Plant Stem Cells & Anti-ageing
We have heard about stem cell research in the news, and the controversy about using embryos for scientific research, but what are exactly stem cells, where can they be found, and why is everyone so excited about them? Can they help with anti-ageing?
What are stem cells & what do they do?
Simply put stem cells are unprogrammed cells. In terms of embryonic stem cells this means that they can be generated into, as the embryo is developing, any necessary cell: blood cells, tissue cells etc to complete the growth of the embryo. They are also being used in research to help fight degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. In adults stem cells are present too, although as our body’s have all ready been developed their role is slightly different. The function of adult stem cells is to regenerate and repair tissue, which means that they can keep tissue healthy and renewed. This means they can lengthen the lifespan of tissue.
How are they beneficial for my skin?
Your skin (epidermis) is constantly shedding cells. Your skin is made up of skin tissue, hair follicles, and glands, all of these are specific and individual cells. So, in the case of your skin, stem cells are extremely important, they generate the new layer of your epidermis after the dead cells have been shed. New research believes that a store of stem cells actually exist within the basal layer of your skin.
So, how do plant stem cells fit into all of this?
Plant stem cells can be found in what are known as the ‘meristems’. These are found within the shoots of the plant (creating stems, leaves and flowers) and in the roots of the plant (which creates and protects the roots). When a plant begins to flower there is also the creation of the floral meristems. In adult humans, stem cells only have the power to regenerate in small specific areas, repairing and renewing tissue; adult plants contain ‘totipotent’ stem cells, which allow them to regenerate the entire plant. The plant reacts to its situation and determines what kind of meristems are needed at each moment.
Fruit picked from a tree, if stored correctly, can often stay fresh and delicious for a long time, this is a perfect example of stem cells renewing the fruit, and stems with fantastic longevity.
How can plant stem cells be used in beauty products?
New research has shown that plant stem cells (meristems) have the ability to protect human stem cells from damage.
When meristems are introduced to human stem cells, they protect them, especially from UV rays. UV rays are one of the biggest environmental causes of ageing skin. UV rays can cause our naturally occurring stem cells damage, and plant stem cells can protect them.
This means that the introduction of plant stem cells into your anti-ageing skincare regime is a must.
Research has shown that plant meristems protecting stem cells can scientifically improve the appearance of crows feet, reducing wrinkle depth.
Willow uses flower extracts (where floral meristems are found) and plant extracts (where shoot meristems are found) not only in our new anti-ageing range, but in ALL of our products.
If you would like to read more on plant stem cells and the scientific reseach behind them, here is an excellent article: