Recently, aggressive advertisement claimed a “magic role” for plant stem cells in human skin rejuvenation. This review aims to shed light on the scientific background suggesting feasibility of using plant cells as a basis of anti-age cosmetics. When meristem cell cultures obtained from medicinal plants are exposed to appropriate elicitors/stressors (ultraviolet, ultrasound ultraviolet (UV), ultrasonic waves, microbial/insect metabolites, heavy metals, organic toxins, nutrient deprivation, etc.), a protective/adaptive response initiates the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites. Highly bioavailable and biocompatible to human cells, low-molecular weight plant secondary metabolites share structural/functional similarities with human non-protein regulatory hormones, neurotransmitters, pigments, polyamines, amino-/fatty acids. Their redox-regulated biosynthesis triggers in turn plant cell antioxidant and detoxification molecular mechanisms resembling human cell pathways. Easily isolated in relatively large quantities from contaminant-free cell cultures, plant metabolites target skin ageing mechanisms, above all redox imbalance. Perfect modulators of cutaneous oxidative state via direct/indirect antioxidant action, free radical scavenging, UV protection, and transition-metal chelation, they are ideal candidates to restore photochemical/redox/immune/metabolic barriers, gradually deteriorating in the ageing skin. The industrial production of plant meristem cell metabolites is toxicologically and ecologically sustainable for fully “biological” anti-age cosmetics.
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