Plant Stem Cells and Skin Repair
Plants have stem cells comparable to human stem cells. Unlike humans, plants contain totipotent stem cells with the potential to regenerate a whole plant. This action gives scientific rise to the benefits of the plant stem cells’ ability to regenerate new leaves, flowers, seeds or a whole, fresh plant.
Unlike human stem cells, plant stem cells can de-differentiate and become a stem cell, the stem cells extracted from it can stimulate human stem cell growth and protect skin stem cells from death due to UV overexposure, neutralizing free radicals and reversing the effects of photo-aging of the skin. Other biotechnological research in botanical stem cell research is emerging quickly in professional skin care to benefit the management of aging skin.
Targeting Skin Renewal with Peptides
Peptides remain a buzz word in the world of anti-aging skin care due to their performance and their ability to be used by all skin types without causing irritation or sensitivity. It is likely that your clients have either heard of them, currently use peptide-based skin care or are interested in finding the right peptide-focused product. They continue to evolve and have developed a cult following along the way based on their results. It’s important to know where peptides originated and how they develop.
Peptides are tiny protein fragments—think of them as a series of amino acids that improve cell communication—but the correlation of how important the composition of a peptide is to the body and skin is not always made. How exactly do protein fragments or amino acid chains improve the look and health of skin? In order to understand this, the significance proteins have within the body and skin must be realized.
Within the skin, collagen is made of protein, which is comprised of amino acids. In fact, collagen makes up for 25–35% of the whole body’s protein content,1 and this percentage is divided between at least 24 different types of collagen that contribute to everything from structural concerns, such as anchoring the skin together, to the appearance of skin’s elasticity on the surface. Awareness of the decline of collagen as a person ages, and the need to maintain healthy and ample collagen to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles is increasing. Many are unaware that other protein-based structures, including laminin and elastin, contribute to skin’s strength and to an overall youthful appearance, but also decline with age, similar to collagen. The role protein plays in the body is an essential one.
Aside from water, protein is the most abundant molecule in the body. Proteins do more than strengthen the body; they are essential to every organism and are required for nearly every process within cells. Hormones rely on proteins to transmit messages throughout the body. Proteins affect a person’s thoughts and emotions by supporting both neurotransmitters in the brain and enzymes that catalyze chemical reactions. They balance fluids and electrolytes, and assist in the regulation of the acid-base balance. They also serve as transportation vehicles for nutrients. An understanding of the role of proteins in the body serves as a foundation for comprehending the function of peptides. The role proteins play within the body correlates with the actions of four categories of peptides, including signal peptides, enzyme inhibitor peptides, neurotransmitter inhibitor peptides (otherwise known as neuropeptides) and carrier peptides.
Peptides already exist naturally within the body. Protein is ingested through the diet, not only from meat, but also from a variety of plant sources, allowing people to obtain essential amino acids. These amino acids combine in specific sequences that result in peptides that perform a variety of critical functions. One of those functions is the process of creating collagen. A polypeptide undergoes a series of three processing reactions to eventually form a collagen molecule. Each collagen molecule is made up of 1,050 amino acids and creates a triple helix, where three protein chains are twisted together in a specific shape to form a sturdy, stable protein strand. These different strands of collagen then form a network with the body and skin, giving it its structure. By supplementing the skin from the outside with topically applied peptides, the outward reflection of supporting these natural processes is skin that looks and acts younger.
Epidermal Growth Factor and Skin Rejuvenation
Although the search continues for the proverbial fountain of youth, advancements in skin care have resulted in progress toward its discovery. One such development was the founding of epidermal growth factor (EGF) in 1986 by scientists Stanley Cohen and Rita Levi-Motalcini. The duo received a Nobel Prize in Medicine for their work, which opened the door for understanding how cells communicate with each other during cellular growth. This forever changed the landscape of skin rejuvenation, particularly for the skin care formulators wise enough to recognize the power of EGF.
