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Farewell To Wrinkles For Real?

Farewell To Wrinkles For Real?
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BY KITT WALSH

I have seen one too many women (and a few men) with faces either as smooth and featureless as a sugar cookie or pulled back so tightly, they truly do look like they’ve caught their face in a bus door. Between that and the infamous duck lips, it’s enough for me to learn to accept all those wrinkles (I will still hold particular hatred for those vertical lines, though. They seek to remind me that someday I will most closely resemble an accordion.)

But wait! Take heart, fellow prunes-in-progress…the physicians and engineers at MIT hooked up with Mass General Hospital, Living Proof and Olivo Labs and came up with the ultimate solution to wrinkles—new skin!

It really does make true that old hackneyed phrase from a million ads: “It turns back the hands of time.”

As reported in Nature Reviews, the magic is in a silicone-based polymer, called XPL. The polymer is rubbed on your skin and forms a thin, invisible (and wrinkleless) top coating, which mimics the elastic and mechanical properties of healthy young skin. A second cream is applied as a catalyst and magic really does happen. Researchers used XPL in tests on those aging eye bags under the lower lids and to improve skin hydration. It tightens the skin and resists wrinkling, albeit temporarily. The eye bags entirely disappeared within a minute in test subjects and the skin elasticity was instantly restored.

XPL could also be used to deliver drugs like those for dermatitis and eczema and may even be used in future sunscreens, as it will provide long-term protection from damaging UV rays. It may also be used in the treatment of skins burns.

Daniel Anderson, an associate professor in MIT’s Department of Chemical Engineering and a member of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES), is one of the authors of a paper describing the polymer in an article in the journal, Nature Materials. He wrote, “It’s an invisible layer that can provide a barrier, provide cosmetic improvement, and potentially deliver a drug locally to the area that’s being treated. Those three things together could really make it ideal for use in humans”.

About 10 years ago, the creators of XPL began searching for a protective coating that would resort the healthy properties of skin, like firmness and elasticity, that is lost over the years due to toxins, sun exposure, temperature changes, microorganismas and even injury or radiation. The scientists knew the solution had to be both comfortable and invisible.

Out of 100 possible polymers, the researchers finally narrowed down XPL as the most similar to natural skin, only a bit better. Natural skin can be stretched 180 percent, but XPL returns to its original state after being stretched 250%, and that elasticity made it much better for wound dressing than the gel sheets and polyurethane films of today.

In that eye bag test, the polymer created a steady compressive force that lasted for 24 hours or more. In another study the material was put on a forearm and then a suction cup helped pull out the skin. The XPL-treated surface returned to its original position much faster than natural skin.

XPL also prevents moisture loss in dry skin, beating out commercial moisturizers in the study (even doing as good a job as Vaseline in retaining moisture in the skin, but unlike petroleum jelly, the effects lasted more than 24 hours). The polymer lasts on the skin for a day or two, it blends with all skin tones, and makeup can be applied right over it. It appears to protect against sunburn, hid blemishes, restores a youthful look to aged or damaged skin and, best of all, not one test subject reported any irritation or allergic reaction from wearing it.

Though XPL won’t be commercially available for about two years, it will be relatively inexpensive when it does–not $5 at first, but not as expensive as Botox or surgery. So all this and no surgery or needles? Our golden years may have just gotten a little more golden.

To see the dramatic before and after photo, visit: http://bit.ly/1UO5ETF.

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