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Five Best stem cell serums

November 21, 2012 Reviewed by Marta 34 Comments

READ these updates to this post: Five Best With Plant Stem Cells and Five Best Serums With Growth Factors 2012

Stem cells have to be the anti-aging beauty ingredient of the year. Specifically known as epidermal growth factors, they are in my experience as good as it gets. Without doubt, EPGs seem to be at the leading edge of what anti-aging skincare currently has to offer. Serums with EPGs vary as to whether they focus on a single growth factor, or complex combinations. They may also be derived from humans or plants. There’s more background on what they are and how they work in my earlier post (you’ll probably be surprised by how close human and plant cells are). In the meantime, here’s my Five Best. As I said, these are about as good as it gets.

Bioeffect EGF Serum ($110 for 5ml and $210 for 15ml). I have been using this every day  for the past three months or so and it seems to suit by skin perfectly. A clear serum, based on only nine ingredients, it has an “oily” feel (although there is no oil in it) and Junko reported that it made her breakout in her oily T-zone). Not me, I use it all over and I think the results are fantastic. All my Five Best stem cell serums give great results on wrinkles, but this one also does the best job for me in overall skin condition – plump, hydrated, healthy. The EGF comes from barley and Bioeffect is manufactured in Iceland. Read the full review.

ReLuma Skin Illuminating Anti-aging Serum ($135 for 20ml and $199 for 30ml in the TIA shop). ReLuma takes a while to kick in - at least three weeks in my experience (although some TIA users have seen results more quickly). It is very good for fine lines and even deep wrinkles. Reluma formulation is based on a blend of three stem cell technologies derived from adult humans and conditioned media. Another deceptively simple formula that, in my experience,works.  Read the full review.

Hydropeptide Hydrostem+6 ($160 for 1oz). Both Emily and I anointed this one a potential Five Best when we reviewed it and now here it is amongst the best stem cell serums. Results are very good, particularly on fine lines. There are six plant stem cells here, three of which use the meristem (which researchers think is the part that matters).  There’s a lot going on in this formula, including some good peptides and some silicone and preservatives that some won’t like (along with a less than pleasant smell). Read Emily’s review.

E’shee Cellular Repair Serum ($179 for 0.34 oz in the TIA shop). This is based on a single growth factor, FGF-1, patented by Professor Chiu of Ohio State University. Although this is an expensive product, I have bought with my own hard-earned. It is best to target this where needed to get the most bang for your buck. As well as wrinkles, this serum is also helpful with broken capillaries (whether this is due to the horse chestnut or the FGF-1, I can’t say). There’s also a fungi extract with moisture retaining properties, plus hyaluronic acid, and mulberry is supposed to have skin lightening effects. (Read my full review)

Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair ($65 for 1.7 fl oz). fruit stem cells are not mere tokens; the feature near the top of an ingredients list that is packed full of useful ingredients, many of which are organic. Naturally, the base is Juice Beauty’s signature blend apple, grape, lemon and aloe juices and this comfortable and soothing moisturizer has plenty of shea butter and jojoba. Aging skin will appreciate the essential fatty acids from evening primrose, linseed (flax) and borage. The combination of flax and borage got a thumbs up from German researchers, who found that it smoothed out rough, red skin. I definitely saw an improvement in skin tone. (Read my full review)

Finally, although not a Five Best, I should mention Regeniskin ($39.95 for 1.7oz). This was a Julie Kay find and I was intrigued to test it out. I’ve been using it for three weeks and have found results using it on my hands similar to Julie’s. Skin looks a little plumper and smoother. However, this cream is very light and I definitely need to pair it with a moisturizer. This is not a heavy hitter (and it does have a couple of parabens), but it certainly stands out as value for money. Read Julie’s review.

Ingredients in Bioeffect: Glycerine, sodium hyaluronate, tromethamine, alcohol (less than 0.9%), calcium chloride, sodium chloride, hordeum vulgare seed, EGF (transgenic barley SH-oligopeptide-1)

Ingredients in ReLuma: Human Adipose Derived Stem Cell Conditioned Media, Water, Glycerin, Sodium PCA, DL-Panthenol, Hydroxy Ethyl Cellulose, Allantoin, Phenoxyethanol.

