essential fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins to support skin’s ability to protect and repair cells from damaging environmental aggressors such as UV exposure, pollutants, and artificial light.”
Remède has invested in this green technology in its entire range, making each and every product restorative and repair focused.
Elemis has also recently started employing Stem Cell Technology with their launch of the Elemis Pro-Intense Eye and Lip Contour Cream that can help plump up the fine skin around the mouth and eyes. Elemis utilizes the restorative powers of the Edelweiss flower, pictured here. First the Edelweiss was the emotional closing song from The Sound of Music, and now it can move mountains (not just climb them) for your skin. Active plant stem cells make the skin visibly plumper and fill in lines around the eyes and mouth, creating a more youthful skin texture. Rumor has it that later this year, Elemis will be launching more skincare utilizing stem cell technology. This technology isn’t easy. Imagine that a flowering plant has millions of differentiating cells – cells that are programmed to only make a petal, or leaf, or root. Then there are threedozen (more or less) stem cells. And the stem cells are smart. When faced with a change in their DNA due to harsh environmental conditions, they will choose to die rather than keep reproducing and further damaging the plant as a whole. Researchers are currently also using plant stem cell technology to find a treatment for cancer in humans.
The bottom line: even though we’re evolutionarily as close to plants as a fish and a bicycle, studies show that plant stem cells ultimately benefit human skin by providing a good source of nutrients and by helping create a barrier between the skin and common, nasty environmental ninjas – the sun and pollution. There is some evidence that they can also help build elastin and collagen, making skin more youthful looking. And that’s what we all want, isn’t it? To be as timeless as a flower.