MIT ‘Second Skin’- A New Wrinkle Lift Option
Researchers from MIT, Massachusetts General Hospital, Living Proof and Olivo Labs have come up with a novel polymer that could act as an artificial skin forming a layer over our original skin protecting it from ultraviolet (UV) rays, reducing dehydration preventing wrinkles and restoring the elastic property of the skin.
This has high hopes of being used to treat dermatological problems such as psoriasis and eczema in near future. This product has been licensed to Living Proof and Oliva Labs working to meet the demands of people with dermatological problems for commercialization. A recent stat shows that global anti-aging market would reach $191.7 billion by 2019. With so many lotions becoming ineffective, this second skin promises to boost up the market to higher level.
Our skin is the sense organ that is exposed to all sorts of chemicals, ultraviolet rays, scratches and accident. However, it gets back to its form and heals quickly when we are young. As we age our skin too ages, loses its elasticity, becomes less firm and it takes months to regain its original lustrous texture. This is because our skin is made of filamentous proteins that readily bind and form on being cut, regaining the original form. As we age, these proteins get replaced at a slower rate making our skin sag, lose its glow and get wrinkled up.
The first second skin to come into market was five years back when Robert Langer, Anderson and Gilchrest introduced a silicone-polymer gel promising it to reduce the under-eye bags and ensuring its elasticity and transparency just like any other natural skin. However, it did not last for more than five hours leading to dissatisfaction among clients.
Five long years of untiring work from these researchers has led to “An Elastic Second Skin”, a publication in Nature Materials. After, testing hundreds of polymers scientists have come up with XPL, a siloxane compound that could be engineered to promote water resistance, invisibility, flexibility, elasticity and breathability just like our regular skin.
This new material devised is made of siloxane, a combination of silicon and oxygen that could form an interlocked network thereby, retaining moisture and preventing under-eye bags. It could retain its elasticity though it is stretched to about 250 per cent. Surprisingly, normal skin could retain elasticity only up to 180 per cent on being stretched.
They tested it on 12 volunteers and the results were amazingly highly efficient. The skin tightened up to 10% compared to the normal skin. The under eye bags were found to decrease up to 40% within 24 hours. The second skin acted as a protective layer and reduced moisture loss by 23%. No irritation or any other side effects were reported by the volunteers.
Dermatologists feel that this second artificial skin has high chances of being used as a layer to facilitate uniform release of drugs, just like transdermal mechanism, forming an effective drug delivery system.
Olivo Labs co- founder, Dr. Rox Anderson, proudly on meeting the target stated, “This ‘skin conforming’ platform brings with it transport properties that have significant promise to treat underlying conditions. For eczema or sun protection as examples, this second skin platform can then serve as a reservoir for controlled-release transdermal drug delivery or SPF ingredients, a possibility we are currently pursuing in our lab.”
Video credit: Engineering a second skin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)