Ingredients in Hydropeptide: Water, Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Trimethylpentanediol/Adipic Acid Copolymer, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Sodium Hyaluronate, Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Panthenol, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Silica, Palmitoyl Dipeptide-5 Diaminobutyroyl Hydroxythreonine, Palmitoyl Dipepitde-5 Diaminohydroxybutyrate, Niacinamide, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Cell Extract, Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola) Cell Culture, Echinacea Angustifolia Meristem Cell Culture, Gardenia Jasminoids Meristem Cell Culture, Leotopodium Alpinum (Edelweiss) Meristem Cell Culture, Malus Domestica (Swiss Apple) Fruit Cell Culture, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Tocopherol Acetate, Allantoin, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Menthyl Lactate, Lecithin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride,Polyacrylamide, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Laureth-7, Isomalt, Sodium Benzoate, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethiconol, Xanthan Gum, Fragrance, Phenoxyethanol, Methylisothiazolinone

Ingredients in E’shee: Aqua, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Distillate, Propylene Glycol, 1.3 Butylene Glycol, Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) Seed Extract, Glycerin, Morus Alba (Mulberry) Extract, Tinocare GL, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sodium Lactate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Triethanolamine, D-Panthenol, Lactic acid, Carbomer, Allantoin, Phenoxyethanol, FGF 1 (Recombinant Human acidic Fibroblast Growth Factor).

Ingredients In Juice Beauty: Organic Juices of Pyrus Malus Juice (Apple*), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) (Grape*), Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) (Lemon*), Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) Leaf Juice (*), Glycerin, Octyl Palmitate, Capric/Caprylic Triglycerides, Glyceryl Stearate, Stearic Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol, Malus Sylvestris Buds (Apple), Vitis Vinifera Buds (Grape), Citrus Limonum (Lemon) Bark (Lemon), Organic Plant Oils of Helianthus Annuus Seed (Sunflower), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) (Shea Butter*), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed (Jojoba*), Organic Essential Fatty Acids of Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose), Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed, Borage (Borago Officinalis) Seed (Borage*), Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C) (Vitamin C), Xanthan Gum , Panthenol (Vitamin B5), Allantoin (Comfrey Root), Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E) (Vitamin E), Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Ethylhexyl Glycerin, Citrus Reticulata (Mandarin Orange) (Mandarin), Litsea Cubeb (Litsea Cubeba) (May Chang), Cinnamomum Camphora (Camphor) (Pure Essential Oils)(Ho wood) * = organic

Ingredients in Regeniskin: Deionized water, bioferm complex (jopboa, saponaria yucca, rosemary, chamolime, comfrey, arnica, juniper, horsetail, protein growth factor, glyceryl monostearate, stearic acid, octyl salicylte, aloe vera, almond oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, methylparaben, propylparaben, sweet orange oil.

  • November 16, 2018

    by Helen Myron

    I found plant stem cell in a moisturizer to be unbelievable for me. I use the Somaluxe Stem Cell Moisturizer and it actually lessens the wrinkles.

    General reduction in wrinkles and notable reduction in depth of smile folds. After I’d been the Somaluxe Stem Cell Moisturizer daily for about three weeks my husband volunteered i’d been looking younger. While he didn’t analyze the depth or number of my wrinkles that was the only thing he could have been perceiving. He’d been away for most of that time so he more or less saw a “before” and “after”. Told my sister about Somaluxe and she’s had the same experience...

  • April 24, 2016

    by Parevash

    Hi I am looking for best serum for face to using after derma rooling

  • March 2, 2015

    by Neal Gray

    Hi Marta,
    Hoping you'll do another update soon. We'd love to introduce you to our stem cell skin care products that are a favorite among top dermatologists. #stemcellbeauty

  • June 27, 2013

    by Marta

    Hi Diane,
    This post has been updated with several new ones:

    Personally, I find that the best combination for lip lines is AQ Serum and Your Best Face Define

  • June 27, 2013

    by Diane

    Which product do you recommend for the difficult to treat lines above the lips?

  • April 11, 2012

    by nadiahoney

    I would love to test out the Reluma, for my aging skin -- this sounds fun! I have felt different ways re the EGF serums out there....I am undecided and might need to go over all the ingredients again, as well as the research, but I see no harm in trying one of these out. Already done the TNS and well....I say not worth the price. But let's have me try one of these and see what becomes of this raggedy skin?

  • November 28, 2011

    by John Sanderson, MD

    When you create a new blog, Google gives you $75 in free ads to let the world know about your site. I learned about it here (this site runs Google and other ads). Since at that point we had only one post (on EGF), this was the “ad”:

    EGF: The Bare Faced Truth
    Pure EGF on your face? - read
    the true science. Caveat emptor.

