Barefacedtruth launches its premiere series on stem cells in skin care. We plan to cover a wide range of “ingredients” that claim stem cell science. Some based in reality, others in fantasy.
During the past few years, more and more skin care products have boasted their active ingredients are based on breakthrough technologies in the field of stem cells. That was predictable. For nearly two decades, newscasts, newspapers, magazines, and the internet have carried Orwellian proclamations of a new future in medicine, where the power of stem cells would be harnessed to cure disease, heal injuries, grow replacement organs and body parts, and stop or reverse the internal clock of aging.
Developing and perfecting new medical technologies, and then getting them approved for commercialization by the FDA, can take decades and cost hundreds of millions (if not billions) of dollars in investment. That is too long and too expensive for anyone to undertake except the largest research organizations and companies, usually with much of the bankroll provided by the federal government in the form of research grants. Those are huge hurdles for anyone interested in making a buck from the stem cell “hysteria”.
Now, throw into the mix the fact that only a miniscule number of people truly understand the definition of what a stem cell is, let alone understand the underlying science, and you have a marketer’s dream – huge public awareness of the “buzzword” with limited to non-existent sophistication about the technology. For good measure, add an aging population and the innate desire for people to look and feel their best (and the willingness to pay for it) and the scene is set for faux science to tap that market big time. No marketer worth his salt is going to let that sort of public excitement and awareness get away without finding some way to profit from it.
The stage had been set. The words “stem cell” are seen in descriptions of more and more products in the skin care field, an area about which the FDA has only moderate concern as long as overtly toxic and dangerous ingredients are not used. At first only the words were used, without a scintilla of a stem cell to be found anywhere in the product. Later, claims about all sorts of stem cells in the formulations could be found – claims about stem cells from apples and roses, lilacs and Echinacea, Alpine edelweiss and grapes, palm dates and who knows what else. More recently, products have come to market with ingredients based upon human stem cell science.
BFT hopes to clarify the field by informing our readers about the scientific truths and falsehoods surrounding the use of stem cells in cosmeceuticals. Our three part series will discuss: 1) The biology of plant stem cells and their safety and efficacy in skin care products; 2) The biology of animal (human) stem cells; 3) The safety and efficacy of human stem cell and stem cell derived products in skin care.
There is real science to impart. The benefit of stem cells in skin care is also real.
Stay tuned to learn more. Coming soon!
The photo should be explained. While consistent (in terms of words used only) with the topic of plant cells and human skin, it is actually of the so-called “Tree Man” of Indonesia. This unfortunate fisherman has a condition called epidermodysplasia verruciformis. His immunologic system is incapable of mounting a defense against human papilloma virus and the results, as you can see, are horrifyingly disfiguring and debilitating. It is an exceeding rare condition since up to 80% of humans have human papilloma virus at one time or another in their lives, usually with minimal outward manifestations beyond a common wart or two. Because the link between the HPV and cervical cancer, Gardisil was developed as a vaccine to promote immunity. Because men are susceptible to the virus, and can in fact carry it unknowingly, there is public health pressure to vaccinate both young girls and young boys to prevent sexual transmission. The plight of the Indonesian fisherman was the topic of a recent documentary in which his disfigurement was surgically managed.
Human papilloma viruses exercise their out of control growth strategies via effects on which cytokine system? That’s right — EGF. can’t get away from it, its fundamental to skin biochemistry.