People have struggled for centuries to cover up wrinkles and other skin problems. Now scientists may have found the solution: newer, younger-looking, synthetic skin.
That’s the innovation researchers with M.I.T. and Harvard Medical School have come up with. A new “elastic, wearable crosslinked polymer layer” they’ve developed looks and feels just like youthful skin, and can be used to cover up signs of aging.
But the polymer may be good for more than just appearances. Since it can be worn against the skin, researchers say the film could be useful for holding topical medicines in place for a whole range of maladies.
“One set of things might be in cosmetics, where you'd use it to tighten skin in different parts of the body,” said Dr. Robert Langer, a scientist at M.I.T. “Another could be for therapeutics, where you'd use it as a whole new kind of plastic ointment that could be used to deliver drugs to the skin to treat different skin diseases.”
The “second skin” is also unusually breathable and comfortable, which means it may make a good bandage.
“Now when you put a bandage or a coating on the skin, you know it’s there,” said Dr. Daniel Anderson, another scientist with M.I.T. “So the goal was to really create something that was totally invisible, breathable, could coat the skin, protect it, perhaps deliver drugs to it, and also perhaps even make it look better.”