Significant Advances in Stem Cell Care

by Cheryl Whitman
Article published by the Society of Plastic Surgical Skin Care Specialists (SPSSCS).

In the fifty plus years since stem cells were first identified and their potential for healing observed, researchers have worked diligently to understand them and harness their power. There have been many successes along the journey so far, such as the transplantation of healthy bone marrow containing adult stem cells into patients suffering from leukemia and bone or blood cancers. There have also been disappointments along the way, such as many early generation topical antiaging creams and treatments. Many of the very early (1st generation) products used apple and plant stem cells. Theoretically, this held promise. In reality there were barriers to success; but at the time, there was little known about the specific type of stem cells in human skin and what was required to turn them on. Plant based stem cells cannot penetrate the human skin due to their large size, and they are not viable after being incorporated into a topically applied cream that languishes in the jar for months before use. The results provided by these 1st generation products were less than stunning. At best, these products encouraged old, existing skin cells to work a little harder, exhausting them even more. Clearly, the use of foreign stem cells was not working, but activating the human body’s own dormant stem cells might. Research into stem cells continued with the focus on identifying what was needed to grow these cells (Growth Factors) and what was required to prod the dormant human stem cells to provide healing and rejuvenation. Research into growth factors focused on conditioned medium growth during the 2nd generation. Conditioned Media is a liquid media in which cells have been grown for a period of time. As they grow, the cells condition the media by secreting proteins, cytokines, and chemicals into it. By studying the conditioned medium, researchers could determine how different substances affected the growing stem cells. This highly potent mixture of secreted elements offered strong regenerative potential. But, 2nd generation products still used a fire-hose approach to activation. Since the specific stem cell type and the specific proteins required to “turn on” the healing function of those stem cells had not yet been identified, 2nd generation products used a soup of proteins which activated everything. Unfortunately, everything included the potential to activate TGF-b, a potent cancer trigger. By the 3rd generation of stem cell skin care products, the composition of the growth factors had been defined. Scientists were narrowing down the types of stem cells that are linked to skin repair. By 2010, the master dermal stem cell had been identified. Snippert,, concluded the “LRG6 Marks the Stem Cells in the Hair Follicle That Generate All Cell Lineages of the Skin.

This was a significant step forward, but there was still substantial effort needed before these products would live up to their potential promise. Third generation products still relied on the “activate everything soup” to prod the stem cells into action. Patients saw minimal benefit from these products despite the marketing hype primarily due to the absence of an activator which would “turn on” the master dermal stem cell to begin the healing process. Without the ability to switch on the LRG6+ stem cells, the best that could be done was to encourage old, tired and damaged skin cells to work harder. What was still missing was the key to turning on production of new skin cells. By now, researchers knew that peptides were
the key that was needed. Peptides are proteins which are found naturally in the human body. They stimulate collagen formation and help prevent collagen destruction. The discovery of Defensins — the peptides that function as the skin defense mechanism—represented the quantum leap forward into the 4th generation of stem cell skin care. Defensins peptides switch-on the body’s own specific master dermal stem cells (the LGR6+ stem cells), causing them to activate the healing and rejuvenation process and create fresh new skin cells. For the first time ever, it is possible to topically apply a stem cell skin care regiment and see amazing results in a very brief period of time. In as little as six weeks, test subjects of a double blind study saw a visible skin aging reduction of an average of 18 years. 3 Deep wrinkles were relaxed, crepey texture disappeared, and texture improved. The great promise of healing and rejuvenation first hypothesized over 50 years ago by Drs. McCullough and Till is finally being realized. Internationally recognized aesthetic business development expert, Cheryl Whitman is founder and CEO of Beautiful Forever. She is a sought-after speaker and industry marketing specialist. With her seasoned team of professionals at Beautiful Forever, Cheryl assists physicians and med spas in identifying and executing new business strategies aimed at improving their bottom line. A celebrated author, Cheryl’s “Aesthetic Medical Success System,” and her second book, “Beautifully Profitable, Forever Profitable” provides solid, practical information on how to create, launch and grow successful aesthetic Medical Practices and related businesses. For more information: or email

1. Snippert Hugo J., et. al., Lgr6 Marks Stem Cells in the Hair Follicle That Generate All Cell Lineages of the Skin. Science 2010. 327:13885-9
2. Lough D., et al., Plast Reconstr Sugr. 2016 Nov; 132(5):1159-71
3. Keller, Gregory S., Use of Defensins in a New Cosmeceutical for Skin Rejuvenation. Defenage White Paper. Pilot Studies. GSK

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