LONDON, May 9 (Xinhua) — Researchers have developed a new wearable polymer material that can restore the aesthetic and functional properties of healthy, youthful skin, according to a report published online Monday in the journal Nature Materials.
The properties of the skin can change over time, or as a result of certain diseases and environmental factors. These changes can result in loss of normal skin function as well as changes in appearance.
The silicone-based film, developed by a team of US researchers, is elastic, invisible, durable, moisturizing, adheres well when applied to skin, while also providing a breathable barrier layer.
In a series of small proof-of-concept human studies, they showed that treatment with the material improved skin function in patients with severely dry skin and restored normal skin aesthetics, limiting the appearance of aging-related structural changes like wrinkles and under-eye bagging.
In wearability, the new material outperformed two commercial wound dressings with respect to flexibility, elasticity, thickness and visibility, while in moisturization and water loss, it exhibited statistically less water loss and more skin-hydration than high-end commercial moisturizers, according to the study. Additionally, no skin irritation was observed in these tests.
Ultimately this new material could be used to treat skin conditions such as eczema and other dermatitis, and provide long term sun protection from UV by incorporating SPF ingredients, said the researchers.
"Developing a second skin that is invisible, comfortable and effective in holding in water and potentially other materials presents many different challenges, which we are now able to address," said Dr. Robert Langer from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who is one of the authors of the study.
The team look forward to further developing these materials to better treat patients who suffer from a variety of skin conditions, said Langer. (PNA/Xinhua)