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I am 38 years old with thin skin that is very oily in the t-zone and drier everywhere else. I have some fine lines and soft wrinkles. My fair skin is also prone to redness and blotchiness. I was asked to review the Lifeline Stem Cell Skin Care Recovery Night Moisture Serum ($190 in the shop).
The directions state to dispense and apply two pumps to the face every evening, but I found one pump to be enough for my entire face. The serum has no discernible scent (or added fragrance) and the texture of a light lotion, which absorbs very quickly.
My face felt comforted and hydrated immediately after application, and there was a feeling of moisture being locked into my skin. Most of the time that I tested it, the weather was very hot and humid and I found the serum to be moisturizing enough on its own for my combination skin. Now that the weather has turned cooler and less humid, I find that I need more moisture than what the serum alone provides.
Lifeline states that the non-embryonic human stem cell extracts in their products can improve skin firmness, elasticity, thickness, skin tone and brightness. Fine lines and wrinkles are also supposed to diminish over time. They state that peak improvement is typically seen after six to eight weeks (or two complete cellular cycles) of continuous use.
After 30 days of use, my skin is firmer and feels more toned. It feels thicker and less delicate. I have also seen a reduction in redness. However, I haven’t noticed a brightening effect. There has been some lift and thus lessening of the horizontal lines on my face, but I haven’t noticed any significant difference to the vertical lines on my face yet. As four weeks is a pretty short time frame, I will be curious to see if there is more improvement in my lines and wrinkles with continued use over the next couple of months.
Overall, though, there is a general more youthful look to my face and my skin feels more resilient. I plan on continuing to use the serum until the tube is empty and am leaning toward purchasing once I am finished. My only hesitation is the price point.
The use of stem cell extracts (plant and human) in skin care has become increasingly popular over the last several years for the purpose of stimulating collagen and elastin production. Despite their popularity, there is a notable dearth of evidence as to their efficacy. I am not a scientist or skin care expert, but based on the research that I’ve done for this review, it seems that there isn’t a sufficient evidentiary basis that shows that plant stem cell extracts can stimulate collagen and elastin formation (though they may provide antioxidant benefits).
However, there does seem to be a scientifically plausible basis that human stem cells may be effective. And it is worth noting that Lifeline really seems to stand by their products. They share some limited information on their website of a study that they conducted, which showed that their human stem cell extract accelerated the ability of wounded skin to repair and rejuvenate itself.
There are several companies offering products with human stem cell extracts, but the source of the extracts vary. Lifeline sources their stem cell extracts from unfertilized human oocytes (eggs). Presumably, pre-embryonic stem cells have the same advantages that embryonic stem cells do when compared to adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cells have the ability to become any type of cell in the body (aka they are pluripotent), whereas adult stem cells are thought to be limited in their transformation based on their tissue of origin, according to the National Institute of Health.
Another point of differentiation made by Lifeline is its delivery mechanism for the human stem cell extracts. Human protein molecules are large and fragile and unable to be absorbed into the skin without some help. Lifeline uses nanotechnology to microencapsulate the proteins extracted from the stem cells, which allows the human stem cell extract to “reach the middle layer of the skin where collagen and elastin are created.” Lifeline also uses an oily two-layer sphere to keep the stem cell proteins stable until they are absorbed into the skin.
The Lifeline Night Moisture Serum lists peptides from human stem cells fifth on its list of ingredients, behind water and three different types of emollients. The rest of the formula includes several antioxidants, humectants, more emollients and a few other active ingredients.
Retinyl palmitate is an exfoliant that helps increase the cellular turnover rate. Tremella fuciformis sporocarp (mushroom) extract provides hydration and can potentially lighten spots, as well as heal the epidermal layer of the skin. I am not sure what to make of folic acid. Some studies show positive benefits, however one found some negative effects.
NADH and NADPH are two enzymes that are important to the production of cellular energy and the synthesis of lipids (responsible for cell growth). The levels of both enzymes decrease as we age. Nicotinamide, also known as niacinamide, serves as a precursor of NADH and NADPH and its topical application has been shown to help combat the decline of NADH and NADPH. Niacinamide has been shown to improve elasticity and decrease fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, red blotchiness and skin sallowness. It has also been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect helping decrease both acne and rosacea.
There are several preservatives, including two that may raise concern for some. There’s the oft-debated phenoxyethanol and chlorphenesin.