How far are you willing to go to look young? The latest treatment employs collagen derived from circumcised foreskin. Here’s what you need to know.
by Colette Bouchez -
Heard the term “smooth as a baby’s behind “? Well that phrase might soon include another related part of the anatomy – at least if one group of anti-aging scientists have their way.
Indeed, hot on the heels of an FDA committee report questioning the safety of anti-aging wrinkle fillers, comes news of yet another hot new “injectable” wrinkle filling ingredient – this one derived from the foreskin of circumcised baby boys.
Developed by British biomedical firm InterCytex, the new injectable is known as Vavelta. According to the manufacturer the “ magic” in the foreskin is the proliferation of budding collagen cells known as “fibroblasts. These are “collagen sprouts” that ultimately help the body produce collagen – the natural substance that keeps skin looking smooth, firm and wrinkle-free.
The Magic Of Collagen When we are young, our body produces a continued supply of fibroblasts – so new collagen is always being made. That’s why young skin looks smooth, firm, supple and wrinkle-free.
But as we grow older, the combination of the natural aging process, along with environmental exposures (like too much sun) reduce or damage the number of active fibroblasts able to churn out collagen.
The end result, we have less collagen available to “prop up” skin’s underlying support structure. Without that support, our facial contours begins to slowly droop and the loosened skin on top begins to wrinkle.
For a while, skin experts believed topically applied collagen suspended in creams and lotions was the key to keeping skin looking young. But it wasn’t long before medical science began to prove that the collagen we apply externally simply doesn’t get down deep enough into the layer of skin where our collagen cells reside.
The next idea was to fill the wrinkles with collagen – or another collagen-like material. That gave birth to the popular wrinkle filling injections we have today. The results were great – albeit most often temporary, with little to no stimulation of fibroblast formation.
But now, scientists at InterCytex say they have the best of both worlds with the new collagen injections derived from a baby’s foreskin.
Not only the does injection fill the depressed area ( a wrinkle or a scar) but the fibroblast cells in the injection itself help stimulate the body to begin manufacturing more of it’s own collagen.
The end result: A wrinkle injection that offers both immediate and long term results.
Currently there is some evidence that all wrinkle filling injections can, over time, stimulate some collagen production. There is also another permanent filler on the market that involves the use of micro sized Plexi-glass-like beads which, when injected into the wrinkle causes the body to rush wound-healing peptides and collagen to the area, creating a permanent fill.
That said, the science behind Vavelta suggests that because the stimulation provided by the fibroblast activity of the foreskin cells is closest to what the body does naturally when we are young - it could prove to be the most effective minimally invasive anti aging injection treatment to date.
The New Wrinkle Injections: A Caution But before you go scouring the local birth registry looking for the fountain of youth, you should know that, while the company is aggressively seeking FDA approval for use in the US, at the moment, only a select group of British physicians are using Vavelta – and clinical trials are ongoing.
Moreover, so far, the main drawback to the treatment is not so much one of safety, but one of cost. Although mothers must approve the use of their baby’s foreskin for clinical treatment – and many do - it’s still said to be in short supply. And that, of course, pushes the cost of the injections far past those of other wrinkle fillers and probably closer to the cost of traditional plastic surgery.
On the flip side, if the results are, as the company claims, permanent, so one injection could go a long way in helping you look young for a long time. And do it without the risks associated with traditional plastic surgery.
What’s important to recognize, however, is that while the Vavelta “fill” for any one particular wrinkle may be permanent, the procedure itself does nothing to keep other wrinkles from forming. So unless you have special access to Peter Pan’s colony of Lost Boys, you could go bankrupt long before you achieve the look of eternal youth.