Imagine if all it took to smooth wrinkles and deflate eye bags was applying a layer of “youthful skin” on your face. That may soon be a possibility, and nope, we’re not talking about a skin transplant.
A team from MIT and Harvard, along with Living Proof and Olivo Labs, have developed what they call “second skin”—an invisible film that once applied to wrinkles or eye bags can make aged skin look more youthful. Bob Langer, who led the research and development of this product—currently called XPL—tells The Guardian, “What we’ve been able to do is create a cream that you can put on the skin and then when it’s on the skin it can actually form essentially an elastic second skin.”
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According to a study published today by Nature Materials, the product is made with silicone and oxygen molecules and is completely invisible and allows real skin to move and breathe. According to The New York Times, all the chemicals used to compose the “second skin” are common cosmetic ingredients that the FDA has deemed safe. It is applied using a two-step process: First, a clear cream that contains a polymer followed by a second cream that causes the polymers to form into a soft, skin-like structure. Particles in the second cream help diffuse light and give skin a youthful appearance. The product is designed to be applied in the morning and peeled off at night.
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The “skin” was tested on a group of 170 subjects—none of whom experienced any irritation or allergic side effects. When applied to the under-eye bags, the cream was able to reduce the puffiness and loose skin to a level that could previously only be achieved by surgery. Skin treated with XPL also showed significantly better elasticity.
While at first glance the application of such a product may seem purely cosmetic, the developers say there are applications that extend past just looking more youthful. Using such a “second skin” could help with delivering sun protection without worrying about needing to reapply, medicines that treat skin conditions and even help keep skin more hydrated. The researchers also noted that using XPL as a barrier “protects the skin from excessive moisture loss to the environment.”
Researchers say they do not have enough data to submit the product for FDA-approval yet. They hope to have more information later this year.