Today’s “it” products are eco-conscious and age-defying.

It has been raining skincare innovation in the last few years. The category of active skincare cosmetics like BB cream has made our bases gentler to our skin and we are taking nutritional supplements for the skin like never before.

But the hottest topic right now just might be plant stem cells – premature cells that, if allowed to develop, can mimic other cells and repair tissue damage. To find out what stem cell technology is doing for skincare, we turned to Dr Alain Mavon, skin research director for Oriflame.

For us non-scientists – what are stem cell extracts in products?
– In skincare, we use plant stem cells. We process plants generated with stem cell technology whose extracts can boost the skin.

Are human stem cells used in skincare?
– No. The use of human stem cells is very restrictive. There is a great deal of research in this field, but mainly in medicine.

Why is stem cell technology a skincare breakthrough?
– The goal is sustainable production of active ingredients. Exotic flowers are often used in skincare products, which impacts the environment. Now we can use stem cell extracts to cultivate new plants in the lab instead. And the technology produces plants with more concentrated extracts, so we need fewer of them.

How do flower extracts beautify the skin?
– Products with the extracts contain plant peptides (amino acid molecules) that can penetrate the skin and reproduce in collagen form. This stimulates collagen growth and repairs the skin, which becomes smoother.

We talk a lot about collagen – a protein formed in the dermis, the second layer of the skin, which makes our skin smooth and pliable. Collagen fibres weave together into a large ‘mat’ that supports the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin.

Some say creams that ‘penetrate the skin’ are not a good idea. Are they right?
– You cannot fight skin problems unless the ingredients sink into the layers of the skin – it is down deep that the active ingredients are effective. However, only a tiny amount of product actually penetrates the skin.

How long before I see the effects of skincare?
– Give it three months. And remember, no cream will stop you from ageing. You are boosting collagen and protecting your skin to keep it looking better for longer than it would have done without any skincare.

What is the ideal skincare regime?
– Use a day cream with SPF and a night cream. Invest in products you like because you are going to use them every day.

Last but not least: skincare has to be consistent to be effective. You will still celebrate your birthdays, but you will blow out your candles with healthier skin than if you ignore your products. Let the moisturising begin!

Words by: Photographs by: Getty images