Patient education needs to improve on the use of stem cells in the aesthetics industry, to ensure an understanding of relevant science on the topic, according to a study in Aesthetic Surgery Journal.
Researchers conducted a content analysis of 100 webpages identified using a Google search with the following terms: “(stem cell) AND (anti-aging or cosmetics)” and “(stem cell anti-aging product)”.
Researchers also analyzed one website in depth to explore how language used on the stem cell website portrays the product and the science, and appeals to the reader.
Seventy-eight websites were mostly marketing products, typically in lotion or serum form.
Five websites stated that customers can store their own stem cells in biobanks for future use.
Stem cell research specific to anti-aging properties was found in five websites, and four websites included a general discussion of the role of stem cells in aging and anti-aging technologies.
Sixty-nine webpages portrayed the technology as ready for public use and 17 webpages portrayed technology as well-established, according to researchers.
Only 45 of the 100 webpages described how the product or treatment functions, and only 28
of the webpages indicated any risks and limitations .
A total of 26 webpages made no attempt to substantiate their claims.
In the in-depth analysis, researchers determined that personal pronouns like “we,” “our,” and “your,” are frequently used.
These pronouns declare the author and readers as having shared feelings, belief and knowledge, the researchers noted.
“The frequent use of plant stem cells in products demonstrates that even concepts that are theoretically impossible, that is, plant cells interacting with human cells, provide the illusion of credible science,” said the researchers. – by Abigail Sutton
Disclosure: The researchers reported no relevant financial disclosures.