Salmon Sperm DNA: Polydeoxyribonucleotide (PDRN) in Skincare

Written by: Dr. Leslie Baumann



Time to read 6 min

As a dermatologist and skin care expert, I'm often asked about interesting new ingredients popping up in skincare products. One that generates a lot of curiosity is salmon sperm DNA . While it may sound unusual, salmon sperm contains a compound called polydeoxyribonucleotide (PDRN) that has shown promising effects on skin health and anti-aging. On the product label the official INCI name is Dipeptide Diaminobutyroyl Benzylamide Diacetate.


These are the names it may be called:

  • Polydeoxyribonucleotide= Common name
  • PDRN = Abbreviation of above
  • Dipeptide Diaminobutyroyl Benzylamide Diacetate = INCI name
  • Salmon Sperm
  • Salmon Sperm DNA
  • Salmon Semen
  • Fish sperm
  • Fish semen

Skincare Products Containing Salmon Sperm DNA

PDRN is starting to be incorporated into topical skincare products, especially in East Asia. Look for PDRN in the ingredients list for serums, ampoules, lotions, and creams focused on anti-aging.

There several products with this ingredient.  Look on the label for the INCI name Dipeptide Diaminobutyroyl Benzylamide Diacetate.

Why is Salmon Sperm used in skin care?

Why Salmon Sperm is Used on Skin?

Salmon sperm is an ideal source to extract high purity PDRN. The sperm DNA has very low levels of proteins, peptides, and other contaminants compared to other DNA sources. Through a specialized extraction process at high temperatures, over 95% pure PDRN can be obtained from salmon sperm, with no active proteins or peptides. This eliminates concerns about immunological reactions.

What is Polydeoxyribonucleotide (PDRN)?

Dipeptide Diaminobutyroyl Benzylamide Diacetate is a signal peptide that mimics extracellular nucleotides. It is composed of DNA fragments from salmon sperm cells. The chemical structure consists of short, low molecular weight DNA chains, ranging from 50 to 1500 kiloDaltons in size. These DNA strands are polymers made up of linked deoxyribonucleotides, which are the building blocks of DNA. The deoxyribonucleotides contain a sugar, phosphate group, and purine or pyrimidine base.

The linear DNA chains twist together into the classic double helix shape. PDRN likely gets broken down by enzymes in the skin into individual nucleotides and nucleosides to provide benefits.

how does PDRN work?

How Does PDRN from Salmon Sperm Work on Skin?

PDRN acts through two key mechanisms - activation of adenosine A2A receptors and providing nucleotides for the salvage pathway in cells.

When applied to skin, PDRN is thought to release nucleotides like adenosine that activate adenosine A2A receptors. These receptors are found on many cell types in the skin, including fibroblasts, endothelial cells, and immune cells. Activation of A2A receptors sets off a cascade of cellular signals that drive benefits like:

  • Increased fibroblasts production of collagen and other extracellular matrix proteins
  • Promoted blood vessel and capillary growth by enhancing VEGF production in endothelial cells
  • Reduced inflammation by inhibiting production of inflammatory cytokines

The salvage pathway allows cells to recycle nucleotides and nucleosides from broken down DNA and RNA. PDRN delivers nucleotides and nucleosides that skin cells can use in this pathway to synthesize new DNA instead of undergoing taxing de novo synthesis. This provides energy and supports skin cell proliferation and growth.

benefits of salmon sperm

Benefits of Salmon Semen-derived PDRN for Skin

Through these dual mechanisms, PDRN has shown a range of benefits for revitalizing and rejuvenating skin.  

Salmon Sperm DNA has these skin benefits:

Dermal Fillers with PDRN

Studies outside the US are looking at the benefits of dermal fillers containing salmon sperm DNA extract.


My patients from Brazil told me about EvoPDRN that is used in Brazil.  It has not yet been studies in the USA or proven to be safe.  It is not approved by the FDA in the US and as far as I know- there are no ongoing trials in the US on this at this time (Nov 2023).

PDRN is also used in injectable dermal fillers, particularly in Brazil. EvoPDRN is an injectable hyaluronic acid filler that contains PDRN. It has been reported to provide better tissue regeneration and more natural looking results compared to HA fillers alone.

Combining PDRN with Procedures

Another emerging use is applying PDRN products immediately after microneedling, laser resurfacing, skin tightening procedures, and other minimally invasive treatments.

The micro-injuries created stimulate the skin's natural wound healing response. Applying PDRN helps maximize this effect by providing nucleotides to ramp up cell activity and growth factors to boost tissue regeneration.

