Used widely by biologists to help them see life under the microscope, the blue dye methylene blue is now being touted as the secret ingredient to slowing, or even reversing, skin ageing.
The elusive fountain of youth may well have just been discovered. According to the recent scientific paper Anti-Aging Potentials of Methylene Blue for Human Skin Longevity, the secret to slowing or even reversing skin ageing may be an inexpensive chemical that has been used for many years in medicine!
What is methylene blue?
Methylene blue is a blue dye or stain used by scientists to see microscopic lifeform in brilliant color. It is also a mitochondrial-targeting antioxidant used to treat a variety of health issues.
As a result of chemical attractions, colorful stains like methylene blue bind to biological tissue. By adding a couple of drops of a stain onto a glass slide containing bacteria, biologists can determine the shape of the colorless bacteria under the microscope.
Because methylene blue is strongly attracted to acids, when it comes into contact with DNA, for example, their opposite charges attract and the blue stain slides between the rungs of the DNA ladder, enabling biologists to identify the location of the cell nucleus.
In young bodies, cells keep reactive oxygen species (ROS) at low levels by balancing free radical production and antioxidant neutralisation. However, as we age, the accumulation of ROS and the reduced ROS scavenging capacity results in increased oxidative stress – a major cause of skin aging that includes wrinkles and pigmentation.
In in-vitro tests using human skin from healthy donors and patients with a genetic premature aging disease, methylene blue showed a potent ROS scavenging efficacy in skin fibroblasts – the cells in connective tissue that produces collagen.
Compared with other widely used mitochondrial-targeting antioxidants, the scientists found that methylene blue was more effective in building connective tissue and delaying cell death.
Skin care miracle
Lab tests using a reconstructed 3D human skin model found that methylene blue:
- improved skin viability,
- promoted wound healing
- increased skin hydration, and
- increased dermis thickness
The tests also showed methylene blue was completely safe, even when used long-term, and didn’t cause irritation. While gene expression analysis showed the treatment altered the expression of elastin and collagen, making methylene blue a potentially new treatment for skin ageing and wrinkles and a powerful antioxidant for use in skin-care products.
Image courtesy of nootropicsexpert.com