Introstem is one of the most expensive cosmetic brands in the U.S., with some of their most popular products costing around half of the price of gold per ounce. The brand advertises that there are “grape stem cells in every drop” of their products.
But do grape stem cells actually improve skin quality? Do Introstem products have other research-backed ingredients for anti-aging? Does Introstem use any questionable additive ingredients? And how do real users rate and describe the effects of this product line?
In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more, as we review clinical research to give our take on whether or not topical stem cells can actually improve skin.
We’ll also analyze the ingredients in two of the most popular Introstem products (Introstem Syringe and Introstem Eye Cream) based on clinical studies to give our take on whether or not they're likely to be effective.
Finally, we'll share a video on how to apply Introstem, and provide a cost comparison to show which retailer sells this brand for the best price.
Do Stem Cells Improve Skin?
Stem cells are cells in humans and plants that have the ability to repair and regenerate other cells.
Introstem advertises that they use grape stem cells in their products. The brand does not appear to cite any clinical studies suggesting that grape stem cells, when applied topically to human skin, improve skin quality.
We cannot locate any medical research suggesting that grape stem cells (or any other type of stem cells) improve skin or have an anti-aging effect when applied topically.
Thus, we consider the core of Introstem’s product differentiation to be a marketing claim that has questionable scientific backing.
"Dr Dray" has a YouTube video answering user questions about skincare.
The dermatologist discusses whether topically-applied stem cells can improve skin, and we’ve timestamped the video to start at that section:
Introstem Syringe Review
Introstem’s most popular product is their “Syringe” which is used as an anti-aging treatment. Its ingredients are shown above. The syringe is just a product applicator and is not injected into the skin like a medical syringe.
This product costs $1,200 and is only 0.42 ounces. This is a price-per-ounce of $2,857, which is more than the price of gold at the time of updating this article. The price of gold per-ounce is currently $1,995 (source).
There are several research-backed, anti-aging ingredients in this formulation.
Acetyl-hexapeptide 8 was shown to be effective for reducing the appearance of wrinkles in a 2020 clinical trial, as well as for treating a variety of other skin conditions.
Sodium hyaluronate is the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid, which has been shown in clinical studies to have “remarkable anti-wrinkle” effects.
Retinyl palmitate is a form of vitamin A that was found in a clinical trial published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology to reduce the effects of aging on skin.
Cucumber fruit extract is clinically shown to have a hydrating effect on skin, as we documented in our review of another cosmetic brand called Plexaderm.
While Introstem’s Stem Cell Non-Surgical Syringe clearly contains a number of effective ingredients for anti-aging, it also contains two ingredients we recommend avoiding.
Phenoxyethanol is a synthetic preservative found to be toxic to human cells in a 2020 clinical trial.
Ethylhexylglycerin is another preservative that enhances the toxic effect of phenoxyethanol according to a 2016 clinical trial.
Overall, we believe that Introstem’s Syringe is likely to have an anti-aging effect, but we do not currently recommend it due to the inclusion of the two preservative ingredients outlined above.
Introstem Eye Cream Review
Introstem’s second-most popular product is their Eye Cream, called Stem Cell Rejuvenating Eye Cream.
Caffeine is an effective anti-aging ingredient, because research shows that topical application of caffeine can reduce skin damage from UV rays.
Hydrogenated polyisobutene was shown in a medical review published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science to be an effective skin moisturizer.
Retinyl palmitate is an effective anti-aging ingredient, as we documented in the previous ingredient analysis section.
Unfortunately, this cream contains three total preservatives, one more than the previous formulation.
Benzyl alcohol is the preservative that’s unique to Introstem Eye Cream.
Phenoxyethanol is a suboptimal choice for an eye cream, because as we documented in our review of Disco Eye Stick, this preservative has been shown in clinical research to be irritating to the eyes.
Overall, we do consider Introstem Eye Cream to be likely effective for improving skin quality and reducing the visible signs of aging, but we consider it to be an inferior formulation to Introstem Syringe which had many research-backed anti-aging ingredients and only two preservatives.
We do not recommend this product overall due to the inclusion of three synthetic preservatives.
How to Use Introstem
A video on the official Introstem YouTube page includes live product demos and explains how the products are meant to be used in the context of a daily skincare routine.
This may be useful to consumers considering purchasing Introstem products:
Where to Buy Introstem for the Best Price
Introstem cosmetics are sold at a variety of online retailers. Here's a price breakdown for a one-time purchase at the time of updating this article:
Brand website: $1,300 (free shipping, link)
EveryMarket: $113.11 (free shipping, link)
Amazon: $78.99 (free shipping, third-party seller, link)
Rejuvenating Eye Cream
Brand website: $500 (free shipping, link)
Amazon: $35 (free shipping, third-party seller, link)
Introstem is around 90% cheaper on Amazon than the brand's website, but the Amazon listings are from third-party sellers, so it may be safer to purchase directly from the brand's website.
While researching this article, we came across a number of customers online complaining about Introstem products and service.
On Introstem’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) page, several customers have complained that the brand was not forthcoming about their product refund policy:
One customer reported the following:
“I purchased this medical device on vacation, I was told by the sales rep that if the item did not work for me I could get a refund. The item was shipped to my home I received it a few days ago, I did more research on it and found bad press on it therefore I decided I did not want the item. Also there were other reasons I did not want the item. I reached out to the sales agent and told her that I would be returning the item unopened for a full refund. She then informed me that there was some promotion and I could not get my money back”
Another customer reported a similarly frustrating experience:
“I purchased 350 dollars of product, I wasn't sure how they would react with my skin and asked if I could bring them back off I had any troubles and was told I had 2 weeks. I went home and got hives from their product. I went back the next day and was told that they do not do refunds and they showed my receipt which said no refunds even though they verbally told me I could take it back.”
What we find the most concerning about these Introstem complaints is that the brand does not even bother to respond in most cases.
Brands that take customer experience and happiness seriously tend to respond to all public complaints and try to resolve them.
Our Clean Skincare Picks
There are skincare products that contain ingredients shown in clinical trials to be effective for reducing wrinkles and improving skin quality generally.
Annie Mak Vitamin C Serum is our top skin cream pick because of its effective and clean formulation. It contains hyaluronic acid which was described as a "skin-rejuvenating biomedicine" in a medical review due to its ability to reduce wrinkles and signs of facial aging.
Interested consumers can check out Annie Mak Vitamin C Serum at this link to the product page on the official brand's website.
Interested consumers can purchase Hydraglow at the secure checkout below:
The only oral supplement we recommend for skin quality improvement is Bulletproof Collagen Powder.
Oral collagen supplementation was shown in a medical review published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology to improve visible signs of skin aging as well as improve skin elasticity and skin hydration.
Interested consumers can check out Bulletproof Collagen Powder at this link to the product page on the brand's official website.
None of the products recommended in this section contain additive ingredients that we consider questionable from a health perspective.
Pros and Cons of Introstem
Here are the pros and cons of Introstem in our opinion:
- Effective ingredients
- Likely to have an anti-aging effect
- Likely to moisturize skin
- Brand website offers free shipping
- Neither of the products we reviewed contained fragrance
- Incredibly expensive
- Contains synthetic preservatives
- Brand fails to respond to some online customer complaints
- Doesn't appear to be clinically tested
- We can't find evidence that topical application of stem cells improves skin