Elastic Second Skin
Chances are you’ve heard about it. There is a new product that will soon be available that is sweeping the world of skin care, cosmetics, and dermatology. This product, dubbed an “elastic second skin” by the researchers who developed it, was recently featured in the New York Times. Dr Robert Langer and Dr Rox Anderson developed this product and described it in the prestigious journal, Nature Materials.
The product is used by rubbing a liquid polymer onto the skin. This polymer is then cross-linked by the application of a second solution. This cross-linking creates a clear, breathable, invisible elastic membrane on the skin. The study asked twelve patients with protuberant “eye bags” to apply this material, and each one of them had a significant improvement as the polymer, literally [pulls] the under-eye skin tight.
This product lasts about a day and is resistant to rubbing, soap, and moisture. It is invisible to the naked eye. Theoretically, you could apply it to the whole face for a more youthful, less wrinkled appearance. As we age, we lose much of our skin’s elasticity from the sun and the skin begins to sag and wrinkle. This is immediately reversed by this specifically engineered polymer.
While the cosmetic benefit is compelling, dermatologists are most excited by the applications this could have for wound care and treatment of skin problems like eczema and psoriasis. Optimal wound healing occurs in a moist environment removed from environmental contagions. Patients are sure to like how lightweight, breathable, and cosmetically appealing a “second skin” bandage would be. Further, application of this polymer on top of prescription creams for eczema and psoriasis could help these treatments be more effective by enhancing their penetration and potency.
Future of cosmetics and dermatology
The future of cosmetics and dermatology will be full of specially engineered products that will complement the normal mechanics of our skin. This is just one example. Furthermore, any advancement of cosmetic dermatology also is an advancement of medical and surgical dermatology. The same laser techniques, for example, that we use with our cosmetic patients are used with our patients with things like burn scars and vascular malformations. “Second Skin” has great promise whether you have cosmetic skin concerns, a wound that needs to heal, or a true medical skin disorder.
Dennis A Porto | www.DennisAPorto.com
The Specialist doctor from the University Hospital in Gothenburg, alumnus UC Berkeley. My doctoral dissertation is about Digital Health and I have published 5 scientific articles in teledermatology and artificial intelligence and others.