Scientists engineer 'second skin' that corrects wrinkles

(Massachusetts Institute of Technology / YouTube)

Depleted elasticity of the skin and overexposure to harmful ultraviolet rays causes wrinkles, but scientists say a new lab-created “second skin” could help correct this damage.

Researchers at MIT, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Olivo Labs and Jennifer Aniston’s beauty company Living Proof reported in a recently released research paper that the material has the potential to tighten, smooth and protect skin from harmful UV rays. With more development, their invention also could act as a delivery mechanism for medication, and help treat skin ailments like eczema and other types of dermatitis.

“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,” study author 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), said in a news release.

In their paper, published Monday in the journal Nature Materials, researchers demonstrated that the silicone-based polymer could be applied as a thin coating that matches the elastic and mechanical properties of young, healthy skin. When tested on humans, the material helped reshape under-eye bags and enhanced skin hydration.