Scientists at MIT, Massachusetts General Hospital, Living Proof, and Olivo Labs have done the unthinkable by developing a new material that can temporarily protect and tighten the skin and smooth wrinkles.
The material is a silicone-based polymer (a cross-linked polymer layer also known as XPL) that’s applied to the skin in a thin layer undetectable to the naked eye.
It works with the skin by mimicking its mechanics and elasticity. This “second skin” polymer could also be used to deliver drugs to the skin to help treat certain conditions such as eczema, but more work needs to be done in this area before that becomes a reality.
Researchers found that XPL was able to reshape under-eye bags and provide hydration to the skin, and could also provide long-lasting ultraviolet protection, which makes sense since it would act as a barrier between skin and the sun.
The top three uses that make XPL potentially beneficial and appealing to humans are as follows:
- It can potentially deliver a steady stream of drugs to targeted areas;
- It can act as a barrier for the skin; and
- It can make the skin look more cosmetically appealing by making it appear smooth and wrinkle-free.
Sun exposure makes the skin less elastic, and elasticity in the skin is what gives it the appearance of youth. It took 10 years for this research team to develop a protective coating for the skin that could be used both medically and cosmetically. They looked into more than 100 polymers, all containing a siloxane chemical structure that could potentially mimic the elasticity, strength, and appearance of human skin.
Several studies were done on humans to test the material’s effectiveness and safety. Living Proof in Massachusetts has given the XPL technology to Olivo Laboratories so they can focus on further developing it. The paper discussing the new polymer was first published in May in an online version of the journal Nature Materials.
Source for Today’s Article:
“‘Second Skin’: New Material Temporarily Tightens Skin,” ScienceDaily web site; https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160509115127.htm, last accessed June 28, 2016.