"I injected salmon sperm into my skin to improve my dark circles – this is what happened"

polynucleotide salmon sperm injectable review
"I injected salmon sperm to fix my dark circles"getty - Hearst Owned

Finding Nemo may have stressed that "fish are friends, not food", but they never said they weren't injectable. Here I was, sitting and waiting for polynucleotides (which have been colloquially dubbed, salmon sperm) to be injected into my under-eyes in the hope they would act as 'skin food' and make me produce precious collagen. I know, it sounds a bit Birds Eye meets Pornhub, but I promise there's a method to the madness.

I'd become hooked (if you excuse the pun) on the concept of 'salmon sperm facials' when Jennifer Aniston first mentioned she'd tried the treatment last year. While the facial involves multiple salmon sperm injections across the face, the polynucleotide treatment that really caught my eye (quite literally) was it being specifically injected into the under-eye area to help prevent dark circles and hollowness.

I know what you're thinking 'People are actually wanting sperm in their (under) eyes now?' and the answer is: yes. Filler is often used to plump under-eyes but the longevity of the injectable and the risk of it migrating was a big no-no for me, so the possibility of salmon sperm being my solution was intriguing.

Welcome to the world of injizztables, folks.

polynucleotide salmon sperm treatment review
Cavan Images / Darya Kisialiova - Getty Images

What are polynucleotides?

Naturally, my first query regarding the polynucleotide treatment was whether sperm would actually be swimming under my skin *shudders*. Spoiler: the answer was pretty simple.

"No," aesthetic doctor Ahmed El Muntasar tells me. "Essentially, it's a refined pure gel created from salmon DNA derived from sperm," he adds.

The gel comes in a variety of thicknesses, depending on the number of treatments you are on and the area of concern. Fun fact: "Salmon DNA has good compatibility with humans, which is why it was chosen as a good origin," aesthetics doctor Sophie Shotter explains.

How do polynucleotides work?

Turns out, we've been underestimating salmon all this time because their DNA has a world of benefits for our skin.

"Polynucleotides work by stimulating your cells to work more efficiently, particularly helping the fibroblast cells to regenerate and produce more collagen and elastin. They also have an antioxidant effect, which makes the skin healthier and potentially also helps reduce pigmentation. People notice the skin is firmer with a better tone, that skin looks healthier and is more hydrated," says Dr Shotter.

We all know how crucial our collagen levels are in the world of anti-ageing, so pay attention to this next bit. "Polynucleotides can increase collagen production after two to three sessions by up to 30%, based on some studies. It increases hyaluronic and amino acids, and improves your skin quality," explains Dr Ahmed. When it comes to the specific under-eye area, he adds that "it reduces hollowness and dark circles – i.e. the colour – it can thicken the skin, and it can improve that brightness, which is very difficult to achieve with any other treatment."

It can potentially save you some concealer, too. "I see a lot of patients with dark skin tones coming in with a lot of pigmentation in the under-eyes, which has always been so difficult to treat. So the results of this have been life-changing. I've had patients tell me they're able to leave the house without concealer on for the first time in 30 years," Dr Ahmed explains.

polynucleotide salmon sperm treatment review
Sofia Polukhina - Getty Images

If that wasn't good enough for you, Dr Shotter explains that due to the "polynucleotides antioxidant effect, we’ve seen great results in skin conditions like rosacea, to help calm the skin. Also in terms of areas treated - Profhilo is fabulous, but we can’t use it around the eye."

Dr Ahmed also thinks polynucleotides trump Profhilo treatments "It's great if you've got 9/10 skin already and just want something to push you to that 10/10, but if you've got real skin issues like laxity, pigmentation and acne, Profhilo isn't going to make a significant difference."

It goes without saying that due to the contents of polynucleotides, this isn't suitable for anyone with fish allergies or veggies and vegans. Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid also. As with most injectable treatments, you may experience bruising and swelling after (dw, this is totally normal). In fact, it's "usually less than with hyaluronic acid-based products (i.e. filler)," Dr Shotter says.

While the results may sound similar to filler, there's a big difference between the two. "The volume comes from your own collagen being made, so it's far more natural than filler," Dr Ahmed explains.

My polynucleotide treatment review

As a 28-year-old insomniac, I couldn't wait to see the effect this polynucleotide treatment would have on my knackered under-eyes. While I've had anti-wrinkle injections for my TMD before, this felt a bit more serious.

First up, Dr Ahmed made a tiny puncture in my lower cheek to allow access for a cannula to deliver the polynucleotide goodness (he uses Ameela – a brand of polynucleotide). "The cannula minimises the chances of swelling, pain and bruising. So I can inject it similar to filler when I'm doing tear troughs," he explains.

I would say I've got a pretty high pain threshold, but the pressure was enough to cause my eyes to weep a bit, due to how delicate the under-eye area is. However, once the treatment was done, I didn't experience any soreness. My skin was a bit red and blotchy afterwards (not uncommon for me anyway) and I spotted some initial swelling underneath the very attractive fluorescent tube lighting.

polynucleotide salmon sperm treatment review
My eyes before vs. after the Ameela polynucleotide treatmentHearst Owned

He advised me not to wear my glasses for a day or two afterwards (as this can put pressure on the area) and said to avoid exercise (no objections there), saunas and alcohol for a day after, while makeup and skincare should be avoided for at least six hours post-treatment.

I was told to book in for a second treatment two weeks after to maximise results. "We generally recommend three sessions, with results lasting between six and 12 months. But generally, at the six to eight-month mark, I recommend one topical session at that stage, to keep things going," Dr Ahmed tells me.

My eyes were a bit swollen afterwards but I expected it to be worse, to be honest. No bruising was seen either (a bonus). The mini puncture mark did take longer to go than I anticipated though. While I did notice my under-eyes looked less gaunt from session one, I couldn't wait to see what benefits lay behind treatment door number two.

I turned up two weeks later ready to go. As it was my second treatment, I got a thicker dose of Ameela, which definitely made my eyes seem more puffy the day after (plus, I got a mild bruise this time). However, the results were obviously worth it.

polynucleotide salmon sperm treatment review
Me before vs. after two sessions of my Ameela polynucleotide treatment Hearst Owned

Not only were my late nights showing up less on my face, but I found I needed far less concealer than normal and my makeup sat better too. Polynucleotides 1-0 late-night TikTok scrolling.

One treatment of 2ml Ameela starts from £450 with Dr Ahmed at The Aesthetics Doctor.

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