The latest innovation announced by the prolific Dr. Robert Langer and colleagues at MIT looks remarkable. A polysiloxane-containing cream and a platinum catalyst-containing cream are applied sequentially to the skin. An incredibly thin, smooth and moisture-retaining film with the elastic properties of skin then forms.
Other than the comments that this "second skin" is "weird" or "creepy" (blame The Silence of the Lambs!), most of the reaction to this news shows interest in the demonstrated cosmetic benefits. But the many potential therapeutic applications are even more exciting. Transdermal delivery of active agents is rarely straightforward. If this technology proves effective at enhancing that process, for instance via incorporation of active agents into the film, then therapies for a whole range of skin conditions might benefit.
Personally, as a pale Brit with an Irish genetic heritage, I'm most interested in the potential UV-barrier functions of this technology.
With more work, they believe the films could be used to mask port-wine stain birthmarks, to protect the face from UV rays, or to treat skin disorders such as eczema. Another hope is to create films that contain drugs, which can be released slowly onto skin to treat disease or wounds.