Vernix lotion and placental stem cells: Finding products in nature

(Stem Cells News image)

Guess what? The goobery white stuff (vernix) that coats newborns at birth is good for the skin.
Researchers discovered that leaving the white cheese on, rather than wiping it off, leaves the skin of babies healthier. Yes, you read that right: don’t scrub the newborn the minute she exits the womb—she’s not “dirty.”

Give me a moment. People actually went to college, got PhD’s, (probably post-docs and what-else) to “discover” that this smegma that covers a baby while it floats around in amniotic fluid for nine months is actually GOOD for the skin.
Oh, the wonders of the modern mind. What next, breast milk is the best human food?

Now, enter the business side. Skin Sciences Institute is figuring out exactly what the gunk is and how to patent a synthetic version. They claim this lotion can be used to speed healing and cure chronic skin conditions like eczema. This “stuff” is a mixture of fat and protein—the specifics top secret
They’ll need to produce a formula in the lab, since harvesting vernix from newborns might be awkward.

“It’s a boy!”
“Can I hold him?”
“Just a second.” Pats woman on the head. “The Soft Baby technician needs to scrape off the vernix to put into this pre-scented bottle.”

Cut to: Old woman dotting white lotion under her eyes.

Delivery room: “For your trouble, the Soft Baby company would like to offer you this coupon worth 10% off your next purchase.”
Not so weird, really. Go down to Sally’s Beauty Supply and you’ll find some placenta to rub into your hair. Now that makes a fine product, since no one really cares about placentas.


What do cats eat when they deliver their kittens? Placenta delivery scenes are absent from the Discovery Channel’s “Birth Stories.” We (women) push them out, and then where do they go?
Don’t think about it too long, or you’ll have to write a horror film.

Actually, when the embryo is developing, one of the first steps involves burrowing into the cells of the uterine lining. A placenta separates from the embryo to become a temporary organ, complete with hormone regulation and protein synthesis. So, the placenta is not part of a woman; it belongs to the baby.

It turns out that placentas have multi-potent stem cells (just like embryos). According to CNN, “AnthroGen’s chief medical officer, Dr. Robert Hariri, placental stem cells successfully matured into nerve cells, blood vessels, muscular cells, cartilage and bone cells.” Wouldn’t that be a happy alternative, since no one likes the idea of cloned humans created and destroyed just for research?

It is interesting how long the domain of pregnancy and delivery (and nursing) has been taboo. Birth occurs every day, yet remains mysterious. Do we really have to wait for someone to go to school for more than twenty years to “discover” that nature has solved most of her own problems?
But then, we do live in a society that dumps its garbage into the same rivers, lakes, and oceans where it gathers its food.
When I was in the Solomon Islands as a Peace Corps volunteer, the women said, “Only animals crap in the same water they drink from.”

from Examiner

2 thoughts on “Vernix lotion and placental stem cells: Finding products in nature”

  1. Nice article, mostly becasue it’s in my field. Just curious. A friend of mine was in the Peace Corps in Solomon Islands Vanuatu around 1985-1990. Any overlap?

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