    Does this sound like we (Dr. George and I) are buying ads “against Bioeffect?” Or is it because we actually care about the science, and want people to know about it?

    The review is about EGF science, good and bad. We don’t even take a strong position on the transgenic (DNA splicing) part, but do give readers 10 key links they can click to read the opinions of thousands of more qualified scientists in that field. We didn’t even mention the compelling evidence based on other growth factors until a reader brought it up.

    Did we put our money/time where our mouth is? Yes, to date $1.13 (of Google’s $75 credit) has been spent on this campaign. You can accuse of deep pockets, but it would seem that “stingy” would be a more fitting epithet to toss our way. Impressive checkbook? No. Really just a lot of volunteered labor. Of course, you might say it doesn’t matter because we have deep pockets (well, at least another $73.87 free credits, which is our total budget).

    Here is the irony: sells products, and ads, and makes money at this. sells no products or ads, and makes no money.

    Really though, the ad hominem attacks are unbecoming, especially under the circumstances, and do nothing to further the debate.

    But we are also very glad that you have decided to Google up some science. Welcome to the quest. We suggest you also visit Pubmed ( for legitimate peer reviewed science. Start with a query on “growth factor side effects”. There are no fewer than 69,000 references to journal articles on that topic alone. A treasure trove.

    Zeal = “passionate ardor in the pursuit of anything; ardent and active interest; engagedness”. Yes, I agree. We are zealots. For the truth. We ardently wish to invite others to join the cause.

  • November 28, 2011

    by Susan Robinson

    I guess I forgot to say in my above post that of course I would be more than happy to write a review of ReLuma after trying this serum. I hope I will have the opportunity to do so. I guess I was just too excited at the possibility!

    Thank you,

  • November 28, 2011

    by Marta

    I was doing some research into EGFs over the weekend and found that when I do a Google search on Bioeffect or Bioeffect + EGF that John Sanderson's website is buying ads against them. John, your zeal and checkbook are quite impressive.

  • November 27, 2011

    by John Sanderson, M.D.

    Please do not shoot the messenger.

    My opinion in the EGF controversy was really quite mild. I pointed out some key facts from published scientific literature, in a "heads up" fashion. I explained how it works. I even said that I am a fan of "balanced" products containing EGF, but have concerns about a single growth factor product.

    As I have said before, Bioeffect's product has nothing to do with stem cells, whatsoever. It is grown in transgenic (DNA transfected) barley. Some people care about that. Including the people of Iceland who are currently clamoring to ban genetically modified foods.

    My "competing product" (if / when we decide to release one) would be nothing like Bioeffect's EGF, but is based on the same core science as ReLuma, about which I have had only positive comments. Which sort of deflates the ad hominem that suggests I am biased by greed, not by my science training. I also consult for Johnson and Johnson, but it has not prevented me from discussing the FDA’s black box warning (the scariest kind) on their growth factor product, Ragranax, which is on the market as a wound healing accelerator (which it does quite well). A complete science review would bring in that data as well. It has specific relevance. To ignore it would do a disservice to the truth.

    I would be happy to recruit other medical scientists, much smarter than me, to offer their opinions. Dr. Cohen is in his 90’s, but maybe I can get him to do a guest appearance.

  • November 27, 2011

    by spo

    I too have been concerned and confused, like denise - so I am very glad that you are going to weigh in on this Marta.

    I definitely trust your judgement in these matters because my skin has never looked better since I've been following your site & your evaluations of products... :-)

  • November 27, 2011

    by Marta

    Hi Denise, I will come back to this soon. I have been doing a lot of reading following the comments regarding EGF safety and have not yet found substantial evidence that concerns me about the use of EGFs in this context. I am happily using Bioeffect every day and will continue to do so. I also am mindful that the person raised the issues is manufacturing a rival product. I shall be back with my research findings in a post shortly.

