Beauty product uses plant stem cells or cells from the plant stems? Not sure it matters.

Friend of Doubtful News crew, Brian George spotted this product in a local store:

From the eclos web site:

Researchers have found that Plant Stem Cells extracted from a rare Swiss apple, (Uttwiler Spätlauber), show tremendous ability to stimulate skin stem cells, encouraging aging skin to behave like younger skin.

First, what are stem cells? See here.

Second, they use the term “high potency” which makes little sense here. But it sounds a lot like “pluripotent” which does make sense in terms of stem cells, but NOT in this context.

Third, my immediate reaction to this (call me skeptical, I know) was that they were using the word “stem” in a sneaky way. Did they mean a plant stem? Or a stem cell from a plant? So I asked via their website:

Can you provide any general information on how the stem cells are extracted from the apple plant? How do they go into the products?

I did not receive an answer.

But here is a decent story from someone also skeptical of these HUGE claims mostly used as marketing ploys and OFTEN completely unsupported.

I tried, I really did, to find some reputable scientific publications that either proved or alluded to the positive effects of plant stem cells on human skin. I found one possibility, published in the Journal SOFW, which claims that stem cells from the Uttwiler Spautlauber apple (the same breed used in many of the products linked to above) caused an increase in human cell proliferation by 80%. I believe this is the same paper (based on images, etc) that is obliquely referenced by several companies listed above. There are many problems with this article. First, the authors seem to be from a company that promotes and sells various cosmetic products that use the cells under review. Second, I can’t find any indication that SOFW is a reputable peer-reviewed scientific journal[...]. Lastly, the paper makes claims that these apple stem cells protect and preserve human cells by avoiding senescence (death) and promoting replication. Even if they could do these things, rapid replication and avoidance of cell death reads like a recipe for cancer. Not exactly something we want from our skincare products.

So, Eclos may be using plant stem cells, but is their product doing anything special or good? Be skeptical. I see a lot of fancy marketing using sciencey sounding words and imagery.

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