Right now there are a bunch of cosmetic brand that claim to use stem cells to provide benefits. For example, there is the Swiss Botany brand with their apple stem cells or the Peter Thomas Roth rose stem cell product.
The stem cells in these products have virtually no effect. You can bet that if you left the stem cells out of those formulas no one would be able to tell the difference. It is pure marketing hype and nothing more.
But stem cell technology does have some promise. Here is an excellent piece of research that shows scientists have grown human hair from stem cells. It’s pretty cool. They took human pluripotent stem cells and were able to coax them into converting into human hair follicles. This was all done in a lab and on human cell cultures but it represent the first time it was ever achieved. Apparently growing dermal stem cells outside of the body makes them quickly lose their hair producing properties.
There are two important things to note here which separates this research from the stem cell nonsense that is put into cosmetic products.
1. They use human stem cells. It baffles me that companies use apple or rose stem cells and expect that they will do anything on human skin.
2. Their results are modest. They make no claims that they’ve cured baldness or any other condition people would love to solve. Researchers are almost always (as they should be) reserved about the meaning of any experiment. This could just be a fluke that they can’t repeat.
This is a very promising result though and it will be interesting to see where this technology goes. Animal and then human trials are probably the next thing required. But it won’t be as simple as just rinsing your head in a stream of human stem cells or topically applying some stem cell cream. They have to actually do a tissue transplant to get it to work.
Stem cell technology is promising and I believe in the future there really will be some amazing things done with it. Just don’t believe the hype of stem cell containing creams that you see for sale now. The stem cells aren’t doing anything.