Scientists have launched a revolutionary 'second skin'

By Josh Jezard

Scientists have launched a revolutionary 'second skin'

• The film works by mimicking the properties of perfect skin 

• It is 'elastic, invisible, durable and moisturising' and can be stretched 250%

•Researchers showed it improves dry skin and makes skin look youthful

An invisible elastic film that be can be applied to the skin to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and eye bags has been developed, scientists claim.

After a series of small trials but Nature Materialsfound that once the formula has been applied, it dries and forms a film that “mimics the properties of youthful skin”.

This product is currently being explored as a commercial product, however it has been said medicines and sun protective might eventually be delivered by the “second skin”.

A handful of volunteers have had this product tested on them by the team from Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The “second skin” has been designed to provide a breathable, protective layer to mimic real skin. Even with this product being synthetic the temporary film helps boost skin elasticity and locks in moisture, according to researchers.

The film is essentially invisible, it can be worn all day without causing irritation and can withstand things like sweat and rain. Further studies need to be carried out and the polymer would need safety approval from regulators.

Dr Griffiths has said “the results appear to be comparable to surgery, without the associated risks. Further research is needed but this is a novel and very promising approach to a common problem. I will follow its development with interest”.

Professor Robert Langer, who led the work at MIT, said “developing a second skin that is invisible, comfortable and effective in holding in water and potentially other materials presents many different challenges.

It has to have the right optical properties otherwise it won’t look good, and it has to have the right mechanical properties, otherwise it won’t have the right strength and it won’t perform correctly.

“We are extremely excited about the opportunities that are presented as a result of this work and look forward to further developing these materials to better treat patients who suffer from a variety of skin conditions”.

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