How Salmon Sperm Injections Are Redefining Anti-Aging

Polynucleotide products have become very popular in Korea, and are currently making their way to the U.S. Salmon sperm is now being injected into different areas of your face. Many people claim that it boosts your skin and smooths out your face, but there is little research to back it up. 

Rejuran is the only commercial polynucleotide product in Korea that is injected directly into the skin’s dermis. The primary active ingredients are polynucleotide (PN) and polydeoxyribonucleotides (PDRN), which are both produced from salmon sperm. Polydeoxyribonucleotide (PDRN) is a mixture of low molecular weight DNA fragments taken from Oncorhynchus mykiss (Salmon trout) or Oncorhynchus keta (Chum Salmon) sperm DNA. Polynucleotides have a high molecular weight DNA chain, making it is more viscoelastic than PDRN. To see the full effects, you would need to get a total of three sessions of polynucleotide injections spaced about 4 weeks apart. The real question is, does it work? 

What are the advantages of injectable polynucleotides? 

The main advantage of these highly purified, long-chain polynucleotides is their trophic action on dermal fibroblasts, as well as their high-water binding capacity.

  • This feature enables the plumping of the extracellular matrix with a boost in skin elasticity.  Polynucleotides are a perfect candidate for those who deal with fine lines, and uneven or dry skin texture.
  • A clinical trial on 143 patients demonstrated improved skin elasticity and hydration, with high levels of patient and physician satisfaction.

The top 6 indications for injectable polynucleotides are:

  • Fine lines on the cheek (63%) 
  • Infraorbital fine lines (56%)
  • Periorbital fine lines (49%)
  • Uneven skin texture (42%)
  • Dry skin (42%)
  • Fine lines on the forehead (39%)

Pore size and skin thickness improved markedly in 30‐year‐old subjects, whereas skin tone, melanin, wrinkles, and sagging were remarkably enhanced in 40‐year‐old individuals. PDRN also activates adenosine A2 receptors and the “salvage pathway,” which can assist with tissue repair and has anti-inflammatory effects. It has been successfully applied to degenerative joints and diabetic foot ulcers.

What are the disadvantages of injectable polynucleotides? 

PN injections accompany a good amount of discomfort due to the high molecular weight viscoelastic substance into the superficial layer of the skin. 

To beat this problem, an injector gun was developed. An injector gun is a medical device that administers polynucleotides automatically into the skin using 9 pins of 34G sterilized needles.

  • Compared to the traditional syringe, it has the benefit of being less painful and can deliver polynucleotides into the exact targeted layer of skin. 
  • The injector gun saves time but there may be some polynucleotide leakage at the needle port or vents. 
  • The device should be used on flat-surfaced areas (i.e., central cheek and forehead), and using the needle on the curvatures of the face (i.e., periorbital, infraorbital area).

Can you combine polynucleotides with other treatments? 

79% of polynucleotide users blend PN injections with lasers and light therapy. The most popular are radiofrequency (non-invasive, needle RF) and high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU).

RF and HIFU deliver heat energy to the dermis and beyond, leading to collagen denaturation and an inflammatory response. Polynucleotides can be used to soothe this response, either by injection before or after RF and HIFU treatments. Injecting polynucleotides before these treatments can help reduce the “bumps” that sometimes occur with intradermal PN injections.

Polynucleotide products containing lidocaine can lessen the pain associated with treatments involving energy-based devices. Additionally, PN helps alleviate skin dryness commonly experienced after RF and HIFU procedures.

Lasers, such as CO2, increase skin permeability by creating microchannels of controlled injury, which are effective for treating acne scars and enlarged pores. These microchannels disrupt the skin barrier, making the application of PDRN (Polydeoxyribonucleotide) beneficial for wound healing.

Is Botox compatible with polynucleotides? 

  • Botox is compatible with polynucleotides to minimize the side effects of a “frozen face.”
  • It is important to know that PN injections are combined with botox only once and the combination is not repeated. This is to avoid the risk of antibody formation.
  • If you’re combining PN with non-cross-linked HA, lightly cross-linked HA, or PLA, it is normally repeated.

Is salmon sperm effective in non-invasive/topical forms? 

With the popularity of polynucleotides rising, it is also being used in non-invasive forms such as skincare. This may not be effective because there is less control than direct injections. It is not absorbed into the targeted depth of the skin.

So, while studies have shown that PDRN and PN are effective based on injections, no studies are available to determine whether applying PDRN to intact human skin is equally as effective. I urge you all to do your due diligence and research these polynucleotides before deciding to incorporate them into your practice. Read about the red flags and warnings when you’re deep diving because the market will try to sell you on products that are not FDA approved. And as always, be safe.

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