2014.10.18 fountain of youth

The pursuit of beauty and the relentless quest to look younger is nothing new and has probably been around since the first human looked into a pool of water and realized that the disfigured beastly thing staring back was themselves. A couple of hundred thousand years and many medical technology breakthroughs later, we are spending massive amounts of money, time and pain on that quest to look younger and more beautiful. And last week a Japanese cosmetic company made an announcement that seemed to suggest they found the fountain of youth when they took 30 years off a 67-year-old man’s skin using a breakthrough technology.

To turn the clock back for this man’s skin, cosmetics maker Kose was using the relatively new method of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell technology. These cells are grown from adult stem cells and can potentially grow into many kinds of body tissue, making them extremely attractive for many in the medical industry hoping to regrow body parts using a patient’s own DNA. Although most in the medical community have focused on how the technology can be used to save lives and treat diseases or disability with no cure today, the ability to regenerate body tissue would be huge for the cosmetics industry.

▼ iPS cells created from adult skin

2014.10.18 ips cells 3Image: Facebook (Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA), Kyoto University)

Although iPS cells were only discovered about eight years ago, Kose had been collecting skin samples from a man since 1980 to study how skin ages. They then begin working with researchers at Kyoto University to make iPS cells using the man’s skin samples they had collected over the years. With the iPS cells, the chromosomes in the man’s 67-year-old skin became almost identical to the skin samples he took when he was 36.

While still at the most basic levels of research, Kose said it hopes to be able to further study this technology and eventually develop a line of tailor-made skin-rejuvenating cosmetic products. The company said it will reveal more details of its potential fountain of youth next week in Paris at the annual gathering of the International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists.

Although many cynical Japanese netizens wondered what Kose was doing since 1980 to make this recent breakthrough, most on the Internet couldn’t wait for the opportunity to buy a product that could make their skin look younger. But many said that if the company really wants to be able to convince the public that its product works, they are going to have to show some before-and-after photos.

Since this is just the earliest stages of a skin cell-regenerating product from Kose, we are just going to have to wait and continue to use our conventional methods to keep our skin looking young and fresh!

Feature Image: Wikipedia
Source: Jin 115, Kose