Stemming the cell loss

Posted on February 16th, 2012 by Gina

There is an interesting and rapidly expanding movement going on in the esthetics world regarding stem cells.  Just a short time ago, all hell was breaking loose on the political scene about the subject, but now it is on the front page of countless beauty magazines as the anti-aging breakthrough of the century.  According to the latest reports, stem cells retrieved from liposuction can be reused in skin care products and fat transfer procedures.  If that means that they’ve figured out how to take the fat out of my hips and put it where my cheekbones used to be, hallelujah, there is hope for me after all!

Stem cells are known to regenerate tissue and repair damage.  The controversial part is that stem cells with the most potential for serious medical treatment are embryonic in nature, and that poses ethical problems.  But now, clinicians are testing the results of using a person’s own fat-derived stem cells in various cosmetic treatments to reconstruct and rebuild lost tissue in less invasive ways. Injecting adult stem cells into the face can make pores become smaller, and make general skin tone fuller brighter and fuller.  Fat grafting, which has always been problematic because of uneven reabsorption issues, becomes less problematic when stem cells are added.  It seems to cause the fat to stay in place longer and even generate new cells. Who knew? Fat could be the gift that keeps on giving!

Plastic surgeons have high hopes for stems cells, too.  The Stem Cell Facelift is a new procedure being tested in the European Union and Japan, where physicians inject the patient’s own stem cells into the wound of the facelift.  Reports claim that with the addition of the cells, healing is quicker and the results of the facelift continue to improve as the new cells keep regenerating.  For breast reconstruction, using fat that has been enhanced with stem cells may replace the need for silicone or saline implants.

Don’t get too excited – the FDA has yet to weigh in on this and much more research has yet to be done in the U.S.  Of course, that hasn’t stopped the cosmetic companies from capitalizing on the concept.   Never mind that real stem cells could never be put into products because they would die immediately.  Several anti-aging creams are targeting stem cells in the skin for repair, using plant stem cells – specifically from apples – as ingredients and producing conditions “around existing stem cells” that would cause them to grow.  You can bet there will be more products, and soon.

The most unusual product we’ve seen is C’ELLE, a $500 system for capturing your own stem cells from menstrual blood and sending them to the company for preservation of up to a year ($99 for each subsequent year.)   Someone isn’t all that keen about this idea, though. “The C’ELLE service is not currently available to New York state residents.”

Do we have something to thank Andrew Cuomo for again?

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A short history of cosmetics

150BC Romans use yellow eye shadow.

The Romans preferred to use gold-colored eye shadow which was made from saffron and painted onto the area around the sides and under their eyes. Then they used powdered wood ash to color their eyelids black. This gold color was quite significant at the time because they saw themselves as the rulers of the Mediterranean.