"Stem cells are special cells that have the ability to renew themselves. In addition, they give rise to new cells that can become specialized to whatever tissue they belong to. Stem cells are important because they allow the body to renew and repair itself," explains New York dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner.
The newly launched drugstore Eclos skincare brand uses Swiss apple extract in a full line of products that includes everything from a cleanser to moisturizer and clay mask and eye cream.
"The rare Uttwiler Spätlauber apple shows tremendous ability to stimulate skin stem cells, encouraging aging skin to behave like younger skin," states a release from the brand.
Lancôme has also gone Swiss, with their new Définicils Precious Cells Mascara that blends the apple extract with proteins and lipids for a deeply hydrating experience that the brand claims will also stimulate the growth and health of lashes.
Dr. Brandt rides the trend by pairing Swiss apple extract with an oil-free retinol formula in his new Pores No More Anti-Aging Mattifying Lotion. The cream promises to delay the signs of aging by maintaining the life and activity of active skin stem cells.
Lather's Swiss Apple Wrinkle Remedy harnesses a high 5% percentage of the star ingredient as an anti-wrinkle fighter, along with phospholipids to hydrate and niacinamide to reduce hyperpigmentation by inhibiting the darkening of skin.
So many stem cells, so little time to try them all. But before we fork over the cash, we want to know: can the futuristic claims really deliver?
Los Angeles dermatologist Dr. Ava Shamban says it's possible.
Dr. Zeichner cautiously agrees.
"Initial studies and clinical pictures of subjects using creams containing Swiss Apple Stem Cells show a lot of promise. However, we need more clinical trials evaluating their use before we can say for sure if it really works," says Dr. Zeichner.
But like the cancer scare surrounding the latest vitamin A-fortified sunscreens, experimenting with new technology like apple stem cells can ride the fine line of playing with fire too.
"The risk is that they may inadvertently stimulate a clone of pre-cancerous cells -- creating a skin cancer," says Dr. Shamban.
While no link has been currently found between apple stem cells and an increased risk of cancer, considerations like Dr. Shamban's are necessary for further scientific testing, as potential risks have not been entirely ruled out either.
If you have a personal or family history of skin cancer or partake in high-risk activities like hitting the tanning booth (we'll bite our tongue on the lecture,) you may want to hold off on jumping on the stem cell bandwagon until further tests have been done to determine complete safety.
As for us, we're dipping in -- because there's nothing quite like a drink from the fountain of youth.