  • November 27, 2011

    by denise brown

    Anymore info regarding the safety of using this product? That John Sanderson scared me with his comments! I had purchased this serum "before" noticing his comments. I had used this product for about four days and I really liked it, but now I am wondering if I should discontinue. I did other searches and there are many positive comments regarding the product and there seems to be science backing with a Nobel prize mentioned. There seems to be conflicting thoughts amongst these scientific gurus on each side.... kinda like the theory of evolution...I welcome any further info as I want to keep my hair...(smile)

  • November 24, 2011

    by Karla

    This has been a very difficult year for me both physically and emotionally, as well as, monetarily. My best friend compared it to "one of those really bad Lifetime movies that are too strange to be believable/true." As such, my face of 55 years has also suffered, particularly in the proliferation of vertical lip lines and forehead wrinkles and of course around the eyes, yet more lines, dark circles and puffiness. The opportunity to try and to review the Reluma Skin Illuminating Anti-aging serum would be greatly appreciated. On an other note, this past year has been an intense reminder to me to remember to always be thankful and to give thanks, and to not take things nor Life for granted. Many thanks to Marta and TIA, and Happy Thanksgiving! PS. After reading Marta's glowing review, I would also love to test and review the BioEffect EGF Serum, or anything else that may help.

  • November 24, 2011

    by Steffie

    I would love to test the Reluma. I just got a promotion that means being in front of a room full of teachers as a trainer - on a regular basis AND my son is getting married in May. I would love to upgrade my look "for the public" - but mostly for myself.

  • November 23, 2011

    by Lori

    Hi , I am relatively new to your forum and have been pleasantly surprised following my initial order for the Reluma eye cream. Have been using am and pm for about 1 month with noticeable results; decreased puffiness and decrease in dark circles. At 51 I generally am told I look like I am late 30's, good genes as I mostly ignored skin care till my 40's. I'd love to try the Reluma serum specifically on my. 2 deep forehead wrinkles.

  • November 23, 2011

    by janie

    First, I want you to know how much I have been enjoying your site. I do not recall how I stumbled across it, but remember when I did I felt as if I had discovered a mini "gold mine"!

    I have studied quite a bit and was truly fascinated by what I was reading. I spent quite a lot of time here that evening and still do regularly. I really like your style Marta.

    As for stem cells, yes, I do believe there are some products that do work and work well. The only one I have tried was in an oxygen base creme. Unfortunately, my cash disappeared before any results appeared LOL.

    I would very much like to try something you have used and recommend, so please add me to your list of "wannabes".

    I sincerely hope you, your staff, and all the members have a lovely Thanksgiving.

    Warm Smiles,

  • November 23, 2011

    by Carolyn Count

    Hi, this is the first time I am responding to one of your invitations. What got me was the addition of reducing pore size! I'm 55, have always looked young for my age- until recently. I'm prone to blackheads, stretched pores, sebum, sebum, darn sebum. I've been exfoliating more, and that does help. I would love to try the Reluma Illuminating Anti-Aging Serum, especially around my mouth,( which I've just recently been told has lines around it! ) and on my nose and cheeks (to hopefully shrink pores).
    Thanks so much for the work you do- Happy Thanksgiving and congrats on citizenship!
    Carolyn C
    P.S. How long does it take for this comment to post?

  • November 23, 2011

    by Lisa D

    I've already purchased a Reluma serum of my own, but will definitely let you know what I think after I work my way through the bottle. If you're looking for a tester for the BioEffect serum, though, count me in!

  • November 23, 2011

    by Cristina gilmore

    Yes, Include me in your trial for Reluma. For me the key word is "Illuminating" ! I have always had that beautiful olive skin without flaws and never needed makeup.. So now I am 63... still looking much younger than my age but the effects of aging escapes no one.. Yes, there is sagging, fine lines, and blotchiness.. yuch! I have been using Strivectin for a year now and it ~has~ done some nice things for the texture of my skin but the fading of spots is slllooooww and I haven't seen any benefit on the blotchiness.
    Nothing is more youthful than a bright, clear, smooth complexion. I want that again!
    I do so appreciate all the information this forum provides. One can get very confused wading through the myriad of potions and creams out there, not to mention the enormous amount of money one spends trying to find just the right one. I say, let me find ~my ~ magic potion the first time and I wouldn't mind paying for it knowing that it would give me the results I desired.
    Cristina G
    ps... I am in the process of testing the new eye treatment you sent me! This testing is totally fun! thanks

  • November 23, 2011

    by Susan Robinson

    As one who just turned 56 and who has not taken care of her skin at all past a few attempts as regular cleansing and toning, I would love to try ReLuma Skin Illuminating Anti-aging Serum and to review it for the site. I am a newcomer to the site as well as skin care!
    I am so excited to begin the quest of caring for my skin (finally!!!) and hopeful to see if something can be done about all the wrinkles (crows feet, marionette lines, and lip lines that resemble smokers lines-I call them 'straw mouth' from years of using a straw and frown lines between my brows as well as 'sagging' grin lines). Sounds fairly ominous!
    I think even as important would be to prevent further damage.
    So, I would enjoy trying ReLuma and would thank you for the opportunity!

