With all the buzz around stem cells and anti-aging cosmetics, the miraculous claims can leave a consumer’s head swimming. But never fear, Dr. Calapai is here to separate fact from fiction, allowing us to make educated decisions when product shopping. Dr. Christopher Calapai, D.O. is an Osteopathic Physician, board certified in family medicine and anti-aging medicine. Proclaimed as the “The Stem Cell Guru” by the New York Daily News, Dr. Calapai is a leader in the field of stem cell therapy in the U.S.
What are Stem Cells?
Stem cells are living cells that are undifferentiated. They’re a bit like the earliest cells that start every embryo just after the sperm and egg cells fuse. They contain all the DNA information to make an entire human being (or plant or other animal, depending on the species). When embryos start to grow, most of their cells differentiate into things like skin cells, brain cells, heart cells, and all the other different organs in your body. While the cells in your skin have all the DNA material of the cells in your liver, the DNA code is expressed differently to create the different organs.
If a stem cell could reverse aging, why wouldn’t you do it?
Dr. Calapai explains that, “Despite the fact that stem cell research is in its infancy, many cosmetics companies claim they are successfully using plant-based or human-derived stem cells in their anti-aging products. These claims run the gamut, from reducing wrinkles to repairing elastin to regenerating cells, so the temptation for consumers to try these products is intense.”
Why don’t stem cells in topical skincare work?
Dr. Calapai explains that, “The truth is, that stem cells in skincare products do not work as claimed; they simply cannot deliver the promised results. In fact, they likely have no effect at all because stem cells must be alive to function as stem cells, and by the time these delicate cells are added to skincare products, they are long since dead and, therefore, useless.
Do cosmetics brands ever use actual human stem cells?
While there are a number of brands on the market touting the use of human stem cells, read the fine print. No cosmetic brand is currently using whole human stem cells. Instead, they are using human stem cell extracts. That one additional word is key, indicating that the formulations are based on growth factors.
Why isn’t human skin like a plant?
There are also claims that because a plant’s stem cells allow a plant to repair itself or to survive in harsh climates, these benefits can be passed on to human skin. Dr. Calapai points out that, “How a plant functions in nature is completely unrelated to how human skin functions, and these claims are completely without substantiation. It doesn’t matter how well the plant survives in the desert, no matter how you slather such products on your skin, you still won’t survive long without ample water, shade, clothing, and other skin-protective elements.”
What about the buzz word “Peptides?”
Another twist on the stem cell issue is cosmetics company claims that they have taken components (such as peptides) out of the plant stem cells and made them stable, so they will work as stem cells would, influencing the adult stem cells naturally present in skin. In terms of these modified ingredients working like stem cells, “this theory doesn’t make any sense because stem cells must be complete and intact to function normally. Using peptides or other ingredients to influence adult stem cells in skin is something that’s being explored, but to date, scientists are still trying to determine how that would work and how it could be done safely,” says Dr. Calapai. For now, companies claiming they’ve isolated substances or extracts from stem cells and made them stable are most likely not telling the whole story. Currently, there’s no published, peer-reviewed research showing these stem cell extracts can affect stem cells in human skin.
The Future of Anti-Aging Stem Cells According to Dr. Calapai
Stem cells are a promising technology for the future. And they may even be a great anti-aging treatment when the science catches up with the application. You will know when it is a real anti-aging treatment when the following things are true.
1. The stem cells are from humans (preferably yourself)
2.The stem cells are alive
3.The product is somehow delivered to your dermis (probably an injection)
4. The product is applied by a doctor
Dr. Christopher Calapai D.O.
Anti-Aging Physician and “The Stem Cell Guru”
Dr. Christopher Calapai, D.O. is an Osteopathic Physician board certified in family medicine, and anti-aging medicine. Proclaimed as the “The Stem Cell Guru” by the New York Daily News, Dr. Calapai is a leader in the field of stem cell therapy in the U.S.
His stem cell treatments have achieved remarkable results in clinical trials on patients with conditions as varied as Alzheimer’s, arthritis, erectile dysfunction, frailty syndrome, heart, kidney and liver failure, lupus, MS and Parkinson’s.