The beauty industry generates many senseless trends. Here is one of them

Luc Williams

It sounds funny, clickbait, etc., I realize that. However, when we compare this ridiculous trend with the reality of how businesses (especially food businesses) obtain fish and seafood, the matter becomes a bit less funny. Like Claire Hamlett for Plant Based News, I want to use the “fish seed” excuse to draw attention to this.

First, about the wonderful treatment in the spirit of K-Beauty

Of course, the point is not to get old. Before she unfortunately became the face of the anti-vaccination movement, Naomi Wolf published her famous “Beauty Myth” in the early 1990s, becoming a pioneer of the third wave of feminism. Regardless of any nuances, the beauty myth is that a woman is supposed to be young, slim and white. As you can see, nothing has changed over the last thirty years – salmon semen injections are intended to help women not become old.

The “salmon semen” contained in these injections is, as Claire Hamlett writes, DNA from salmon sperm, known under the chemical name Polydeoxyribonucleotide (PDRN). The preparation containing them is injected under the skin using a small needle, which is supposed to stimulate collagen production and support cell renewal. The treatment should be repeated every few months.

PDRN can also be found in luxurious balms and creams. The trend of using this ingredient in cosmetology was born in South Korea, which is currently considered the “homeland of skin care”. This latest phenomenon even has a name: K-Beauty.

Are the opinions about the miraculous properties of this treatment reflected in any research? Experiments on animals have shown that PDRN can accelerate wound healing (studies published, among others, in the “Journal of Dermatological Treatment”, “Scientific Reports” and others). However, Hamlett found no convincing evidence regarding the effectiveness of this treatment in humans.

And now about the deforestation of the Amazon

There is a suspicion that injecting people with DNA from salmon sperm makes about as much sense as hitting them with nettles under the full moon. Fortunately, it is probably not a direct cause of the degradation of marine environments in itself – salmon used for the production of PDRN come from by-catches of the so-called seafood.

However, this is little consolation – both the seafood and fish businesses are very problematic for aquatic environments. They generate overfishing, which often leads to ecological disasters. An inherent element of overfishing is by-catch – i.e. everything that is caught in the net and is not the target of fishing. All these dead animals will end up back in the water, generating pollution and destroying the coral reef. Unless they meet the fate of salmon suppliers of PDRN, then they will become an additional source of income for the industry.

The fixation on collagen, which is satisfied by products containing “salmon semen”, has already led to very dangerous consequences for the natural environment in the past. As Hamlett writes, a 2023 Guardian investigation with others found links between collagen supply chains and Amazon deforestation.

The journalist points out that animal blood, bones and skin are valuable products that constitute a significant source of income for the meat industry. They are used, as seen in the example above, in industries such as cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and fashion. Solving the issue of untangling these interdependencies of the most environmentally harmful industries in the current global economic and political system seems impossible.


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