Researchers at MIT just created a new polymer that's going to change the way we take care of our skin. "Now, when you put a bandage or coating on the skin, you know it's there," says researcher Daniel Anderson. "The goal was to really create something that was totally invisible." Enter the XPL (cross-linked polymer layer) cream.
To use the so-called "second skin," you just have to put the polymer lotion on and then add a catalyst lotion on top of it. The two lotions together create a cross-linking reaction and yield the invisible XPL layer. Once it's on, it improves the skin's appearance while also protecting it. It can also keep medication on the skin for conditions like Eczema. Unlike other products, the XPL doesn't come off easily, either.
Of course, the immediate application is to use it for beauty purposes, as the below video outlines. But the researchers don't want to stop there. "This is a platform technology and what I mean by that is you could use it in various, different areas," says engineer Robert Langer. The XPL is unique in that it can administer medication directly to the skin and protect that medication from coming off. While the video from MIT doesn't address every use, this type of protective layer could be beneficial to burn victims who run the risk of skin infections in recovery. It could potentially function as a sunblock in the future as well, without the need for sunblock lotions which are expensive, full of chemicals, and sometimes detrimental to the environment.
The researchers are lucky to have a platform technology like the XPL on their hands. People tend to be interested in technology that promises to immediately fix their biggest insecurities, which is why the global skin care market has been steadily growing for decades. The team can garner interest in the product's more frivolous benefits and still be able to develop its other, more important applications.