  • November 23, 2011

    by Kelly Owens

    I have tried a number of stem cell serums with absolutely zero success, even one from a skincare company whose products I really know, trust, and love. I would truly appreciate the opportunity to try and review the ReLuma serum, as it has no ingredients I avoid (silicones, primarily, the BANE of my existence), and I would love to find a stem-cell technology with real results on my soon-to-be 48-year-old skin. Thanks for the consideration, Marta!

  • November 23, 2011

    by shane s

    Who couldn't use a little more illumination (tis the season of lights, after all!) Wrinkles be gone.........I would love to try this product and see what it does for my aging skin!

  • November 23, 2011

    by tracy

    I actually tried this product, I think, a few years ago, and it didn't seem to do that much for me. BUT, now that I'm in my 40s, with more aging skin issues, I'd like to give it another try.

  • November 23, 2011

    by Dottie

    I would love to try the Reluma. I would like to see a visible change in my skin like so many of your reviewers have seen!

  • November 23, 2011

    by Heather

    I would LOVE to try this product! I have been reading about stem cells and am excited about their anti-aging properties, but have not tried anything yet. There's a lot of confusing information out there so I would rather try something recommended by this site. This product sounds very promising and I have heard many positive things about this brand in general. I am looking for something that will make a big improvement without having to resort to Botox or other procedures so I hope this product offers more hope than hype.:)

  • November 23, 2011

    by Becky

    i volunteer happily to test and review the ReLuma Skin Illuminating Anti-Aging Serum!

  • November 22, 2011

    by Miles

    This is outrageously wrong !
    Stem cells don't produce EGF, stem cells are dormant cells (inactive) and have no function or activities let alone produce EGF. Stem cell serums are scam used purely for marketing purposes and have no scientific merit. EGF is produced by fibroblast cell, that is well documented and established, found in Products like TNS, skinmeida, Biogel, AQ skin solutions, Revive by Dr. brown.
    The funny thing is, all these serums are found on TIA shop.. ?? I guess your top five is bias ... Marta: i miss your old honest reviews.. I miss the old Marta.

  • November 22, 2011

    by John Sanderson, M.D.

    Miles: Sorry mate, just not so.

    EGF is one of hundreds of cytokines that mesenchymal stem cells use to communicate with one another, especially so when they are growing actively in culture, or in your body when mobilized to respond to injurie. In fact, fibroblasts are usually more listeners than talkers in cell-to-cell conversations in your body when it comes to growth factors. I'll provide published references if you need.

    P.S.For a layperson, Marta is pretty darn good on science. She misses on occasion, but is open minded and willing to consult experts. From what I have observed, she is 100% on honesty and integrity. Hey, she is entitled to her opinion. P.S.S. I don’t assume you are dishonest just because you got it wrong.

  • November 22, 2011

    by Marta

    Hi Miles, Yes these serums can be found in the shop because when we review things and like them we try to get them for the shop. If its in the shop it means we have tested and recommended it.

  • November 22, 2011

    by Marta

    I am not using them on my neck either - but a mix of exfoliation (Lumixyl Glycopeel or Juice Beauty' s Green Apple Peel) and Senzen Infinity is having a great impact on my neck.

  • November 21, 2011

    by John Sanderson, M.D.

    Hi Marta,

    Perfect time to step back in and offer (to those so inclined) a deep dive into the science of stem cells cytokines, growth factors, and EGF in particular.

    As promised, we set up a new blog so as not to overwhelm TIA readers. Our first controversy is about Bioeffect EGF, so right in line with this review. Come visit us as at

    Let us know what you think.

    Thanks, John

  • November 21, 2011

    by Junko

    What an exciting list Marta! I've tried 4 of the 5 and they are each slightly different, but wonderful! Due to cost I haven't used them on my neck, but I'm hopeful that Julie will report success with Regeniskin on her neck. ReLuma is another one that I have to add moisturizer over ~ Where are you at Julie Kay??!!

  • November 21, 2011

    by JustD

    I always look forward to these and enjoy the FAB 5 reviews! Thanks for another great update Marta.

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