Stem Cells (Fruit)


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Stem Cells (Fruit)

Other names: Malus Domestsica, PhytoCellTec™ Solar Vitis

Source:  EWG

Source: EWG

Overall hazard:
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Allergies & immunotoxicity:
Use restrictions:


Natural or synthetic?


What Is It?

Stem cell technology, although relatively multifaceted, is one of the branches of medical research that have offered a host of potential health advancements which have been integrated into various industries.  For instance, the cosmetic industry has adopted a couple of these advancements, as evident in the new stem cell creams and stem cell serums with alleged anti-aging properties.  Wondering why this claim stands? These cosmetics do not necessarily have to offer too much proof or evidence like products of medical research before they can be made available to the public. 

In medical research involving stem cells, the experimental stem cells are from humans, unlike in cosmetics, where it come from plants.  Subsequently, even the top claims about the potentials of plant stem cells in cosmetics are not verifiable. However, the plant stem cells can be considered useful. 

Why is it used in cosmetics and personal care products?

As specialized cells found in both plants and animals, stem cells can transform into any type of cell in its host, and even produce more of such cells in a controlled manner.  Therefore, as you will agree, they are crucial to the ability of plants for skin repair and to replenish themselves after damage or injury.

With regards to plant stem cells in cosmetic products, the makers are trying to maximize the potentials of stem cells from specific plants, including lilacs, melons, apples, or grapes, which when extracted and infused into the cosmetic products can give the skin a younger appearance while improving its defence mechanisms against environmental aggressors. This role is similar to antioxidants’ – although it is impossible for plant stem cells to function as skin stem cells, they offer excellent antioxidant ability.  And with these, we can conclude that using cosmetic products containing plant stem cells can still be quite beneficial.

Why the manufacturers claims are wrong: 

The simple underlying factor here is the inability of the plant stem cells to stay alive in the products.  These cells are usually desiccated, and their industrialised processing renders them ineffective long before they get to the skin.

Another reason is that the human and plant system are designed to accommodate stem cells only at specific environmental conditions.  Without these conditions set and available, the stem cells will remain inactive. 

Perhaps, the fact that plant stem cells are ineffective in anti-aging products is not entirely bad news, at least, no human skin will exhibit the qualities of melon, grape or apple.

The stem cells of plants cannot even influence the human skin stem cells.  So, if you have been buying these stem cell cosmetic products for this fantasy, you should stop.  Likewise, if these products come in jars, the antioxidant benefits will not even last as expected because the more air and light plant extracts are exposed to, the faster they lose their antioxidant properties.

How Plants Survive in Severe Conditions with Stem Cells: 

The assumption by the makers of these cosmetic products that the capabilities of the plant’s stem cells to preserve plants in harsh climates will be transferred to the human skin and protect the skin when exposed to aging elements is considerably wrong. 

Apart from the lack of actual evidence to back up this claim, it is also clear that the nature of plant functioning is entirely different from how the human skin works. Yes, plants can survive in the desert or freezing weather, but this doesn’t in any way apply to the human skin.  This is because irrespective of the amount of these products you use on your skin, you will not survive in a desert without some important conditions like nutrients, shade, clothing and some other factors that protect the skin.  On the other hand, these prerequisites do not apply to plants.

Another Stem Cell Claim

You may have heard these cosmetic companies claiming that they have extracted some components, like peptides, from the plant stem cells and worked on them to ensure stability.  Thus, these ingredients are fit to replace stem cells or stimulate the already-existing natural adult stem cells in our skin 

Although this seems fascinating, it is wrong – distorted or processed plant stem cells can never function normally.  The possibilities of stimulating adult stem cells in the skin through the use of peptides and similar ingredients are still under investigations, and for now, there are no substantial scientific claims that it would work or on how to achieve such. By understanding how the stem cells function, you will see that they cannot offer the anti-aging potentials and effects these cosmetic product makers are claiming.

Plant stem cells in cosmetics: current trends and future directions, NCBI July 2017

PloS One, October 2008, ePublication

Stem Cells Translational Medicine, September 2013

Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology, August 2017

Current Opinion in Plant Biology, February 2011

Current Biology, September 2016

SNoéma Editor