Lifeline Stem Cell Skincare Daily Defense Complex

Our Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by Marta on August 29, 2016


Human stem cells have got to be the biggest breakthrough in topical anti-aging skin care. Since the technology is so cutting edge, it stands to reason that really serious stem cell brands are few and far between. This is why I was very excited to come across Lifeline Stem Cell Skincare and to test its Daily Defense Complex ($160 in the shop).

Before I report on my experience with Daily Defense Complex, I want to give some context on the company and its approach to stem cells. Lifeline is a subsidiary of International Stem Cell Corporation (ISCO), a publicly traded biotech company with a stem cell technology that uses unfertilized eggs and is ultimately intended for curing certain diseases. The same technology is being used in the Lifeline skin care line and the company goes out of its way to make some key points and claims: These are not embryonic stem cells, but from unfertilized eggs; these stem cells have signaling proteins and amino acids; they are more powerful than adult stem cells; they are much better than the “human conditioned media” used by some other stem cell brands.

Lifeline also uses liposomes, or nanospheres, that stabilize the stem cells and act as a delivery system. Typically, nanospheres are physiologically similar to cell membranes and on contact merge with them and release their payload of active ingredients into the cells. Not only is this a targeted delivery system, but the release takes place over an extended period of time.

I have been extremely pleased with my experience with Lifeline Daily Defense Complex. My skin is looking very smooth and glowing, and there is a definite impact on wrinkles, especially my forehead lines. The lightweight cream is easily absorbed, not at all greasy and I find that I do not need an additional moisturizer — even on my neck, which tends to be drier and where I’m happily noticing a significant reduction in red, crepey skin. This is one stem cell serum worth finding.

There is, however, more to Daily Defense than stem cells. I’ll deal with the good stuff first. Although Lifeline does mention somewhere on its site that plant stem cells can’t communicate with human stem cells, it has thrown in Phytocell, an ingredient based on argan stem cells, that is supposed to protect and vitalize human dermal stem cells. The formula also has a handful of heavy hitters including collagen amino acids, niacinamide (an antioxidant vitamin B), glucosamine HCI (an anti-inflammatory that may also help with elasticity), yeast and algae extracts, moisture-attracting phospholipids and vitamin C.

Especially interesting for me is micrococcus lysate, a marine microbe that is known to be incredibly resistant to UV light. I always love coming across new ingredients (new to me) and here there is something called Celligent, a complex of antioxidants and DNA protectors. The components are antioxidant ethyl ferulate, rosemary, and disodium uridine phosphate, which supports DNA repair.

In my opinion, the good far outweighs the bad in this serum. I should point out some of the nasties, though. There is retinyl palmitate, which reacts with UV light and has been linked to cancer. Perhaps the effects are offset by the aforementioned marine microbe’s UV protective properties. But, honestly, I don’t know why anyone formulates with RP anymore. For instant gratification, there’s Lipolight, a light diffuser that helps minimize the appearance of wrinkles. A confection of nylop and polymers, it is not for natural ingredient lovers, but EWG rates Lipolight low hazard. The preservatives are the controversial sodium benzoate  and phenoxyethanol.

In conclusion, I’m looking forward to continued use — and skin improvement — now that my test is over. In other words, I will be incorporating Lifeline into my normal regimen. This is the ultimate litmus test. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in stem cells and what they can do for their skin.