this is Korea Skin Mall. Today, we’re here to delve into the technology of stem cell-derived cosmetics that claim to enhance skin’s regenerative capacity.
Stem cell-derived cosmetics can be broadly categorized into human stem cell culture-based products and plant stem cell products. We’ll explore both aspects in detail over two parts, so for those who are interested in stem cell-related cosmetics, stay tuned and follow along!
Firstly, let’s briefly understand what stem cells are.
What are Stem Cells? Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can repeatedly divide and develop into various types of tissue cells.
You might find terms like “division” and “differentiation” reminiscent of science classes, making things seem boring. However, it’s much simpler when we think about it in the context of our skin.
When our skin gets injured, it regenerates over time. This is thanks to stem cells in our skin, which continually generate new cells. Stem cells aren’t limited to the skin; they exist in various parts of our body like bone marrow, blood vessels, liver, and muscles.
Due to their unique properties, stem cells are often referred to as the “dream cure” in the medical field.
Taking advantage of this principle, stem cell culture mediums are utilized to create stem cell cosmetics.
So, do stem cells actually go into stem cell cosmetics?
Yes, that’s correct.
Currently, live stem cells are only approved for medical purposes. When developing cosmetics, only the culture medium formulations can be used. This is why when choosing stem cell-derived cosmetics, it’s important to evaluate if they are based on exaggerated or false advertising claims. Make sure to verify if the strict manufacturing processes were followed.
However, it’s not easy for consumers to judge what’s good or bad. That’s why today, we’ll discuss the types of human stem cell culture mediums and provide concrete criteria to assess their safety.
1. Types of Human Stem Cell Culture Mediums There are various types of human stem cell culture mediums used in cosmetics:
- Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Culture Medium
- Bone Marrow Stem Cell Culture Medium
- Adipose Stem Cell Culture Medium
- Epithelial Stem Cell Culture Medium
- Dermal Stem Cell Culture Medium
- Amniotic Membrane Stem Cell Culture Medium
- Fibroblast Stem Cell Culture Medium
There are more variations, and currently, in Korea, all approved mediums are derived from adult stem cells due to ethical concerns and ease of cultivation. Then why is human stem cell culture medium gaining attention in cosmetics?
Firstly, human stem cell culture mediums are rich in growth factors and bioactive substances secreted by the cells. This is why most stem cell cosmetics are focused on elasticity and anti-aging benefits.
2. Methods to Distinguish Safe Stem Cell Culture Mediums Before purchasing stem cell culture medium cosmetics, it’s essential to ensure they meet the standards set by regulatory authorities. Especially because misleading marketing claims are prevalent due to the nature of these products.
The safety verification process involves three main steps: “Public Inspection > Stability Evaluation Test > Quality Inspection.”
3. Does Stem Cell Culture Medium in Cosmetics Really Work? Opinions about the efficacy of stem cell culture medium cosmetics vary. In conclusion, through numerous research findings and clinical trials, the efficacy of stem cell culture medium itself has been proven.
However, challenges arise when incorporating this into cosmetics. One issue is the quantity of stem cell culture medium used and its stability.
Cosmetics are diluted mixtures of various ingredients. Using the pure material might bring out each ingredient’s effect, but it can also lead to stronger skin irritation and side effects.
Hence, stem cell culture medium is often used as an “extract,” diluted and added to cosmetics. However, it’s unclear what percentage of the extract is actual stem cell culture medium. It might be a minute amount, with most of it being purified water or preservatives.
Fortunately, even a small percentage of stem cell culture medium, around 1% in cosmetics, can have a significant impact. So, when choosing stem cell culture medium cosmetics, it’s recommended to examine the ingredient list closely. If “extract” is used, opt for products where it’s placed near the beginning of the ingredient list.
However, is the solution simply to add more stem cell culture medium? The answer is “No.”
More isn’t always better. This applies to ingredients like Vitamin C, which is well-known for its skin benefits. But it’s also extremely sensitive to temperature and light, leading to degradation. Similarly, stem cell culture medium is sensitive to environmental changes. Therefore, aside from proper blending, research into stabilization techniques is crucial.
Many Korean cosmetic manufacturers are actively researching ways to stabilize stem cell culture mediums. Techniques such as freeze-drying and nanoencapsulation are being explored to enhance stability.
This concludes our overview of stem cell culture medium cosmetics and their effectiveness. Stay tuned for Part 2, where we’ll explore plant stem cell cosmetics in more detail.