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second-skin

Published on June 1st, 2016 | By: Stephanie Liverani

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Video: Scientists engineer ‘second skin’ with potential for superior topical UV protection

Published on June 1st, 2016 | By: Stephanie Liverani

[Image above] Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Living Proof, and Olivo Labs have developed a new material that can temporarily protect and tighten skin and smooth wrinkles. Credit: MIT; YouTube

 

 

The summer season is nearly upon us. Memorial Day weekend is over and June has commenced—and the temperature is steadily rising.

 

As those temps rise, we shed our layered winter/spring wardrobes in favor of lighter pieces and more exposed skin. And when it comes to sun exposure, there are usually two camps: the “I hate sunblock and refuse to endure its greasy, occlusive smothering” group, and the “I can’t survive the sun’s harsh rays without it” crowd.

 

Although I already fall in to the sunblock-reliant crowd, dermatologists agree that everyone should convert to the safe side.

 

Understanding the nuances of all the sun protection options out there can be confusing. Thanks to advanced materials and clearer scientific explanations, however, consumers can eliminate some of the guesswork and make more informed decisions.

 

But for the steadfast sunblock naysayers, you might be in luck.

 

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Living Proof, and Olivo Labs have developed a new material that can temporarily protect and tighten skin and smooth wrinkles, according to an MIT News article.

 

Even better? The team plans to develop the material further for use in transdermal drug delivery and treatment of skin conditions, such as eczema and other types of dermatitis, and also adapt it to provide long-lasting ultraviolet protection.

 

That’s right—sunblock that literally feels like a second skin. 

 

The material is a silicone-based polymer that can be applied on the skin as a thin, imperceptible coating and mimics the mechanical and elastic properties of healthy, youthful skin, the article explains.

 

“It’s an invisible layer that can provide a barrier, provide cosmetic improvement, and potentially deliver a drug locally to the area that’s being treated. Those three things together could really make it ideal for use in humans,” Daniel Anderson, associate professor in MIT’s Department of Chemical Engineering and a member of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, says in the article.

 

Check out this video produced by MIT to learn more about this novel “second skin.” (But don’t toss those bottles of sunblock just yet!)

Credit: MIT; YouTube

 

The research, published in Nature Materials, is “An elastic second skin” (DOI: 10.1038/nmat4635). 

 


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