Methylene blue, a common, cheap and nontoxic antioxidant has been found to have the potential to help slow down and even reverse aging symptoms in human skin. This is according to a recent study done by University of Maryland (UMD) researchers at the department of molecular genetics and cell biology. The study was conducted based on simulated skin tissue and cultured human skin cells.
Skin cells used in the study were obtained from healthy middle-aged individuals, and a sample of skin cells from individuals suffering from progeria (a genetic disorder characterized by accelerated aging). Researchers also included three extra antioxidants in the study: MitoTEMPO (mTEM), N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC), and MitoQ.
The group confirmed that Methylene blue can improve aging symptoms in both skin cells obtained from progeria and healthy individuals. Methylene blue significantly reduced damage-related molecules commonly known as Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) in fibroblasts (cells that produce protein collagen.) They also found that the antioxidant drastically reduced the rate of cell death and potentially increased cell division.
Furthermore, the research team conducted a test on the effects of methylene blue on skin cells from old individuals (80 years and above) and the results were outstanding.
Trial results revealed a decline in the expression of two different indicator genes: p16 and senescence-associated beta galactosidase.
Several other experiments were performed using simulated human skin tissue. Simulated skin tissue is a 3-Dimensional model composed of live skin cells (including all major skin tissue structures and layers but no sweat glands and hair follicles).
The same 3D model can also be used by FDA in testing for skin irritation when approving various cosmetic products.
The 3D model aided the research team to experiment with various symptoms of aging that can’t be feigned within cultured skin cells. They found out that the 3D model stored more water and remained swollen throughout the process. This is a similar observation commonly exhibited by a youthful skin.
Methylene blue could be utilized in making various skin care products since the results were long-term.
Researchers went a step further to examine the safety of beauty creams using methylene blue. They established that the antioxidant doesn’t cause any form of irritation even when used in high concentration.
The results were quite promising and encouraged researchers to explore more applications on how methylene blue can be utilized to benefit individuals battling with aging skin problems.