Research Spotlight: “Plant Stem Cells and Cosmetic Products”

Just like humans and animals, plants have the special ability to regrow and regenerate. This special regeneration is due to plants’ stem cells, which are special cells that can develop into any type of cell in the plant. These stem cells’ regenerative properties have led many to consider the powerful effects of plants on humans. For instance, several skin care products use plants as ingredients, claiming that such products have anti-aging effects. Researchers examined the trends in using plant stem cells for skin care.

Aging itself is caused by the natural shortening of DNA as DNA replicates,[1] and many researchers examined the impact of plant cells on this process. In one study, plant stem cells improved the wrinkles on the sides of the eyes known as crow’s feet.[2] This study did not use comparative treatment known as a control and only looked at how people did before and after using a cream that contained the apple-derived stem cells.

Refined ginger, which consists of active cells of the ginger plant, minimized the appearance of pores and reduced the oily appearance of skin.[3] New plant stem cell technologies have therefore emerged, such as the introduction of active plant stem cells that are claimed to further renew the skin and protect the skin from sun damage.

Based on the study’s findings, plant stem cells hold potential, but the best ways to use them are still not clear. One question that remains is whether plant stem cells can be used to create standardized extracts from the plant cells or whether they have direct and unique effects on human skin as intact plant stem cells. The science behind this is not clear. While the field of plant stem cells is still new and being studied, perhaps in the future, skin care products containing plant stem cells may become the norm at your local drugstore.


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  1. Shen Q, Jin H, Wang X. Epidermal stem cells and their epigenetic regulation. Int J Mol Sci.2013;14(9):17861-17880; PMID: 23999591 Link to research.
  2. Schmid D. SC, Blum P., Belser E., Zülli F. Plant Stem Cell Extract for Longevity of Skin and Hair. SOFW Journal.2008;5:30-35.
  3. Naolys. Refine Ginger Restores Skin Texture. 2016:4-5.
  4. J. J. Stem cells in skin care...What does it really mean? 2009. Accessed December 26 2017, 2017.