Scientists Developed a Transparent Film That Can Temporarily Tighten Skin

May 10, 2016 | Johannes Van Zijl

Second Skin
Photo credit: Melanie Gonick/ MIT

‘Second Skin’ could be used to protect and tighten skin, smoothing wrinkles!

Scientists at MIT, Massachusetts General Hospital, Living Proof, and Olivo Labs have developed a polymer ‘Second Skin’ material that can be used to temporarily tighten skin, providing medical and cosmetic applications.

The material, known as XPL, is a silicone-based polymer that can be applied onto the skin as a thin flexible plaster. According to the researchers, the material mimics the mechanical and elastic properties of normal healthy soft skin, making it an ideal for testing on human subjects.

“We started thinking about how we might be able to control the properties of skin by coating it with polymers that would impart beneficial effects,” says Daniel Anderson, an associate professor in MIT’s Department of Chemical Engineering in a press release.

“We also wanted it to be invisible and comfortable.”

After preliminary testing on 12 human subjects, the scientists found that XPL has the potential to reshape the saggy bags of skin normally found under the eyes of older individuals. On average, application of the material decreased the look of baggy eyes by 2 points on a 5-point scale. XPL also improved skin hydration, which might be useful to those suffering from dry skin.

Second Skin removes the look of eye bags

Second Skin was found to have a remarkable ability to reshape the aging human eye. Image credit: Olivo Labs, LLC

“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,” Anderson stated.

SEE ALSO: Scientists Have Grown Fully Functioning Skin in a Lab

The scientists hope that by modifying the polymer material in the future, their ‘Second Skin’ film might also be used to treat skin conditions, such as eczema, or as tool for drug delivery in years to come.

Here MIT explains the current application of their newly developed XPL material:


The findings were published on May 9 in the online issue of Nature Materials.

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