PDRN injections combined with fractionated thulium laser treatments have also shown promising results for pattern hair loss. The PDRN seems to enhance the hair growth stimulating effects of the laser therapy.

PDRN from salmon sperm DNA is an intriguing new ingredient for anti-aging skincare. Early evidence indicates it may help improve skin quality, texture, collagen levels, and hair growth. More research is still needed, but PDRN's role in supporting skin cell regeneration shows therapeutic potential. I'm hopeful larger scale studies will continue to reveal benefits and expand PDRN applications in dermatology.

Looking for the best skincare products with PDRN Salmon Sperm DNA for your skin type?  Let me help!

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Best References and Scientific Publications on Salmon Sperm and polydeoxyribonucleotide (PDRN)

  1. Baumann L. Antiaging Ingredients in Ch. 37 of Baumann's Cosmetic Dermatology Ed 3. (McGraw Hill 2022)
  2. Baumann, L. Ch.  Cosmeceuticals and cosmetic Ingredients (McGraw Hill 2015)
  3. Olden, J. D., Vitule, J. R., Cucherousset, J., & Kennard, M. J. (2020). There's more to fish than just food: exploring the diverse ways that fish contribute to human society. Fisheries, 45(9), 453-464.
  4. Khan, A., Wang, G., Zhou, F., Gong, L., Zhang, J., Qi, L., & Cui, H. (2022). Polydeoxyribonucleotide: A promising skin anti-aging agent. Chinese Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
  5. Yu, M., & Lee, J. Y. (2017). Polydeoxyribonucleotide improves wound healing of fractional laser resurfacing in rat model. Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy, 19(1), 43-48.
  6. Yun, J. K., Yoon, H. E., Park, J. K., Kim, M. R., & Kim, D. I. (2015). Wound healing effect of low molecular PDRN on experimental surgical excision rat model. Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Scientists of Korea, 41(4), 401-411.
  7. Kim, T. H., Heo, S. Y., Oh, G. W., Heo, S. J., & Jung, W. K. (2021). Applications of marine organism-derived polydeoxyribonucleotide: its potential in biomedical engineering. Marine Drugs, 19(6), 296.
  8. Edirisinghe, S. L., Nikapitiya, C., Dananjaya, S. H. S., Park, J., Kim, D., Choi, D., & De Zoysa, M. (2022). Effect of polydeoxyribonucleotide (PDRN) treatment on corneal wound healing in zebrafish (Danio rerio). International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 23(21), 13525.
  9. Paik, S. H., Choi, M. E., Lee, W. J., Chang, S. E., Lee, M. W., Choi, J. H., ... & Won, C. H. (2019). The efficacy and safety of BM-PHA for the correction of nasolabial folds: a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, split-face clinical trial. Journal of Dermatological Treatment.
  10. Cristiano, L., & Guagni, M. (2022). Zooceuticals and cosmetic ingredients derived from animals. Cosmetics, 9(1), 13.
  11. Ceccarini, M. R., Ripanti, F., Raggi, V., Paciaroni, A., Petrillo, C., Comez, L., ... & Valentini, L. (2023). Development of Salmon Sperm DNA/Regenerated Silk Bio-Based Films for Biomedical Studies on Human Keratinocyte HaCaT Cells under Solar Spectrum. Journal of Functional Biomaterials, 14(5), 280.
  12. Bi, S., Wang, T., Zhao, T., Wang, Y., & Pang, B. (2013). Study of the interaction of salmon sperm DNA with myricitrin–CPB based on the enhanced resonance light scattering signal and its potential application. Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy, 112, 397-402.
  13. Galeano, M., Pallio, G., Irrera, N., Mannino, F., Bitto, A., Altavilla, D., ... & Squadrito, F. (2021). Polydeoxyribonucleotide: A promising biological platform to accelerate impaired skin wound healing. Pharmaceuticals, 14(11), 1103.
  14. Park, K. Y., Seok, J., Rho, N. K., Kim, B. J., & Kim, M. N. (2016). Long‐chain polynucleotide filler for skin rejuvenation: efficacy and complications in five patients. Dermatologic Therapy, 29(1), 37-40.
  15. Khan, A., Wang, G., Zhou, F., Gong, L., Zhang, J., Qi, L., & Cui, H. (2022). Polydeoxyribonucleotide: A promising skin anti-aging agent. Chinese Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
  16. Eriksson, T., Quakkelaar, L., Parkstam, A., Karlsson, A., Askari, M., & Said Ahmed, S. (2022). Exploration of bioactive additives for hyaluronan based hydrogels: A literature study.

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