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MIT's Second Skin Makes Wrinkles Disappear

Every cosmetic cream under the sun promises “a more youthful look” with dubious results. But scientists at MIT may have found a way to bottle a face-lifting cream that smooths out wrinkles.


Every cosmetic cream under the sun promises “a more youthful look” with dubious results. But scientists at MIT, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Living Proof, and Olivo Labs may have found a way to bottle a face-lifting cream that smooths out wrinkles—no neurotoxins required.

As we age, our skin becomes less firm and elastic. But this two-step cream acts as a second skin, which temporarily conforms to and compresses the wearer's skin to give it that youthful look. The researchers published their findings in Nature Materials where they describe the material as a cross-linked polymer layer (XPL), which is applied using a two-step process. The first layer is made up of polysiloxane components. The second layer is a platinum catalyst, which causes the polymers from the first layer to connect and form a strong film that makes wrinkles vanish for up to 24 hours.

The researchers tested the XPL cream to see how much they could reduce sagging underneath the eye. The results are quite miraculous:

Photo: Olivo Labs

“Creating a material that behaves like skin is very difficult,” says Barbara Gilchrest, a dermatologist at MGH and an author of the paper. “Many people have tried to do this, and the materials that have been available up until this have not had the properties of being flexible, comfortable, nonirritating, and able to conform to the movement of the skin and return to its original shape.”

Our skin—when we're in our prime—can be stretched about 180 percent and be able to return to its natural state. This second skin can be stretched 250 percent without being damaged.

This second skin has applications beyond just cosmetic, says Thahn Nga Tran, a dermatologist and instructor at Harvard Medical School. This innovation could have broad medical benefits as a form of UV protection from the sun, concealer, wound dressing, or medication delivery.

So, when is this magic cream coming to market? There are plans to eventually make it available, but researchers are unable to say when. Further studies will need to be done before its ready for consumers.

***

Photo Credit: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images For The Body Shop

Natalie has been writing professionally for about 6 years. After graduating from Ithaca College with a degree in Feature Writing, she snagged a job at PCMag.com where she had the opportunity to review all the latest consumer gadgets. Since then she has become a writer for hire, freelancing for various websites. In her spare time, you may find her riding her motorcycle, reading YA novels, hiking, or playing video games. Follow her on Twitter: @nat_schumaker

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