Year of the Dragon
by Sam Pick and Elizabeth Franz
Sure, that bone structure is a gift from mother nature. And so is the substance Brad Pitt’s better half reportedly relies on to maintain her complexion’s radiance—despite its menacing moniker. Lately, we’re seeing ‘dragon’s blood’ more and more in modern skin care; here, we take a closer look at the popular ingredient. You might be surprised to learn it’s not as strange as it sounds.When news broke earlier in 2012 that Angelina Jolie turns to a certain Rodial product to keep her skin looking youthfully plump and glowing, it wasn’t the first instance in which her affinity for blood was made public. But unlike the vials of blood she and Billy Bob Thornton swapped and wore around town as necklaces during their bizarre and short-lived marriage, Rodial’s Dragon’s Blood Sculpting Gel doesn’t actually contain any blood. What’s more, it has nothing to do with mythical monsters from the medieval era—but it does boast some remarkable powers when it comes to thwarting the visible signs of aging, along with some purported benefits to our overall health.
What is dragon’s blood?
We know what you must be thinking: dragon’s blood doesn’t sound like your standard wrinkle-fighting fare. But like so many of skin care’s most potent problem-solvers—willow bark extract, anyone?—it’s a naturally occurring substance. Dragon’s blood is nothing more than the dark red sap of the sangre de grado tree (or sangre de “drago” as it’s sometimes referred to), hence the clever name. This tree grows solely in the Amazon region of South America, and its sap and bark are used to make medicine. One of its chemicals, SP-303, is known to fight the likes of irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhages, and maybe even cancer.
What can it do for our skin?
Touted around the beauty industry as a “liquid facelift,” dragon’s blood poses a variety of benefits for the skin. Simply stated, it adds what we all need to maintain a youthful appearance: volume! Dragon’s blood possesses the ability to plump and lift your complexion while protecting against environmental aggressors, preventing further damage with its antibacterial, antiviral, and antioxidant properties.
Where can it be found?
Rodial’s Dragon’s Blood Sculpting Gel—Ms. Jolie’s reported anti-aging weapon of choice—is at the forefront of the ingredient trend. Other products we love that utilize Dragon’s Blood include Level Naturals Spiced Dragons Blood Soap, Peter Thomas Roth’s Laser-Free Resurfacer , and Jack Black Dragon Ice Relief & Recovery Balm.
From dragons to vampires?
So, the secret’s out: dragon’s blood is a viable anti-aging ingredient, but it isn’t really blood at all. But in case you were wondering when actual blood would be utilized in modern skin care…it already is. If you’re not familiar with it, allow us to introduce you to Selphyl, an in-house dermatological procedure where a serum made of the patient’s own blood is harvested days in advance … then injected back into the skin—much like familiar fillers, such as Juvederm—to plump up wrinkles and create youthful volume.
According to Dr. Timothy Jochen, Associate Clinical Professor at USC, Selphyl is a good option not only for patients who have experienced adverse reactions—granulomas or lumping, for instance—with other types of fillers, but for those who want to ensure natural-looking results.
“With Selphyl, results are gradual and do require more than one treatment,” he shared. “Friends and family won’t be able to tell you’ve had anything done.”
The things we do in the name of beauty.
Article posted 10/09/2012.