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Stem Cells—A Widening Horizon

By: Aran Puri
Posted: October 5, 2009, from the October 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 5 of 6

In the past few years, a large number of cosmetics based on the stem cell concept have made it to market. The main claim is to simulate and protect the epidermal stem cells from oxidative and UV stress.

Skin care brand Amatokyn launched in 2007 with great publicity and hype for its raw materials developed in Russia, and ReVive launched Peau Magnifique—with a price tag of $1,500 and claims that its actives convert resting adult stem cells to the state of newly created cells to provide a firmer, more defined appearance.

Christian Dior was one of the first well-known prestige brands to embrace the concept of stem cells when it launched Capture R60\80 with the claim that it promotes the self-renewal capacity of skin and includes ingredients that protect the adult stem cells. And L’Oréal’s Lancôme brand launched Absolute Precious Cells in September 2009, claiming that it “helps restore the potential of stem cells and bring back the skin of youth.” (At the time that this feature was written, it was reported that the launch would be accompanied by interesting supporting research data.)

Apart from Lancôme, no other major multinational cosmetic companies have, so far, launched products with stem cell claims—though there are, in addition to those mentioned above, a host of smaller brands offering products with benefit claims based on stem cells.

The relative lack of activity from the major brands does not mean, however, that they are not interested in the concept and the marketing benefits of launching such a product, but they are keeping their powder dry for the right moment. It is much more likely that their decisions will depend on when the critical mass is reached in terms of an R&D breakthrough, the regulatory climate and marketing timing.