Are human or plant stem cells in skincare products worth it?

Will human stem cell products add collagen and also help to repair acne scarring as well as deep wrinkles?

We don’t really know because studies in petri dishes in a lab, or in animals don’t always translate into changes in humans. Human studies are small and not well controlled as of now. Most “stem cells” in skincare products are plant based currently. So at this point, there aren’t many human stem cell skincare products on the market. Also, remember these are really extracts, meaning either liquid or powdered pulverized cells, NOT whole living cells. And to answer your question, NO… the stem cell in skincare products – whether human or plant – will not repair acne scarring and deep wrinkles.

What IS clear is that fresh PRP (platelet rich plasma) and PRPFM (better – second generation with an additional fibrin matrix to keep the whole cells alive longer) is more effective at boosting collagen and changing skin for the better than the stem cells plant extracts in skincare products.

What to do now regarding skincare product stem cells

  • Add them if you are already an advanced skin care user, and if money is no object. These are not cheap. This means you are already using in the morning a good quality antioxidant, growth factors (like TNS) or moisturizer over that, and a high zinc sunscreen. At night you’d already be using a moisturizer and a vitamin A cream, maybe alternating that with a glycolic. Add the stem cell product under all of that as a base layer.
  • If you’re on a budget, the other stuff above has lots of proof, so do a regimen like above instead. Stem cell skincare is not a miracle for skin – yet. 🙂
  • In europe and other parts of the world, fresh stem cells from your own blood are already being used more. You can check local resources. Not FDA approved in the U.S. yet for this.

Other thoughts to get more for your money on this front

  • Some centers like ours across the country are starting to use PRPFM or PRP with lasers. If the PRPFM serum is gently applied to the skin after the tiny lasers beams have created channels, there’s some evidence now that it really improves the quality of skin and wrinkles. For example, a Fraxel or CO2 done lightly or with regular settings.
  • If you want to try one of these products, pick the best one you can, and use it for at least 3 months, for a fair trial.
  • You could do a comparison even on your own face. Use your retinol or tretinoin (Vit A cousins) on one side of your face and the stem cell product on the other and see if you see a difference.  You have to make sure though that you’re not irritated with vitamin A product. Find one you can use without irritation.

Hope this helps,   Dr. I


Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

Ask me your skincare question!

Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

  • All our content is written and researched by myself.
  • My medical office in Seattle has treated thousands of patients for 15+ years.
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