The constant search for the next major ingredient in skincare leads people to search through countless plants and chemical compounds in the hopes of finding something that can help a particular goal. Most of the time this tends to lead to a lot of “miracle” compounds turning up each year. Different people champion these ingredients depending on their exact origin. The most common compounds to surface tend to be plant-based products that are given often excessive claims from people dedicated to “natural” skincare that forget that the chemicals used in skincare were often already derived from plants. Sometimes things are different though and a chemical compound becomes the new ingredient to beat in skincare. Currently, that is methylene blue. This chemical compound is well known to doctors and may have a future in skincare if one study is to be believed. With that in mind, it seems fitting to take a detailed look at methylene blue and see what we actually know about the compound when we separate it from the current hype.
What Is It?
Methylene blue is a comparatively inoffensive chemical that has been used by doctors for various conditions over the years. Currently, it is primarily used in the treatment of the condition methemoglobinemia. This condition is caused by issues with red blood cells being able to provide enough oxygen to tissues throughout the body. It can have a pronounced effect on the body up to an including changes in skin coloration. Methylene blue helps counteract this problem via injection. The compound has also seen use in helping to treat conditions such as urinary tract infections and cyanide poisoning over the course of its use. Despite being formulated in 1876, the compound has shown no signs of ceasing to be of use to humanity and with the potential applications in skincare it may gain an all new purpose as well.
How Is It Used In Skincare?
It isn’t at the moment. The current popularity of the compound is based on a single study that investigated the potential applications of methylene blue in skincare. They tested the compound of the 3D constructed model of human skin created from cultured cells sample from various people. This model is generally considered highly accurate and a good first step towards actual human trials. The researchers noted that methylene blue is a potent antioxidant and tested simulated topical application of the compound on the skin. The treated models immediately began to show distinct improvements. Many of the cells began to look and act as if they were younger than they actually were. This provides a promising lead on potential applications for methylene blue in the future, but the information is also so new that few, if any, companies are likely to have included in products yet. However, in the future, the compound may be an important component in anti-aging products.
How Promising Is It?
We did observe that this offers a promising lead on potential future treatments, but it serves us all to have a realistic view of what this means. A single study is not enough to reasonably shift the approach of an industry. The study was peer reviewed and, as a result, the results have been replicated some already. Further replication will likely be required before the compound’s potential is fully accepted. Additionally, it needs to go to genuine human trials before we know the overall effects remain accurate. That and that alone will begin to make products using the compound begin to show up reliably. That too will only happen once the industry has had time to test the effectiveness of various mixtures of the compound in different products to figure out how best to make use of methylene blue’s potential. We are quite some time away from seeing the compound in regular use and its promise could be derailed at any point along the way.
Like all compounds with promise, we must look at methylene blue with a careful eye. It is always easy to see promise in something, but it is far harder for that promise to survive the necessary testing and rigorous examinations to prove it is a worthwhile investment. It may take time, but we could genuinely see methylene blue products in the future. The compound is perfectly safe when used properly and its addition to skincare would surely improve the industry if its promise survives. All we can do now is wait.