The ingredient, PhytoCellTec Alp Rose, is based on stem cells from the alpine rose, Rhododendron Ferrugineum. According to Mibelle, the plant’s ability to resist the harsh alpine climate, with its metres of snow in winter and hot, dry summers, is what attracted the company’s attention.
In addition to significant concentrations of polyphenols, the plant also has high levels of the protein dehydrin, company marketing and sales manager Beata Hurst explained.
The dehydrin acts like a sponge to absorb and retain water around the cell membrane and proteins, helping the plant acclimatize to freezing conditions, she said.
PhytoCellTec to harvest stem cells
Rhododendron Ferrugineum’s resistance to climatic changes led the company to investigate it as a potential candidate for its PhytoCellTec technology, which allows the harvesting of plant stem cells and their associated epigenetic factors.
To harvest the stem cells, the company first induces a wound in the plant which causes the surrounding cells to dedifferentiate (turn back into stem cells) and form a wound healing tissue called a callus.
Once the wound has healed these cells can differentiate again and build new tissue; in other words they are totipotent. These callus cells are harvested by Mibelle and can be cultivated on a large scale using a bio reactor system.
The cell walls of these plant stem cells are then disrupted by homogenization to release their contents, which are then encapsulated into a liposome and sprayed onto an isomalt-based powder.
According to Mibelle, the Alp Rose stem cell extract has been shown in vitro to increase the colony forming efficiency of skin stem cells, suggesting that it can help maintain their function.
Mibelle also exposed some of the skin stem cells to UV light finding that this significantly reduced their ability to form colonies. However, when treated with the Alp Rose extract the colony forming ability of UV-exposed skin stem cells was still above that of the untreated, unexposed control.
Protects against transepidermal water loss
In keeping with the alpine image of the product, the company also performed an in vivo study on 22 volunteers on a ski holiday.
A half face study was performed where volunteers applied an SPF 30 product three times daily to one side of the face and the same SPF 30 with the Alp Rose extract added at 0.4 per cent.
After three weeks of application, the middle week of which was spent on the slopes, the transepidermal water loss was significantly higher on the side of the face that had received only the SPF 30; the transepidermal water loss of the facial skin that had received the SPF30 product fortified with the extract was 42 per cent lower.