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March 15, 2022

Using Your Own Cells to Improve Your Skin and Reduce the Signs of Aging

Scientists are discovering new applications for the human cell to fight visible signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines and loss of natural glow.
Woman applying cream to her face in the mirror

Regenerative medicine is transforming the aesthetics space as we know it. Leveraging the power of the human cell, doctors and scientists around the world are currently working to develop treatments for many of the diseases associated with the signs of aging. Wrinkles and fine lines, loss of natural glow and elasticity, dryness, and thinning of the skin - these can all be addressed through regenerative cell-based treatments.

In order to take advantage of these opportunities, cell samples can be extracted and preserved under carefully controlled conditions. Your own younger cells extracted today can be reintroduced into your skin now or in the future to reverse the effects of aging.

‍What are the causes of skin aging?

There are two types of skin aging: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic aging is caused by external factors such as poor diet, sun exposure, stress, smoking, and lack of sleep. Its severity depends on our lifestyle choices. Intrinsic damage is determined largely by genetic factors and is characterized by loss of elasticity. Skin damage, from either kind, starts to become noticeable around the age of 25.

There are a number of habits you can adopt to minimize the severity of the damage: wearing sunscreen, sleeping well, and avoiding smoking. In addition to these sensible habits, science has come up with a more direct approach to restoring and maintaining the youthful appearance of your skin. These are known as cell-based treatments.

‍How cell-based anti-aging treatments work?

It’s likely you have already heard of stem cells: these are cells that have the potential to transform into other cell types as the body requires them for healing and maintenance. There are many different types of stem cells and a variety of them have been used to promote anti-aging for skin.

In a study published in the Journal of Dermatological Science, researchers induced wrinkles in mice using UVB irradiation. After injecting the mice with adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs), they found a reduction in wrinkles, as well as an increment in dermal thickness and collagen contents in the skin. A later study, published in Experimental Dermatology, found similar results. The authors, from Yonsei University in South Korea, concluded that “ADSC therapy may be useful in aging skin. Its effects are mainly mediated by stimulating collagen synthesis in dermal fibroblasts.” This means that ADSCs can induce skin cells to produce more collagen, the protein that supports the epidermis and maintains the look of youthful skin.

Researchers have also worked with stem cells derived from cord blood. In a study published in Biochemistry and Biophysics Reports, 22 subjects (women from 18 to 55 years of age) used a topical treatment of mesenchymal stem cell conditioned media (USC-CM) for four weeks. After the treatment, their skin density increased significantly while wrinkles in the eye area were reduced. They experienced no adverse reactions.

These results are promising, but collecting both adipose-derived stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells is complicated. Requiring invasive procedures with bone marrow or fat tissue, or through collecting umbilical blood or amniotic fluid, their collection presents legal and ethical complications. The answer? Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Here’s where Acorn can help.

‍How to take advantage of these therapies

The 2012 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to researchers John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka for an extraordinary discovery: they found a way to take adult cells and make them behave like stem cells again. Called iPSCs, these stem cells share the transformative potential of adipose-derived stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells, but they can be sourced from adult cells in a non-invasive way. It is as simple as plucking a few hairs.

Using iPSCs, scientists from North Carolina State University have managed to slow down aging in skin cells. They used exosomes (vesicles implicated in cell-to-cell communication) from iPSCs in mice irradiated with UVB light. They found improved skin contour, reduction of wrinkles, and increased density of collagen fibers.

Researchers in Germany have also developed an autologous cell therapy from a type of fibroblast cell found in the hair follicle called non-bulbar dermal sheath cells. They isolated these cells from the follicle, cultured them to provide a sufficient supply, and then reintroduced them into problem areas. Once reintroduced, there was an increase in the expression of genes that drive collagen synthesis leading to wrinkle reduction.

Advancements like these can be an effective tool to reverse skin damage caused by aging. If you are looking to restore your skin’s youthful appearance, the first step is banking your cells as soon as possible, as cell-therapies are most effective with your younger cells of today than those in the future. Collecting and processing your cells is more convenient than ever thanks to our patented, non-invasive cell collection process.

Acorn Biolabs