In Brief

XPL: Scientists develop 'second skin' to hide wrinkles

New material 'mimics the properties of youthful skin' with medical and cosmetic benefits

Scientists have created a clear film they say can remove wrinkles and other blemishes from skin.

The synthetic formula, developed by teams from Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, "mimics the properties of youthful skin", reports Nature Materials.

"A wearable material layer that restores the normal skin mechanics and appearance is unprecedented and provides a platform to solve other cutaneous problems," the study authors write.

As well as its cosmetic potential, it could be used to treat a whole host of skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis, as well as protect against sun damage, they add.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"content_original","fid":"94673","attributes":{"class":"media-image"}}]]

The LA Times describes the material as flexible, breathable, invisible and water-resistant.

Describing the check-list of challenges behind the development, senior author Robert Langer said: "You want it to be clear, so it's sort of like a transparent second skin. You want it to be mechanically strong, you want it to conform to the skin… and obviously, you want it to be safe."

After a decade of research, the authors believe they have found the perfect material, a silicone-based polymer they call XPL.

XPL is so elastic, it can return to its original shape after being stretched by more than 250 per cent, says the study. In comparison, human skin can only manage 180 per cent, while other synthetic materials are considerably less flexible.

Dr Tamara Griffiths, of the British Association of Dermatologists, told the BBC the development was a "very promising approach to a common problem".

"The results [with the polymer film] appear to be comparable to [cosmetic] surgery, without the associated risks," she added.

The researchers have a spin-off company that could eventually market their patented formula but they say more studies are needed before then. The polymer would also need safety approval from regulators.

Recommended

Was attempted FBI break-in linked to Trump raid?
FBI director Christopher Wray
Speed Reads

Was attempted FBI break-in linked to Trump raid?

How the UK’s droughts compare with the rest of the world
Low water levels at Baitings Reservoir in West Yorkshire
Global lens

How the UK’s droughts compare with the rest of the world

Quiz of The Week
Woman worries over bills
Quizzes and puzzles

Quiz of The Week

Russian visas, Arab fattism and quiet quitting
Landing plane
Podcasts

Russian visas, Arab fattism and quiet quitting

Popular articles

Why The Satanic Verses is still controversial
Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses
Getting to grips with . . .

Why The Satanic Verses is still controversial

Is World War Three on the cards?
Ukrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine
In Depth

Is World War Three on the cards?

Will China invade Taiwan?
Chinese troops on mobile rocket launchers during a parade in Beijing
Fact file

Will China invade Taiwan?

The Week Footer Banner