There are countless lotions and potions that promise youthful skin.
Now there’s something that may make the wrinkles under your eyes disappear instantly. It isn’t magic, it’s chemical engineering.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University published a report in the journal of Nature Materials on Monday about a product that can take some of the signs of aging away — at least temporarily.
The “second skin” is made from common chemicals that have been deemed safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This topical solution forms an invisible elastic film that is easy to apply straight on the skin.
The film was tested in a small study consisting of 170 participants. No one has reported an allergic reaction to the film, which is a polymer composed of an atom of oxygen with two atoms of silicon that repeats to form a large molecule.
A team of scientists was inspired to create a product that treated and coated the skin and could possibly be used for cosmetic and medical purposes, said Daniel Anderson, a chemical engineering professor at MIT who was a involved in the study.
Although the effects of aging like wrinkles under the eyes and on the forehead are minimized with the wearable polymer, the film can also help treat a handful of skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis by protecting dry, patchy skin, keeping it hydrated and covered.
“We hope this can be used for many different things,” Anderson said. “For example, if you need it for a large area of skin you might put it on like sunscreen, or you might be able to apply it with your fingers.”
Participants in the study were able to apply the polymer like a lotion, with their fingertips. Anderson tried it on himself, but only on his forearm to see how the product dried.
There is a two-step application process for the product, Anderson explained. First, a clear liquid is applied, but at this state the film is not that strong. Depending how the product is being used, like whether it’s going to treat wrinkles or something that needs more structural support, scientists can add another product, a secondary lotion, which makes the film stronger.
The film takes only a minute to dry. Users don’t have to worry about sweating or washing the film off after application. A special solution was created to help the film easily dissolve off the skin. However, Anderson said one could just let the film fall off the skin in a few days, too.
“My experience is that after a couple of days the edges will come up like a piece of Scotch tape and you can pull it up,” he said.
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