Think blue for younger skin

Created date

July 28th, 2017
Medicinal bottle labeled "Methylene blue".

Research shows that methylene blue stimulates collagen production in skin cells and makes skin thicker. The cells also regenerated at a faster rate.

The market for anti-aging products has always been robust, and when the power of retinoids was discovered, it exploded even more.

Now, researchers from the University of Maryland have discovered another effective antiaging compound that so far has been shown to be safe and effective.

It’s called methylene blue. This inexpensive compound has been in use for years for a variety of medical purposes, including as an injectable treatment for methemoglobinemia, a conditon in which the iron in the blood’s hemoglobin becomes unable to carry oxygen effectively to the body’s tissues. Because methylene blue acts as a mild antiseptic, it is also used in oral form to help treat urine tract infections. It can also be used as a dye in order to better visualize body tissues and fluids.

Effect on skin cells

In the study, the researchers tested methylene blue on skin that was cultured in the lab from real skin cells. They found that it appears to make long-term changes to skin cells, making skin thicker and produce more collagen. The skin cells also regenerated at a faster rate. 

During the first phase of the study, the researchers tested methylene blue on skin cells donated by middle-age adults. Then they tried it on skin cell donors who were 80 years of age and up. They were surprised to see it worked practically as well. 

The researchers tested the safety of methylene blue as an ingredient in skin cream and found it caused little to no irritation. They hope it will soon be tested more and eventually become commercially available as an anti-aging product.