Creating a Second Skin to Look Younger

Elise Marcus
May 16th 2016

Staying young has been a human desire for as long as we can remember. Cleopatra used to take milk baths to preserve her beauty and youth, today we apply expensive creams to achieve the same result. But all these special treatment didn't even come close to what we wanted to achieve. So in the end, we just had to accept the reality of time. Until now. Scientists at MIT, Massachusetts General Hospital, Living Proof, and Olivo Labs managed to create what every woman has been dreaming of: a second skin to reduce wrinkles and tighten the skin.

This innovative product was not created just to fulfill our beauty wishes. After further research, scientists say it will be possible to use it to treat skin diseases and deliver drugs.

"Creating a material that behaves like skin is very difficult" explains Barbara Gilchrest, a dermatologist at MGH. "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".

Researchers have been looking for the right material for a long time now. After multiple test rounds on the human skin, they found the perfect combination of flexibility, visibility and function. The second skin is made of two layers: the first layer is a silicone-based polymer, which contains a chemical structure, called siloxane, a chain of alternating atoms of silicon and oxygen. The second layer is a catalyst which causes the polymers to cross-link, known as cross linked polymer layer (XPL).

Tests showed how two hours after the XPL was applied, the skin became more moisturized and tight than the results achieved by a highly exclusive cream. Will we reach eternal youth by replacing our skin on day? Maybe we will look back to 2016 and see how technology became part of our biology.

Source: MIT. Image: Melanie Gonick/MIT

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Should men be able to give birth to children?


Lisa Mandemaker: Using an artificial womb could lead to more equality between sexes, but also between different family layouts. If men would be able to give birth to children, it would maybe be easier for male same-sex couples to have a child together.

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