Science has been trying to figure out what keeps people looking young for quite some time now. These days we have a lot more research on our side, but that apparently hasn’t stopped some people from going straight-up medieval with, no joke, teenage blood injections.
“Using platelet-rich plasma is a very hot trend right now in dermatology,” Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of clinical and cosmetic research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York recently told Allure magazine. “It is being used to improve skin tone and texture, wrinkles, and even promote hair growth.”
In treatments that are currently available, a patient’s own blood is drawn and then treated so a doctor can extract the platelets. It’s used for everything from eyebrow injections to topical creams. “The idea is that the plasma of the blood is rich in proteins and growth factors that promote healthy skin cell functioning and may encourage older or lazy cells to behave more like young cells,” Zeichner added.
It didn’t take long before someone took that idea and ran with it, using “younger” blood. Enter Ambrosia, a biotech startup that’s currently testing such a thing.
According to a report from CNBC, the company has about 100 customers 35 and older who are dishing out $8,000 a pop to receive young blood plasma transfusions. The source of Ambrosia’s fountain of youth? The blood bank, which sells donated blood to health-care companies.
New Beauty reported that so far, participants in the trials have seen lower levels of cancer-causing carcinoembryonic antigens, lower cholesterol and a lowered Alzheimer’s risk. Not too shabby, right? But there’s a major problem; the trials don’t have a control group, which stirs up some doubt when it comes to scientific validity.
And as with any radical procedure, there are some safety concerns, including the mere fact you are dealing with someone else’s blood. “As with any transfusion, it is important to make sure that the blood is properly screened to prevent spread of an infectious disease,” Zeichner cautioned.
So, is the idea of sucking youth straight out of younger people even worth your while? “Larger scale studies over a long period of time will be needed to assess whether this treatment is truly effective, and if it is, more effective than traditional treatments we are currently using,” Zeichner said. If they really do work, teenage blood treatments could have big implications for we take care of your skin as we age.