Consumers are being warned not to believe the promises made by anti-aging products claiming to contain stem cell technology.
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), consumers are being dazzled by scientific terms but given very little explanation of how the new skincare products are actually supposed to work.
Research around stem cells for topical use is in its infancy and there remains a lack of evidence for safety and efficacy of such products.
Despite this, says the ASAPS, marketers are promoting stem cell-based products that promise to rejuvenate users’ skin and make them appear more youthful.
The association conducted a study into how stem cell–based skin creams are portrayed to the public. It found that very few substantiated claims with scientific evidence, and even fewer mentioned any risks or limitations associated with stem cell science.
Says Dr. Ivona Percec from the ASAPS: "Only a relatively small number of therapies have moved to clinical application thus far, however the cosmetic and beauty industry continues to borrow language from stem cell science research to market unproven products and treatments as ready-to-go, when such is far from the case."
She adds: "There are limitations to stem cell applications. The public should be wary about products labelled as having beneficial stem cell-related properties unless scientifically proven to work."
Dr. Kaye, Head Surgeon at Ocean Clinic Marbella, agrees the public are being misled about the results these creams and serums can achieve.
“It’s very tempting to think a pot of cream can banish wrinkles and restore your skin’s elasticity, but – no matter how expensive it is – there are no miracle creams currently in existence.”
He adds: “Stem cell research is very exciting and does offer a lot of potential but at the moment, the best results are achieved by physically transplanting the stem cells.
“We can do this by taking fat from one part of the body and transplanting it, via micro injection, into another, such as the face. This process is called fat grafting and does produce a rejuvenating effect.”
Dr. Kaye incorporates fat grafting into all his facelift procedures but it can also be used as a standalone treatment – you can read more about fat grafting here.
Fat can be grafted to any part of the face, where the living cells within it reconnect to the blood supply and restore youthful volume.
It’s an effective treatment for common signs of aging, such as hollow cheeks, hollow eyes, thin lips and deep wrinkles.
“Due to the content of living cells, fat grafting not only plumps out the skin, it actually improves the quality of the skin itself. Skin elasticity is improved and the texture is smoother,” says Dr. Kaye.
“Maybe one day in the future we will be able to see the same results from a topical stem cell cream, but at the moment fat grafting is the only guaranteed way to reverse the skin aging process.”