Unproven Stem-Cell Cosmetic Treatments Can Grow Bones In Your Eyes

New cosmetic creams and therapies that make use of stem cells carry bizarre, gruesome risks.

A woman in Los Angeles went to her doctor with pain and clicking in her eyelid, following a cosmetic procedure a few months earlier. The doctor, Scientific American reports, surgically removed pieces of bone that were growing in the flesh around her eye.

The cosmetic surgery she had had extracted adult stem cells from her belly fat, isolated them, and injected them around her eyes, along with calcium hydroxylapatite as a filler. In the presence of the mineral, the stem cells — which have the ability to develop into many sorts of cells — turned into bone.

The FDA has not approved any cosmetic product or treatment involving stem cells, but they are growing in popularity regardless, both in clinics in the U.S. and around the world. The potential of stem cells is thrilling, but they are poorly understood and unpredictable. Expect more stories about bizarre somatic effects in the near future.

Scientific American