At one time apples were considered the forbidden fruit, but now they are relished as a healthful source of polyphenols and rich antioxidants. Research has shown apples to help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer and heart disease, control cholesterol, maintain healthy weight, and deliver antioxidant compounds to the body. If apples are this good for the body, what can they do for the skin?
Apple (Malus Domestica) in skin care is both a time-tested ingredient as well as cutting edge, because of the advancements being made with the fruit. It has long been used as a protector from oxidative stress, for skin lightening, and as a peeling agent, in the form of malic acid (L), for its exfoliation, skin smoothing, and cellular renewal properties.
Since apple, or malic acid, is slightly gentler, it allows the aesthetician to control the level of peeling – mild to mid-depth – depending on layers and preparations used. It works by digesting surface cells to soften skin then infuses it with antioxidants and hydration, leaving the skin firmed and toned.
Benefits at the core
More recent advancements have turned researchers on to apple stem cells. Having used the malus extract to enhance skin care formulas for more than 20 years, I saw the potential in apple stems cells, and began watching the development unfold and incorporating the ingredient into various formulas.
In contrast to human stem cells, plant stems cells are totipotent, which means every cell has the ability to regenerate, be it a leaf, flower, stem, or the entire plant. When a plant suffers a wound, the surrounding cells will revert back to stem cells to form callus cells. Following the healing phase, cells return to their original state and begin building new tissue. This is where the technology behind apple stems cells lies – plant cells replicate their protective and healing ability to promote longevity in human cells.
This process is particularly beneficial to human cells as the body ages and cell proliferation slows. Human stem cells are continually making identical copies of themselves, and separating to form specialized cells, but growth slows significantly and longevity is reduced with age. The stem cells are rich in epigenetic factors and metabolites, which further promote the perpetuation and vitality of skin cells.
An apple a day
It is also important to note that epidermal stem cells die after a certain number of divisions, and the process of self-renewal is a slow one. This is significant because stem cell loss is more destructive to skin tissues than loss of differentiated cells, and is a major contributor to tissue aging. In studies, apple stem cells significantly reduced the visible signs of aging, shrinking wrinkle depth.
The ingredient has now found its way into other personal care products like body lotions and hair care. Researchers recently discovered that the ingredient not only protects from UV damage, but has also shown promise in hair care. Similar to the skin, it targets the cell to delay hair follicle aging, preventing hair loss and graying.
As research continues, uses for apple will continue to proliferate, just as the cells that make up this amazing fruit. Keep a close eye on this cutting-edge ingredient as new discoveries into its abilities and benefits continue to be revealed.