A lab-derived oligopeptide, EGF is an age-prevention ingredient that supports cell renewal and wound repair. It has potent regenerating properties, making it valuable for age prevention and age reversal of the skin. EGF is a vital protein found in the fibroblast cells of the dermal layer, and it works to stimulate cells to produce collagen.
How does EGF work?
As an essential part of skin regeneration when trauma has taken place, EGF works by attracting cells to a wound site in order to begin the repair process. The vital protein is released by platelets during the inflammation stage of healing, then attracts cells to the injured area. These responsive cells, known as osteoblasts, process EGF, speeding up wound-healing, allowing the skin to repair itself evenly and quickly.
As EGF is applied to the skin, tissue regeneration begins. The protein supports cell renewal by assisting in the synthesis of proteins and increasing circulation, mitosis, the number of fibroblasts, the accumulation of collagen and blood-vessel formation.
The production of natural EGF significantly slows when ultraviolet (UV) light is present, hindering the body’s ability to repair itself. Because the skin is constantly subjected to UV rays during the daylight hours, topical growth factors become useful tools in reversing the harmful effects of these rays.
Research has also shown the potent regeneration powers of EGF to enhance the effects of peel therapy treatments and microdermabrasion. Because the protein works in synchronicity with the natural renewal process, it helps rebuild the skin from a healthy, well-nourished foundation, following any acid, enzyme or microdermabrasion treatment.
Beyond age reversal, EGF also supports acneic skin. When skin lesions are treated for bacteria with various active topicals, including benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, salicylic acid, retinol or resorcinol, the skin is broken down. Growth factor rebuilds and heals the skin—an essential step in any skin care regimen.
The cell organizer: Citrustem
Citrustem from Provital uses stem cells from oranges to help organize the inner structure of the skin, and improve elasticity and cell adhesion. According to the company, a study evaluating the effect of 0.1% Citrustem on 64 genes demonstrated this natural, sustainable active’s ability to increase the expression level of collagen VI, elastin and ADAMTS2, a gene that codes the conversion of N-propeptides of procollagen into collagen.
Citrustem has also demonstrated in vitro efficacy in stimulating the proliferation of fibroblasts to increase collagen synthesis and other key elements of the extracellular matrix. The fruit of this latest innovation may also help the skin bear a quick recovery of the elasticity it once knew 12 years ago.
Restoring youth to aging cells: Progeline
While stem cells have attracted widespread attention for their promise to restore the skin-differentiation function to aging cells, Progeline, a three-amino acid peptide biomimetic, helps modulate a key marker of cell senescence in the absence of stem cells to significantly decrease sagging, slackness and wrinkles. As cells age, they lose their ability to divide; yet, they remain active, often generating collagen- and elastin-degrading metalloproteinases (MMPs). Senescent cells are also accompanied by an increased level of progerin, a toxic protein that can lead to DNA damage and contribute greatly to signs of aging. Progeline from Lucas Meyer Cosmetics acts as an enzyme-inhibitor to decrease progerin synthesis and improve the appearance of aging skin. In a placebo-controlled study of 13 volunteers ages 54–66, a cream containing 2% Progeline resulted in a 20% increase in firmness and a 21% increase in elasticity when applied twice daily for 28 days
Anti-aging Ingredients for Sensitive Skin
These ingredients to help reduce eye puffiness and firm skin without the irritating drawbacks:
- Hexapeptide-11: A peptide derived from yeast to help firm the skin, improve skin elasticity and improve fine lines.
- Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP): A stable form of vitamin C, preferred for clients with sensitive, as the pH of the delivery system does not have to be low or acidic, which can be irritating.
- Carrot oil: Oil enriched with antioxidant carotenoids and provitamin A, which can be converted into vitamin A or retinol in our skin. Vitamin A helps to boost cell renewal and reverse the signs of extrinsically aged skin.
- Red and brown seaweed: Soothing extracts that hydrate while protecting skin from collagen degrading enzymes.
- Golden chamomile: An African plant rich in antioxidant polyphenols that also help soothe irritated skin and strengthen capillaries.