|The New York Times posted an article last month with this headline: ‘Second Skin’ May Reduce Wrinkles, Eyebags, Scientists Say. If you continue reading, you will find that title to be slightly misleading. Let’s break down what the article actually states. A silicone solution is applied to your skin and becomes a mesh that stretches and covers your skin with a transparent film that will last for up to 24 hours. It will not reduce wrinkles, just hide them underneath the transparent mask.
You can’t criticize a scientist for trying to make money. We don’t pledge a Hippocratic-type oath that forbids us from benefitting financially from our breakthroughs. It would definitely not be the first time that somebody with a PhD tried to sell us the key to immortality.
This “second skin” product is not very different from the liquid bandages you can purchase in the supermarket. What is different is the quality of the texture and its transparency. I have seen acrylate and siloxane polymers used in a “natural” liquid bandage, so the materials are not necessarily new. However, I do appreciate the improvements they promise: The polymer forms a transparent, stretchy film that feels nice and lasts for 24 hours. Who would not want a pleasant film that can help with conditions such as eczema?
However, it is not a second skin as the article claims. Skin is a living tissue and silicon film is not alive. There is no way that this product can fight wrinkles, it simply hides them temporarily.
As for cosmetic applications, I see this as a temporary make-up that can perhaps decrease the need for blepharoplasty (eye lift). However, our Collagen Serum paired with Vitamin A Cream already decreases this need and our results don’t have to be washed away every 24 hours. This product does not emulate young skin. It does not emulate skin at all. It makes a film that will stretch and smooth the skin as the monomers polymerize. The resulting film is not alive and cannot replace skin. Think of it more like a transparent band-aid or surgical dressing that cannot be seen easily.
If the FDA approves this product, it will be very useful for certain skin conditions. If they can make it easy to use, it will be a good tool to help with water loss and healing of the skin. It will be interesting to see how many uses cosmetic companies will come up with for this “Second Skin”.
-Dr. Hannah Sivak