Through its “LUMINESCE” range of products Jeunesse Global claims to “restore youthful vitality and radiance to the skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles”. Apt, then, that the slogan for the range is “Generation Young”.
There are really only a few ways to reduce the appearance of facial lines and wrinkles, some cheaper and more dangerous than others. A couple of the riskier methods include freezing the facial muscles with powerful poison (Botox), or by filling in creases with whatever synthetic filler is available to the product manufacturers. So what trick does Jeunesse Global have up its sleeve with the LUMINESCE range?
Claiming to help “generate new, vital skin cells”, if Jeunesse Global’s “patent-pending Stem Cell Innovation” sounds too good to be true, it most certainly is.
Aiming to add credibility to its declarations, the use of the term “patent-pending” in the description of the range is a ploy to distract from the absurdity of its claims. By cleverly submitting patent applications that are unlikely to be granted, more than likely they will in fact be rejected, Jeunesse Global can claim that its innovation is valid enough to be protected by patents.
Patent applications don’t come cheap, but money is of no object to Jeunesse Global. It is with unsubstantiated claims such as those borne on the LUMINESCE range of personal care products that Jeunesse Global has earned millions of dollars with.
Jeunesse Global has gained a lot of attention due to claims of being “the world leader in stem cell technology”. Yet, it is doubtful that just any“silky serum” off the shelf can restore the appearance of youth, much less actually increase cell longevity.
“It is a good example of how people can use science-y-ness to try and sell a product,” said Dr. Ben Goldacre, who wrote about moisturizers in his book “Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks and Big Pharma Flacks.” “It is used decoratively as marketing in a way that is meaningless.”
And while it is controversial, the very subject of stem cell research is something that Jeunesse Global still flaunts as a strength. An area of science often surrounded in controversy, human stem cell research is frequently in the news due to stories about how stem cells can treat an array of diseases. Despite the riskiness of the topic, Jeunesse Global still boldly claims to use stem cells to help slow the affects of aging.
But not surprisingly, Jeunesse Global is unable to provide any real connection to stem cell science or most of what they quote on their website. Jeunesse Global’s “age defying” products, much like all of its products, simply lack scientific credibility.
“Companies rarely publish studies showing their products are effective”, said dermatologist Dr. Vesna Petronic-Rosic of the University of Chicago Medical Center, “Though they generally look into the potential for skin irritation”. Well, at least one can be hopeful of that when buying a Jeunesse “magic potion”.
Part of the Jeunesse “Youth Enhancement System” or the cheerleader-y “Y.E.S”, which declares the use of “DNA repair and antioxidant ingredients to improve cell performance and longevity”, the LUMINESCE cellular rejuvenation serum claims to enable customers to look “younger, healthier and more radiant”.
Drawing on the work of Dr. Nathan Newman to substantiate its claims, Jeunesse Global’s website refers to Dr. Newman as “a world-renowned dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon” who in “knowing that stem cells drive cell growth and regeneration, isolated the stem cell growth factors that serve as the “language” communicating cellular activity”.
Jeunesse Global goes on to say; “Dr. Newman derived his growth factors from the stem cells of healthy adults, theorizing that cell communication in the same “language” would be more effective”. It states that because of Dr. Newman’s “remarkable” results they’ve used his “200+ growth factor complex” in the LUMINESCE product range.
It is pertinent that while it isn’t mentioned anywhere on its website, Jeunesse Global social media channels cite Dr. Newman as ‘the creator of Luminescence tm cellular rejuvenation serum.
On his own website, Dr Newman describes himself as an “innovator of the Stem Cell Lift® for cosmetic, joints, surgical correction, & lichen sclerosus. Cutting Edge Cosmetic Surgery, Without Cutting”. While his collaboration with Jeunesse Global is, again, not mentioned anywhere, he is happy to sell the LUMINESCE range of products through his site alongside his “my own stem cell lift”.
While the companies are unable to clarify who works for whom, and who owns the “unique formula” of the LUMINESCE range, it is important to understand the science behind stem cells to have the full picture of why what Jeunesse Global and Dr. Newman claim are in fact so wrong,
“Stem cell” is the name given to one of the master cells in the human body, which has the ability to grow into any one of the body’s more than 200 cell types. They retain the ability to divide throughout life and give rise to cells that can become highly specialized, or take the place of cells that die. Stem cells contribute to the body’s ability to renew and repair its tissues.
In short, stem cells are helping to revolutionize medical intervention for many diseases such as bone cancer, leukaemia and arthritis. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), in particular, play a key part in the body’s response to injury. In order to trigger healing, Mesenchymal stem cells need to communicate with other cells, and it is this communication that requires signalling chemicals called “cytokines”.
The inclusion of “Adipose Derived Adult Stem Cell Conditioned Media” as the first active ingredient in the LUMINESCE cellular rejuvenation serum refers to the stem cells grown in the Jeunesse Global laboratory, which secrete cytokines that communicate with one another. The problem with this ingredient is that not all stem cell types produce the same pattern of cytokines, and in contrast to the claims made by Jeunesse Global (and Dr. Newman), their inclusion is not proven to effectively correct or prevent daily aging damage caused by UV rays, chemicals and other environmental factors.
The truth is that as a collective, the science world is only just beginning to understand the possibilities and limitations of human stem cell biology, and new cytokines are continuing to be discovered. Whether they will be able to prove the claims made by Jeunesse Global remains to be seen.
In the meantime, Jeunesse will continue to sell its “unique” formula that contains “the highest possible percentage of growth factor complex”, simply because it can. Without tighter regulation in the cosmetic and beauty market, companies like Jeunesse Global are able to pedal snake oil with no proven grounding in science.
Never quite managing to keep its story straight, this time it is the turn of the LUMINESCE cellular rejuvenation serum product’s FAQ to uncover the truth. When asking, “what are some of the most significant benefits from using LUMINESCE cellular rejuvenation serum?”, Jeunesse Global replies saying that with daily use the stated benefits of its “patent-pending” invention are “possible” to achieve.
“The visible results of applying LUMINESCE cellular rejuvenation serum daily include the possible diminishing of the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, increased luminosity of the skin, and restored youthful smoothness to the skin”.
In the megabucks world of Jeunesse Global anything is indeed “possible”, but the use of the term in this context is as ambiguous as saying a pig “might” fly if you buy it a ticket to the farm. In this case, this is as good as close as we’re going to get to Jeunesse Global admitting that its product won’t work for everyone, ergo, it might not work for anyone.