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Get rid of those wrinkles: New material tightens skin

By Tim Sandle     May 11, 2016 in Health
A new material that can, for a period of time, tighten skin and add a layer of protection has been developed by researchers. Aimed initially at obscuring wrinkles, the skin could be used to treat dermatitis.
The new material is a silicone-based polymer. The concept involves applying the polymer to areas of the skin in the form of a coating. The coating is designed to be imperceptible. The coating mimics the mechanical and elastic properties of the skin of a younger person, thereby obscuring wrinkles and other signs of aging.
The second skin could, according to the developers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, be used to reshape "eye bags," which can form under the lower eyelids. This is a feature of aging skin, which becomes less elastic over time (something advanced by excessive exposure to the sun.)
The synthetic skin has functions other than the cosmetic. It can provide hydration to natural skin and provide an element of protection to natural skin from ultraviolet light. Moreover, the material has other potential applications. It could, for instance, be used to deliver medication to help treat skin conditions like eczema along with other types of dermatitis.
The skin is made from a chemical structure called siloxane (a chain formed from silicon and oxygen, bound in a cross-linked formation.) This material proved to be comfortable, light-weight, and optically invisible. The material has greater ‘strechability’ than natural skin, in that it can be stretched 250 percent and still return to its normal shape. To come up with a working synthetic skin took ten years of research.
The application process involves applying polysiloxane components to the skin using a catalyst that induces the polymer to form a film across the skin. This takes about 24 hours and it can be applied as an ointment.
Trials involving people have been tried and the skin has passed safety and efficacy tests. While the medical applications need further research, the cosmetic aspect could soon be available commercially.
The research is published in the journal Nature Materials, in a paper titled “An elastic second skin.”
More about antiwrinkle, Skin, synthetic skin, dermatitis
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