Are plant stem cell-based technologies the future of anti-aging skincare?

Are plant stem cell-based technologies the future of anti-aging skincare?

By Amruta Ashtekar

Humans have been using cosmetics for centuries to enhance their beauty and to promote good health. Cosmetics from the pre-modern era incorporated scented oils, ointments, beeswax, minerals and natural dyes such as henna. Perfume and cosmetics have played a part in shaping our social culture. The use of cosmetics can be traced back to as early as the Egyptian era. Today’s cosmetic products are much more sophisticated and technological advancements have made them available to the masses. It isn’t surprising that cosmetics have evolved a great deal and contain a myriad of diverse ingredients; However, there is a current trend of returning to the utilization of more natural and sustainable ingredients.

What are stem cells?

In recent times, the term ‘stem cells’ has taken a more mainstream popularity, mostly in connection with their potential for biomedical applications and therapies. Both plants and animals have stem cells. Stem cells are responsible for regeneration and are equipped with the unique ability to undergo an unlimited number of cell division or transformation processes into different cell types to create organs.

Normally, human skin renews itself constantly with an inbuilt mechanism to protect against oxidative and UV-induced damage. Aging results from depletion in the quantity or quality of stem cells, leading to decreased healing capacity. Numerous studies have shown that plant extracts can influence the regenerative ability of human skin and can boost its collagen content, keeping the skin supple and radiant.

Why plant stem cell-based cosmetics?

Plants can live astonishing long lives and are rich in antioxidant nutraceuticals. Thus, plant extracts are of great interest to dermatology research. The restrictions on the use of animals in cosmetics have also turned research interest toward plants. All cosmetic research and development efforts for new products are focused on plant-based technology to overcome the bad PR and ethical concerns associated with human or animal sources. Plant cell culture technology offers certain advantages, such as sustainable sourcing and ensuring the growth of contaminant-free plant cells to obtain efficient production of bioactive compounds. Such technology allows the extraction of biologically active substances from plants that may be unavailable or difficult to synthesize in the lab.

Plant stem cells is an emerging industry:

Many cosmetic companies are marketing their products with the claim of utilizing stem cell technology, but it should be noted that professional care cosmetics contain stem cell-derived- extracts and not live cells. Thus, the claimed benefits of smooth and firm skin are due to the presence of antioxidants and active extracts.

The plant stem cell industry highly depends on research work. Scientific evidence supports substantial anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds found in botanicals, such as grapes, lilacs, and Swiss apples Consequently, cosmetic products containing such extracts have the ability to exert a  photo-protective effect against UV-induced damage. Fruit-based antioxidants such as anthocyanin are found in grapes, whereas apple stem cells are rich in phytonutrients. Other botanicals currently being used in cosmetics include tomatoes, orchard apples, ginger, cloudberries, edelweiss, rose periwinkle, and safflower. Recent trends in anti-aging creams include plant-based complexes derived from Indian gooseberry and four o’clock flower, and tropoelastin derived from human embryonic stem cells, while some companies have combined plant and human stem cells based compounds in the single product. In addition, peppermint-based hair products derived from plant cell culture techniques are being developed for haircare.

Market for cosmetics:

Many cosmetic companies are promoting their products with the claim of utilizing stem cell technology. The market is diversified and competitive with North America and Europe being major consumers of cosmetics. Asia is emerging as a leading market for global skincare as well. The key players observed in plant stem cell cosmetics market are:

  • Mibelle Group
  • MyChelle Dermaceuticals
  • Intelligent Nutrients
  • Juice Beauty


A plethora of research shows plant stem cells contain different phytochemicals with anti-aging, anti-oxidant and healing potential. Current trends in dermatology research and development along with consumer interest in beauty suggest that the trend in plant stem cell-based cosmetics is here to stay, and will likely include human stem cells in the near future. As the cosmetics industry is rapidly evolving, try researching the ingredients in the stem cell-based cosmetics before you commit to the product.

Interested in learning more about the latest innovations in the cosmetics industry? Feel free to reach out to Daniel Morales (, PreScouter Project Architect and consumer goods industry.

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