Novo Solutions MD: Cutting Edge Skin Care from an Umbilical Cord? Actually... Yes

A few months ago I received an email with information about a new skin care line that had me a bit... perplexed. I wasn't exactly sure what they meant by some of the information in the press release. How did they get the product? What do they think is active in it? Did they see results?

The reason I was so confused? Umbilical cord serum.

Actually, it isn't as strange as it sounds, and their preliminary results are promising. Read on to see what their founder wrote me in a reply email, and why I'm sharing it with you.


Novo Solutions is a very new company. It was started about two years ago by an Emergency Medicine physician, who saw the preliminary results of the main ingredient at a stem cell conference at Johns Hopkins. He teamed up with the cosmetic chemist responsible for the product, got the support of another businessman, and Novo Solutions was born.

The proprietary ingredient in Novo Solutions is human umbilical cord plasma (HUCP). This is obtained from blood left in the umbilical cord after birth. The mother is tested for diseases before giving birth. The blood left in the umbilical cord is tested just after birth. The blood is withdrawn from the umbilical cord after it is cut away from the mother and the baby, it would otherwise be thrown away, so don't worry about stealing blood from someone that needs it. From there it is sent to a cryobank in Florida, which is certified and licensed. The blood is centrifuged and separated, and what you get in the end is a cell free plasma to be incorporated into the skin care product.

So, why go to all of this trouble? HUCP has been found to have much higher levels of certain cytokines than normal adult blood. These are cytokines such as TGF, IGF, EGF, VEG-F and others. Do they help fight aging? The jury is still out on that, though many of them are growth factors and it makes sense that they'd affect the skin in some fashion. The product also contains peptides (learn more about how peptides work in skin care to help fight aging), which don't immediately decrease wrinkles, but do help over the long term.


Are there any results to back up the use of HUCP?
The company has been working closely with researchers at Northwestern University. They have more comprehensive studies planned. Here's more info on that first study:
It was conducted with six women of various ages in a double blind study by application twice a day for 26 days. One side of the inner upper arm had application of product with the umbilical plasma and the other side contained product that did not. Punch biopsies were obtained and sent to Dr Lavker for analysis. One of the subjects collected the fee but we found out did not apply the products. The results of the other five showed an increase in procollagen in the side treated with human umbilical cord plasma” hucp” vs. the side without “hucp”. The largest difference was 47.5 percent increase in procollagen with the “hucp”. The matrix constituent hyaluronic acid was measured. The side that applied product with“hucp” vs. the side without “hucp” were analyzed. The treated side with “hucp” demonstrated significant increases in tissue measurement of hyaluronic acid in four out of five subjects, with the difference as high as 80 percent in just 26 days.

So, what do you think? I think the prelim data above is pretty interesting. It would be really nice to know exactly how all of those cytokines are working on the skin, but for now they're just kind of using the shotgun approach with using all of them, but it seems to be working. I'm definitely interested in seeing what further results they come up with.

On the other hand, it does seem a little strange to be putting a blood product on my skin to fight aging. Do you think you'd use this skin care line?

Novo Solutions MD

5 comments

  1. What are your thoughts on early cord clamping and the effect on the newborn's blood volume? I realize this may cross over into medical advice, so I understand if you don't answer. My concern is that there is not really any such thing as cord blood -- it is the baby's blood and the baby probably needs all of it to avoid iron deficiency or other health risks. If that is true, use of cord blood in this manner would be unethical.

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  2. It does kind of cross over into medical advice, and keep in mind that I'm a PICU doc, not a NICU doc, but in my opinion, you don't want want try and get all of that blood into the baby.

    By design there is enough blood for the baby AND the fairly large placenta. That's just too much for the baby alone. It won't avoid iron deficiency or other issues, instead you'll have a baby with polycythemia in the more immediate period. The blood will be sluggish (putting the baby at risk for things like stroke), and the baby's body will try to break it down, increasing jaundice and such. When we're worried about this happening, we'll do something called a partial exchange transfusion, actually taking the blood out of the baby and replacing it with IV fluid. That has risks of its own, we'd rather avoid it!

    It's kind of a long discussion, but the best thing really is to just clamp the cord as the natural course of things, not to try and get all of the blood into the baby or clamp super early. I'm more moderate, avoid anemia in the baby but also the partial exchange. There should be plenty of blood left in the cord and placenta.

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  3. Thanks for your response, I'll probably never be in the market for this product but it is good to know there is some "excess" blood that could be used in this way, without harming babies.

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  4. Do you think a product like this could work on acne scarring(uneven skin texture, slight pitting)?
    Thanks,
    Steph

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  5. It's hard to say really. So many of the ingredients in this line aren't tested for that problem. I'd say check with a derm about a peel or lasering, those work really well. If that isn't an option right now, I'd check into some of the at home peel/hydroxy acid systems.

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