You may have read it in the news or seen it on television – a well-known celebrity has undergone a certain ‘age defying’ procedure that makes them look a lot younger than they are. Procedures such as Botox injections and dermal fillers are now offered to almost anyone who wishes to look younger and have better looking skin.
The aesthetic industry has advanced tremendously in the last 10 years. While what you see or read in the news is just the tip of the iceberg, there is in fact a lot of research that goes into developing these technologies. One such aspect of the aesthetic industry is stem cells.
But what are these stem cells? Stem cells are the basic cells that are present within the body that undergo maturation and ageing to form a variety of other cells. These cells can be blood cells, fat cells, kidney cells and any other cells that are present in different organs and tissues. They are responsible for keeping the organs healthy but with natural ageing, the number of stem cells reduces and their effect on different organ systems and tissues starts to decrease.
Stem cell research forms a large part of current scientific research that looks at different aspects of the human body and health. Dr. Norma Kassardjian, an expert in stem cell research, recently stated in an interview that nearly $1 billion are being spent every year on developing new research techniques and coming up with new treatments in almost every area of stem cell research. In fact you may be surprised to know that the aesthetic industry forms a major part of this area of research. At the IAPAM, we are dedicated to educating our members about these new treatments by offering education and training to physicians in different aspects of stem cell treatments and aesthetic medicine.
But has stem cell research really change the way the aesthetic industry functions? Has all the money that has been spent on it been totally worth it?
The simple answer to that question is yes. Without research, we would not know that stem cells can be grown from human fat tissue and can be stored in stem cell banks for future therapy. The aesthetic industry widely uses human fat tissue as dermal fillers, helping get rid of scars and any obvious visible abnormalities of the skin. Procedures such as liposuction mean that large amounts of fat tissue can actually be harvested and stem cells can be grown from them.
Another fact regarding stem cells that have been discovered through research is that these cells generate large amounts of growth factors and cytokines. These factors normally decrease in quantity as we get older. By using stem cells, these growth factors can be replenished and can help the skin look a lot healthier.
There is no doubt that stem cell research holds the key to a number of different future treatment modalities and the aesthetic industry is yet to see even more significant advances than we currently have to date.
Botox is a trademark of Allergan, Inc.