Written by Marna Herrington at Rich Organic Spa, Portland, OR. May 2019
In the Skin Care Universe, there are ample skincare product ingredients that provide visible benefits to your skin (and are absolutely worth using). This blog, however, is about something far beyond that.
First of all, did you know there is a “Skin Health Pyramid?” There is! The original “food pyramid” illustrated the importance of veggies and protein, and in a similar way…the Skin Health Pyramid ranks the most beneficial skincare ingredients!
The pyramid was researched by the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology (a peer-reviewed, MEDLINE®/PubMed® indexed journal for the dermatology community). This Journal is one of the gold standards for information in the field: high integrity, high quality, scientifically sound content covering topics including drugs, devices and methods in relation to cutting-edge skin care. (Don’t panic about the word “drugs” here…we’re talking about active skincare product ingredients with measured, proven ability to improve you skin’s appearance.)
At the Top of the Pyramid? Stem Cell Growth Factors
Being placed at the top of the Skin Health Pyramid indicates the ability to initiate the greatest positive change in your skin. So! Why are stem cells placed at the very top of the pyramid? The simple answer: Ability! Far beyond merely supporting skin, stem cells actually direct your own skin cells to heal and regenerate in a healthier way. This can powerfully change the progressive journey of worsening skin damage into a pilgrimage of ongoing healing of existing skin damage—and actual prevention of future skin damage. (By skin damage, we’re talking about such unpleasantries as uneven pigmentation, lines, wrinkles, sagging, enlarged pores and redness.) Amazing, yes?!
The use of (worthy!) stem cell products in your skin care routine can definitely create naturally healthier and more youthful looking skin.
One more reason why stem cells are Queens of the Skin Health Pyramid? Stem cells emit something called growth factors, which improve the performance of absolutely everything else you place on your skin.
Growth Factor science: a growth factor is a type of “cytokine.” A cytokine is a type of protein that’s integral to cell signalling…which is how stem cells communicate with skin cells, teaching your skin how to behave more healthily and youthfully.
In short, growth factors are important messenger proteins that are directed by stem cells. Pro Tip: layer a viable stem cell product under an already-good skincare product to make it work radically better! Voila!
You may have tried some kind of “stem cell” product already and were less than impressed—there’s an excellent reason for that! Keep reading!
The number one position of stem cells on the Skin Health Pyramid means they have the most power to improve the health and appearance of your skin.
In the spirit of education-and-fun, let’s quickly go over the rest of the Pyramid: just below stem cells in a solid number two position are products that support healthy cell turnover: retinoids (vitamin A derivatives such as retinol or retin A), AHAs (alphahydroxy acids, often derived from fruits or plants) and quality moisturizing ingredients. And the foundation of the Pyramid? Non-negotiable skincare basics like antioxidants and sun protection.
Stem Cells = Natural Ability to Heal
Stem cell science is couched within the field of knowledge known as regenerative medicine: the exploration of the body’s natural ability to repair tissue and heal disease.
Let’s dissolve the shroud of mystery surrounding stem cell science and discover a few treasures: which type of stem cell most rejuvenates our skin, which type is a neutral “dud” …and which type actually works against us.
Daily use of AnteAGE Serum and Accelerator has improved inflammation, tone and texture.
What is a Stem Cell?
A stem cell is a cell that can replicate itself, or differentiate (change) into different types of tissue. Stem cells are deeply complex, incredibly powerful and intelligent.
For natural, powerful healing…Human Bone Marrow Stem Cells are simply the best (better than all the rest)!
There are many types of stem cells in the body, but the “hero” of them all? The bone marrow stem cell. This stem cell is—by far—the most intelligent, mobile and powerful of all stem cells. Think for a moment about what happens when someone receives a bone marrow transplant: the new, healthy bone marrow stem cells conduct a symphony of healing throughout the receiver’s entire body. Donor stem cells rewire the receiver’s blood/immune system, bringing healthy cellular activity to replace diseased activity.
Bone marrow stem cells are the only stem cells used in the medical field to heal disease, as bone marrow stem cells control and repair healing everywhere in the entire body.
Bone marrow stem cells are also the only stem cells that are “highly mobile.” This means they originate in the marrow of our bones, but travel throughout the body searching for injuries to heal. They restore, repair and powerfully reduce inflammation. And it’s worth repeating: because bone marrow stem cells control healing in all tissue…this includes our skin.
Remember the “growth factors” mentioned above? Their benefits keep coming. Another (not insignificant!) bonus that human bone marrow stem cells (lush with growth factors!) bring to skincare products is the backing of science. Scientific studies have repeatedly, conclusively proven that bone marrow stem cells are safe and bring a plethora of benefits to our skin. Unlike wacky skincare fads in the anti-aging arena that have no scientifically proven benefit, are potentially harmful and even radically expensive (such as “young blood” transfusions, one example of quackery among many)…human-derived bone marrow stem cells have science, safety, ethics and results on their side.
