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MIT’s Invisible ‘Second Skin’ Can Hide Aging, Heal Damaged Skin

It looks like MIT may be taking lessons from Melisandre of Game of Thrones. Researchers at the elite technical institution have just given a glimpse of their “second skin” prototype, which can work wonders on signs of aging by tightening skin and smoothing wrinkles. And it all happens without any sacrifices to the Lord of Light!

MIT News reports that scientists at MIT, Massachusetts General Hospital, Living Proof (a company that uses “technology originating from MIT, [to] invent and patent new molecules that have never been used in beauty before”), and Olivo Labs (which also stems from MIT and is focused on “[providing] solutions to skin-related medical conditions… through proprietary biomaterials technologies”) have developed a new material that’s essentially invisible, can hide signs of aging, and can even be used to deliver medications for skin issues like dermatitis.

Second-Skin-Gel-05092016

Drop of the “invisible” second skin gel.

The researchers behind the second skin published their findings on this new technology in Nature Materials, and, in conjunction, released the explanatory video above. The abstract of the paper states that the second skin is “an elastic, wearable crosslinked polymer layer (XPL) that mimics the properties of normal, youthful skin,” and that “The XPL platform may offer advanced solutions to compromised skin barrier function, pharmaceutical delivery and wound dressings.” In other words, the second skin stretches real skin out to make it tight, and can also be used to efficiently moisturize dry and itchy skin.

The second skin is a synthetic polysiloxane-based polymer, and it’s applied to a person’s skin in two stages. First, a person applies an “invisible” cream, which has the polysiloxane polymers in it, to their skin. Then, a platinum catalyst is applied, which causes a “cross-linking” reaction. This means that when a person applies the gel with the polysiloxane polymer, then follows with the platinum catalyst; the second skin will stiffen and stretch the skin it’s attached to along with it.

Second-Skin-GIF-05092016

Researchers say that despite the fact that the second skin stiffens up, it’s still comfortable to wear, and causes no irritation once removed—it has a lifespan on the skin of about 24 hours, and is resistant to washing.

There is no word on when exactly some iteration of this second skin will be available for purchase, although considering Olivo Labs appears to be a private company that exists solely to bring this biotech to market, chances are it won’t be too long before we see it on drugstore shelves. Which means Melisandre may have some serious competition as the best bet for anti-aging, although MIT still has a lot of catching up to do to be able to duplicate some of her other, more miraculous, feats.

You know who can perform a miraculous feat though?! You! By letting us know what you think about this second skin in the comments below!

Images: MIT

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