PhytoCellTec™ Argan

PhytoCellTec ™ Argan is based on stem cells from Argania Spinosa, one of the oldest tree species on Earth.

PhytoCellTec ™ Argan improves the vitality and activity from stem cells of dermis in the skin. The active ingredient is based on stem cells from Argania Spinosa, one of the oldest tree species on our planet. The Argan Tree is endemic in south-western Morocco and has been growing there for 80 million years. It has adapted perfectly to the dry and hot conditions of the region. Unfortunately, due to extensive agricultural use, the tree population has shrunk to an area of 8000 km2. To protect the remaining Argan forests, they were declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1998.

PhytoCellTec™ Argan
Stem cells in the skin- Dermal stem cells
The middle skin layer, the dermis, gives the skin elasticity and stability. These important tasks can only be undertaken by vibrant and healthy skin. That’s why permanent new skin cells are formed to replace old, damaged cells.Adult stem cells are responsible for this regenerative process, and are anchored in a special microenvironment (niche). The adult dermal stem cells were only identified in 2009 in the dermal papilla of the hair follicle. These stem cells can differentiate into different cell types of the dermis, e.g. In fibroblasts, which play an important role in the construction and repair of the extracellular matrix. These connective tissue-forming cells produce collagen and elastin, which provide for the elasticity and tear resistance of the skin.

As age increases, however, the regeneration process slows down. This is due, among other things, to the decreasing number of adult dermal stem cells but also to their diminished activity.

Therefore, it is important to protect the dermal stem cells and maintain their vitality.

Plant stem cells protect skin stem cells
The activity of stem cells is regulated, among other things, by epigenetic factors. Such specific compounds are also found in plant stem cells. In-vitro tests show that an extract from plant stem cells positively influences the vitality of skin stem cells.

Improved vitality of dermal stem cells
In order to evaluate the efficacy of PhytoCellTec ™ Argan on dermal stem cells, a stable dermal stem cell line was established as a first step. Characteristic for dermal stem cells is the formation of spherical cell colonies as well as the expression of the stem cell marker Sox2, which is essential for the maintenance of pluripotency of stem cells. These two characteristic features show only active and vital dermal stem cells.

In an in-vitro test, dermal stem cells were cultured over an extended period of time and their ability to form Sox2 was observed. The results show that "aged" dermal stem cells treated with the Argan stem cell extract form more Sox2 than the untreated culture (Figure 1). In another in-vitro test, their ability to form spherical colonies after prolonged cultivation time was investigated. Thanks to the Argan stem cell extract, dermal stem cells can maintain this ability better and form more colonies than untreated control groups (Figure 2). These in-vitro tests show that the stem cell extract of the Argan tree helps to increase the longevity of the dermal stem cells and maintain their activity.

Improved extracellular matrix structure and reduced wrinkle depth

The ultrasound structure of the dermis can be visualized. In ultrasound images the intact dermis appears colored, but changes in its regular architecture appear as black spots. Light-induced skin ageing leads to such a modified structure of the extracellular matrix, which is recognizable in the ultrasound images as so-called SLEB (subepidermal low ecogenic band) (Figure 3). This SLEB is significantly reduced after a 4-week treatment period with PhytoCellTec ™ Argan thanks to a significant improvement in dermal skin density.

The anti-wrinkle effect of PhytoCellTec ™ Argan has been demonstrated in a 56-day study: A cream with 0.4% PhytoCellTec ™ Argan applied to the crow's crease of 20 subjects reduces the wrinkle depth by a remarkable 26%.

Ultrasound was also used to examine the dermal tissue structure on the thighs of subjects. The resulting ultrasound images (Figure 4) show a very irregular dermis-hypodermis transition, caused by fat cells that extend into the dermis. A typical picture for cellulite. The 56-day treatment with PhytoCellTec ™ Argan results in a tightening of the dermal tissue and a clear separation line to the hypodermis.

PhytoCellTec ™ Argan is the first cosmetic agent that protects the dermal stem cells and maintains their activity and thus can delay the ageing of the skin. As a result, the skin remains young for a long time and looks more radiant and vibrant.

Figure 1
The Argan stem cell extract enhances the formation of the stem cell marker Sox2 (intense green signal). Only vital stem cells can form this marker.

Figure 2
PhytoCellTec ™ Argan improves the efficiency of dermal stem cells to form spherical colonies.

Figure 3
PhytoCellTec ™ Argan improves dermal tissue structure and reduces SLEBs.

Figure 4
The treatment of thighs with PhytoCellTec ™ Argan improves skin tone.