An elastic second skin


We report the synthesis and application of an elastic, wearable crosslinked polymer layer (XPL) that mimics the properties of normal, youthful skin. XPL is made of a tunable polysiloxane-based material that can be engineered with specific elasticity, contractility, adhesion, tensile strength and occlusivity. XPL can be topically applied, rapidly curing at the skin interface without the need for heat- or light-mediated activation. In a pilot human study, we examined the performance of a prototype XPL that has a tensile modulus matching normal skin responses at low strain (<40%), and that withstands elongations exceeding 250%, elastically recoiling with minimal strain-energy loss on repeated deformation. The application of XPL to the herniated lower eyelid fat pads of 12 subjects resulted in an average 2-grade decrease in herniation appearance in a 5-point severity scale. The XPL platform may offer advanced solutions to compromised skin barrier function, pharmaceutical delivery and wound dressings.

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Figure 1: Mechanical properties of XPL and its crosslinking kinetics.
Figure 2: The visual impact of a 2-grade improvement (from grade 3 to grade 1) after applying XPL to the under-eye area.
Figure 3: Time-lapse photos extracted from video footage of skin retraction following a dermatological tenting test.
Figure 4: Pilot study evaluating XPL-induced changes in skin elasticity (Study B) when worn over 24 h on normal volar forearm skin.
Figure 5: Clinical data showing enhanced skin barrier function and sustained skin hydration for subjects (n = 22) with dry skin (Study C).
Figure 6: Second skin performance with normal wear.


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The authors thank G. Grove and Z. D. Draelos for their helpful discussions and M. Su for her assistance with the in vivo use studies.

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B.Y., S.-Y.K., F.H.S., B.A.G. and R.R.A. contributed to the design and analysis of the in vivo use studies. A.A., N.R. and M.P. contributed to the design and development of material synthesis and topical formulation. A.A., N.R., M.P., A.N. and D.G.A. contributed to the characterization and analysis of the in vitro mechanical and rheological data. S.-Y.K. supervised the execution of the in vivo use studies. A.P. conducted in vivo Study B. B.Y. and R.L. managed the research efforts. B.Y., A.A., A.N., B.A.G., R.R.A. and R.L. wrote the manuscript with the help of the co-authors.

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Correspondence to Robert Langer.

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All of the authors hold a financial interest in Living Proof and/or Olivo Labs.

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Yu, B., Kang, SY., Akthakul, A. et al. An elastic second skin. Nature Mater 15, 911–918 (2016).

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