Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Stem Science

via American Spa Magazine and INtelligent Nutrients.

Discover how and why stem cell technology can prove beneficial.

Over the past few years, stem cells have become the skincare industry’s hot anti-aging ingredient. Now commonly found in many products, the science behind stem cell technology is often confusing for both clients and spa professionals alike, mostly due to the fact that there are several types of stem cells that have made their way into the skincare arena, claiming to help clients reduce the signs of aging by decreasing the effects of free-radical damage, stress, and poor lifestyle choices, which can wreak havoc on the skin. Much of the confusion occurs because the science behind the use of stem cell technology in products and treatment protocols can be
difficult to decipher.

Simply stated, human stem cells are unique biological cells that have the powerful ability to morph into any type of cell in the body. Because they don’t have a specific function, they can, and have been, used to transform into a multitude of cells with a more specific function when needed to assist any type of diseased or injured organ or tissue. As we age, our stem cell count decreases due to free radical damage and environmental factors, such as poor diet and stress, which affects the body’s ability to protect itself. While human (embryonic) stem cell treatments are being offered at a number of medical spas, this is not necessarily a viable option for traditional spas. “Stem cells need specific nutrition via a blood supply in the tissue to survive and function,” says Jörg Gerlach, M.D., Ph.D., professor of surgery at the University of Pittsburgh. “If they were layered onto intact skin, the stem cells would just die. However, if stem cells are applied to a fresh open skin wound, after a burn injury for example, then the cells are in contact with the blood supply in the open tissue and could survive and potentially regenerate the skin.”

Another stem cell option involves using botanical stem cells from plants, which, in many ways, mimic the benefits of human stem cells by secreting a similar enzyme that helps to stimulate human stem cell growth and protect them from damage. “Plants have stem cells comparable to human stem cells,” says Christine Heathman, CEO and founder of GlyMed Plus, whose skincare line incorporates plant extract derived from the stem cells of the rare Swiss Uttwiler Spätlauber apple. “It is well known for its excellent storability and longevity potential due to its long-living tissue stem cells.”

G.M. Collin also incorporates Uttwiler Spätlauber into its products because of the benefits it offers. “By stimulating aging skin stem cells, it has been shown to lessen the appearance of wrinkles,” says Karen Asquith, director of education of G.M. Collin. “Plant stem cell extracts provide important nutrients to human stem cells. These nutrients improve the viability and health of human skin stem cells. They also protect and maintain the function of skin stem cells to ensure longevity and to delay skin aging.” Because promoting a treatment as a “stem cell facial” can be misleading to clients, Asquith suggests simply incorporating products containing stem cell technology into already existing protocols. “Stem cell products can be integrated into many specialized treatment protocols,” she says.

Relatively few in number and concentrated in the most vulnerable parts of the plant (like buds and leaves), plant stem cells contribute to the growth and repair process. They contain the highest concentration of antioxidants (active substances / phenylpropanoids) and allow for the generation of new tissues and continuous growth.

Through a groundbreaking biotech strain selection process, these unique plant stem cells—featuring antioxidant concentrations of at least 1,000 times those of plants in nature—are reproduced in the lab without soil for use in skin revitalization, rejuvenation and restoration."

INtelligent Nutrients chose Edelweiss, coneflower and pennywort plant stem cells for their abilities to address multiple signs of aging. This proprietary blend is formulated at maximum potency for a synergistic approach that revitalizes, rejuvenates and restores skin. Plant stem cell laboratory production is environmentally superior to conventional agriculture production.

Plant stem cell laboratory production:
Uses 1,000 tons less water than traditional production methods.
Supports preservation and availability of the most rare plant species.
Ensures purity, as the plant stem cells are 100% free from herbicides, pesticides and fungicides.
Promotes sustainability through the reduction of green house gases—because farming is not required.
Is non-GMO—no genetic modification.

According to Cassie Miller-Hart, a licensed esthetician and West Coast educator for HydroPeptide, botanical stem cell technology contains specific components that improve the vitality of skin stem cells and protect against negative environmental influences and is even more beneficial when combined with peptides. “Aging skin stem cells become less effective at healing, endure increased oxidative stress, and become more prone to generative disease in skin tissue,” says Miller-Hart. “Our scientists work with six different botanical stem cells that address a range of skincare concerns, from super antioxidant protection to healthy collagen support. They go a step further by combining this blend of six stem cells with two of the latest generation peptides that make up an ingredient that stimulates the most relevant structural proteins of the dermal/epidermal junction. Peptide and stem cell technology restore structure to the skin and protect it from environmental stressors.”

One popular treatment at The Four Seasons Resort Biltmore Santa Barbara Spa (CA), says Miller-Hart, is HydroPeptide’s Advanced Resurfacing Stem Cell Facial ($180, 50 minutes; $250, 80 minutes), which incorporates the power of botanical stem cells and peptides to rejuvenate, revive, and protect the skin, re-energizing the client’s skin cells, increasing hydration, and reducing wrinkles, as well as firming and lifting the skin. “Everyone can benefit from the multifunctional benefits that botanical stem cells provide,” she says. “Six different plant stem cells delay signs of aging by protecting our skin stem cells. In short, stem cells can be thought of as super-antioxidants that help prevent oxidative stress and DNA damage to cells. Spa-goers get excited about plant extracts for the youthful qualities they restore to the skin.”
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