The Truth about Plant Stem Cells

13th July 2016


The phrase "stem cell" is used frequently in skincare today, but there is still a lot of confusion and controversy surrounding those two little words. The term is mostly used with reference to plant stem cells – cells found in the meristem (chiefly at the growing tips roots and shoots) which can be rich in anti-oxidant compounds.

Plant stem cells are uniquely adaptable. Having the power to differentiate into any specialized plant cell, they are key to a plant's ability to renew, repair and grow.

Plant stem cells used in our products are cultivated and harvested under laboratory conditions to ensure maximum potency. Their activity depends on the external environmental stimuli that the plant is exposed to, so under normal growing conditions the concentration of active compounds varies greatly. Specific plants are selected because of their unique properties. For example, the stem cells from plants that live and grow in adverse conditions, such as a very low moisture environment, are able to differentiate into highly specialized cells that ensure the plant is resilient and can thrive.



Edelweiss grows spontaneously in mountainous regions, where it's exposed to high levels of ultra violet light that many other plants just can't take. Stem cells from the cultivated plant contain specialized compounds to help prevent damage. In vitro tests on human fibroblasts have shown these anti-oxidant compounds help block collagen breakdown within those cells.



Sweet Iris thrives in limestone soils that are typically well drained and often low in moisture. In vitro tests on human fibroblasts have shown that extracts from Sweet Iris stem cells can boost cell proliferation, stimulate glycosaminoglycan and matrix proteoglycans, and increase elastin expression. These compounds all play an important role in skin strength, firmness and moisture content.


Gardenia is an evergreen shrub that grows widely in the tropics, and thrives in high levels of humidity and bright sunlight. Compounds extracted from Gardenia stem cells have been shown, in vitro on human fibroblasts, to upregulate the synthesis of collagen while slowing the production of the enzyme MMP-1, which is known to facilitate the breakdown of collagen within the skin.

The resilience of these plants and the nature of the compounds they produce lend themselves naturally to use within skincare formulations. They are ideal for skin exposed to the constant bombardment of external stressors that modern life presents.




The Pro-Definition range harnesses the properties of these precious extracts to deliver visible results*.

Pro-Definition Eye & Lip Contour Cream contains Edelweiss stem cells. In consumer trials by ELEMIS, over 71% of users said their skin was visibly plumper, that the formula was effective at filling out lines, and that their complexion looked more youthful.


Pro-Definition Day Cream, with the power of Sweet Iris stem cells, moisturizes the skin, leaving it feeling lifted and toned. The appearance of skin texture is also improved.

Pro-Definition Night Creamcontaining Gardenia stem cells, leaves the skin feeling nourished and firmed, with improved texture.

Try the Pro-Definition range for yourself and see visible results* in reducing the signs of aging. The skin’s appearance is more youthful as if strengthened from within. Expect lifting, firming and improved texture.



*in consumer panel testing


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