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Stem cells, beauty treatments and cosmetic procedures: Doctors debunk trends

Beware of stem cell cosmetic treatments. Doctors claim ads have false advertising.
Beware of stem cell cosmetic treatments. Doctors claim ads have false advertising.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Stem cells and the current beauty treatments and cosmetic procedures, which utilize this supposed “anti-aging” miracle is under fire according to a new article in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, The Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons that surfaced on Tuesday. Bee venom, the “Vampire Facials,” organic skincare and gold are also on the chopping block as "ineffective," controversial and expensive anti-aging treatments.

Dr. Michael Longaker, co-author of the review on the current beauty trend, says while “stem cells offer tremendous potential, the marketplace is saturated with unsubstantiated and sometimes fraudulent claims that could place patients at risk,” as reported by CBS News. Doctors advise to air on the side of caution with beauty ads that offer remarkable results from “minimally invasive, stem cell-based rejuvenation procedures," which combine platelets and filler for breast augmentation, vaginal and penile “rejuvenation” and the “Vampire Facials and Facelifts.” According to the experts only one cosmetic procedure using stem cells to reduce fine lines (laViv) has been approved by the FDA, which has been “monitored extensively.”

The problem says the review, is that many of the beauty and cosmetic procedures are being falsely advertised as stem cell treatments, while others do not have enough research to back up the anti-aging claims. Additionally, Yahoo Beauty organized four more beauty trends, all which have been written about in this column, that experts have noted are a waste of money and do not produce the results the treatments profess.

Gold, seen rampant in many beauty products at the International Esthetics, Cosmetics and Spa Conference, is touted for its “anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and acne fighting properties.” Not only are these beauty products expensive, but they could also irritate the skin according to a report out of The New York Times in 2010. Kim Kardashian made the “Vampire Facial,” not to be confused with the “Vampire Facelift,” famous, yet its results are controversial reported CBS News.

Yahoo turned to Texas celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau who said bee venom is “gimmicky” and to be skeptical of organic skincare, especially when the brand has “conducted its own in-house studies.” This is great advice, however, it should be noted Rouleau too has her own beauty line claiming it creates “beautiful skin.”

The moral of the story is always caveat emptor. Yes, buyer beware, for if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The best route to healthy skin is avoidance of the sun, intense hydration, an abundance of water, and good nutrition. Seek the guidance of your dermatologist to rule out health issues, and visit a licensed esthetician to wok together on a beauty regimen that fits your concerns.

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