In a new study, researchers show that a common, inexpensive and safe chemical could slow the aging of human skin.
The team found evidence that the chemical–an antioxidant called methylene blue–could slow or reverse signs of skin aging in human skin cells and simulated skin tissue.
In the study, the team tested methylene blue for four weeks in skin cells from healthy middle-aged donors, as well as those diagnosed with progeria–a rare genetic disease that mimics the normal aging at a faster rate.
In addition to methylene blue, they also tested three other known antioxidants.
In several experiments, methylene blue outperformed the other three antioxidants, improving aging symptoms in cells from both healthy donors and progeria patients.
Next, the team tested methylene blue in skin cells from older donors (>80 years old) again for a period of four weeks.
At the end of the treatment, they found that the cells from older donors were improved with slower aging.
The researchers then used simulated human skin to perform several more experiments and found similar results.
The researchers also used the model skin to test the safety of cosmetic creams with methylene blue added.
They found model skin treated with methylene blue retained more water and increased in thickness–both of which are features typical of younger skin.
It also suggests that methylene blue causes little to no irritation, even at high concentrations.
The work suggests that methylene blue could be a powerful antioxidant for use in skin care products.
The effects are not temporary. The team believed that methylene blue appears to make fundamental, long-term changes to skin cells.
The antioxidant demonstrates a great potential to delay skin aging for all ages.
The team has already begun formulating cosmetics that contain methylene blue. Now they are looking to translate this into marketable products.
The study is published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Source: University of Maryland.
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