Scientists Make 'Second Skin' to Hide Wrinkles

Second Skin

Invisible Elastic Film – Lessen Wrinkle/Eye Bags


Scientist has developed an invisible elastic film which can be applied to the skin in order to lessen the appearance of wrinkle and eye bags. Nature Materials reports after a series of small trials that when the same is applied, the formula tends to dry to form a film which imitates the properties of youthful skin. Presently it is being explored as a commercial cosmetic product. However, the US scientist state that their second skin could ultimately be utilised in delivering medicines and sun protection.

 The team from Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology had tested their model product on some of the volunteers applying the formula to their under-eye bags, legs and forearms. The polysiloxane polymer had been made in the lab, utilising molecules of silicone as well as oxygen as the building blocks. Though it is synthetic, it has been designed to imitate the real skin providing a breathable, protective layer. The temporary film tends to lock in moisture, helping to boost skin elasticity, according to the researchers. Several tests had been performed including a recoil test wherein the skin was pinched and then released to observe how long it takes to ping back into position.

Skin less Firm/Elastic with Age


As the skin tend to age, it gets less firm and less elastic and hence does not perform well in this type of test. Skin which has been coated with the polymer seemed to be more elastic than skin without the film and to the naked eye, it looked smoother, firmer and with less wrinkles. The researchers with a spin-off company that would finally market their patented formula have stated that the film is basically invisible and can be worn all day without much irritation. It can also withstand things like sweat and rain.

However more research is essential before then. The polymer also requires safety approval from regulators. Dr Tamara Griffiths of the British Association of Dermatologist has mentioned that the bags under the eyes are caused by the protrusion of fat pockets related to ageing. Though completely natural, some may see it as undesirable, seeking ways to reverse it and sometimes resorting to surgery.

Developing Second Skin Presents Several Challenges


Dr Griffiths stated that the results seem to be comparable to surgery, minus the associated risks. Further research is essential though this is a novel and very capable approach to a common problem and its development will be followed with interest. Prof Robert Langer who leads the work at MIT commented that `developing a second skin which is invisible, comfortable and effective in holding in water and possibly other materials presents several different challenges.

 He adds that it has to have the right optical properties, or it won’t look good and it has to have the right mechanical properties, otherwise it will not have the right strength and won’t perform correctly. He informs that they are excited regarding the opportunities that are presented as a result of this work and looks forward to develop these materials further, to treat patients better who tend to suffer from various skin conditions.

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