A stem cell can directly replace a diseased, damaged or unhealthy cell by attaching to that cell…instigating healing…and then commanding the formerly-wounded cell to replicate into a healthier version of itself. (The best kind of magic—taa daaa!)
Stem cells also use something called “paracrine signalling.” This process involves a stem cell changing a damaged cell by sending it a message—as opposed to attaching to it. (When bone marrow stem cells find injury, they remain at the injury site and act as intelligent healing over-seers, secreting potent cytokines. A Mission Control for skin healing!)
A cytokine will travel to the diseased/damaged cell carrying a very powerful coded message, causing the injured cell to listen up and do what it’s told to do—which means immediately behaving in a healthier way. (In the skin care world, this means our skin starts looking better, as our skin damage starts to heal.)
Science Supported: Growth factors from bone marrow stem cells improve skin health.
Why does skin damage occur in the first place?
So many things diminish with age…the amount of hyaluronic acid naturally present in our skin is one example. Unfortunately, our bodies also produce fewer stem cells as we grow older, resulting in slower and increasingly imperfect skin healing. Gradual, advancing skin damage is the result. (Fun fact…by the time we are about 50 years old, we only have about two percent-TWO PERCENT!!!- of the healing stem cell activity left from the generous plethora that we were born with. No wonder skin healing slows down as we age.)
Here’s the scientific definition of aging: “Progressive accumulation of damage at the cellular and molecular level.” The real-world definition? Our skin looks less vibrant and elastic over time! A lifetime of accumulating little damages (tiny injuries, really) gets etched into our cells. This ultimately re-shapes our faces, producing the hallmark signs of aging we’d all love to halt or reverse: lines, wrinkles, sagging, hyperpigmentation, enlarged pores, redness and so on.
Two of the biggest causes of this damage? Ultraviolet light—mostly from the sun or a tanning bed—and environmental pollution. Other factors include smoking, sustained high stress levels, ongoing lack of sleep, chronically poor diet (such as too much sugar, too much alcohol, too many foods cooked at high heat until they blacken…and not enough fresh vegetables, greens, fruits, roots, squash, fresh herbs…), etc. Surprisingly, skincare products/treatments causing chronic inflammation (some actually do!) are a contributing factor.
How does this damage show up in our skin?
Cumulative damage as described above thins the top layer of the epidermis (called the “stratum corneum”), causing your skin’s defense capability to weaken by compromising what’s called “the microbiome”- your skin’s natural layer of protection. This triggers dehydration and increases vulnerability, leaving skin more sensitive and irritated.
The “dermal/epidermal junction” is the layer just beneath the epidermis. Once the epidermis is damaged this deep layer flattens out, leaving less space for nutrients to pass freely from dermis-to-epidermis. As a result this area becomes more fragile, less resilient, and more susceptible to separation…which eventually results in what we all more commonly understand as sagging skin!
And things get even deeper! Just beneath that dermal/epidermal junction is the layer called the “dermis.” Here collagen and elastin (two crucial proteins in keeping your skin firm and smooth) start to degrade…leading to (eek!) “dermal collapse.” Sounds bad? Yes! Worse still? All of this contributes to melanocytes (melanin producers that give our skin its colour) unevenly distributing melanin to neighboring keranocytes (specialized skin cells), which leads to hyperpigmentation (skin areas that are too dark) or hypopigmentation (skin areas that are too light). Yikes!
What is the remedy?
To reverse this harrowing state of affairs, we must restock our storehouse of anti-inflammatory messenger proteins (growth factors from bone marrow stem cells—but you already know this by now!). What you may not know is that with topically applied growth factors, you must have a physiological balance. This means that the right messaging must be given to your skin cells, that the messaging must be anti-inflammatory, and that it must be delivered to your skin in a way that can be understood and utilized. Tall order—and help has arrived.
Topically Applied Growth Factors must be able to communicate with your skin cells, and must be anti-inflammatory!
Something called the “net pattern” (a framework of information) of stem cells/growth factors determines whether your stem cell product will be inflammatory or anti-inflammatory. The key? A specific portfolio of proteins present in your skincare product. Repeating here…with topically applied growth factors, you must have a physiological balance!
This is key: if a skincare product or ingredient is going to be truly anti-aging, it must be anti-inflammatory at the cellular level.
AntiAGE products utilize stem cell technology at the cellular level to decrease inflammation in order to heal and regenerate healthy cells. Click to get your Serum/
Accelerator System today. Get on your way to healing your skin!
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