Scientists have developed a skin cream that instantly heals sun damage and blocks a process that causes wrinkles.
Researchers say it is a next-generation sunscreen that not only protects against sunburn, but also repairs the minor damage caused to the skin by the sun quickly and in real time.
The cream contains an artificial version of melanin – the natural molecule in the skin that most people know causes suntans, but which also heals the skin after it is hit by the sun’s rays.
In fact, scientists have created a “super melanin” in the lab that works even better.
Used in a skin cream, it captures and neutralizes harmful “free radicals” – molecules in the body triggered by ultraviolet light from the sun that can destroy the collagen needed for plump, elastic and youthful skin.
Scientists have developed a skin cream that instantly heals sun damage and blocks a process that causes wrinkles
With prolonged use, the cream could potentially prevent sagging, fine lines and wrinkles that appear on faces after years of sun exposure.
Dr. Kurt Lu, a member of the scientific team behind the breakthrough and a dermatologist and skin biologist from Northwestern University in the US, said: “Many people try remedies after a sunburn to relieve the pain or a cream to reduce the inflammation.” But before, there really wasn’t anything that could actually repair the damage the sun did to the skin.
“This repair is constantly needed because walking bare-faced in the sun every day exposes you to a low-grade, constant bombardment of ultraviolet light.”
Professor Nathan Gianneschi, the bioengineer and chemist at Northwestern University who helped create the supermelanin, said: “We set out to find a scientific solution to a problem that doesn’t yet have a solution – the damage that the sun does to the skin.”
“When it comes to face creams that claim to combat the aging effects of the sun, there is a lot of hype and hope.
“But we have a science-backed cream that can continually repair skin when exposed to the sun, and we hope it will be available for daily use within 18 months.”
Researchers say it’s a next-generation sunscreen that not only protects against sunburn, but also repairs the minor damage the sun does to the skin quickly and in real time (stock image)
Researchers tested supermelanin mixed with water, which they applied to the skin of ten people who had undergone plastic surgery.
The skin was treated with a medication intended to cause blisters like those seen in extreme sun damage that causes sunburn.
When the Super Melanin Skin Cream was applied to the 10 skin samples, half of the skin samples did not blister.
This was compared to skin samples not treated with the cream, which all showed damage.
This is evidence that the artificial melanin can prevent and repair skin damage, although more research is needed into the use of the cream applied directly to people’s faces and bodies.
Further evidence that the cream can help skin heal faster from sun damage in real time came when it was applied to the skin of mice exposed to ultraviolet radiation, such as the sun’s rays.
Just like melanin in the skin, the cream responds to the way the sun’s ultraviolet light causes certain molecules in the body to become chemically activated “free radicals,” which then attack harmful building blocks of the skin, including cells and proteins. bounce around.
The melanin neutralizes these free radicals and stops this damage quickly.
It aims to prevent free radicals from breaking down the collagen framework beneath the skin, thereby preventing some of the collagen loss with age that leads to sagging skin and wrinkles.
It could also prevent free radicals from damaging DNA in skin cells, reducing the risk of developing skin cancer after decades of sun exposure, although more evidence is needed for this.
Experts hope the same cream could help skin heal from chemical burns, which also trigger a flood of free radicals, or from radiation, which is used to treat cancer.
It could even help combat the effects of everyday pollutants that age skin, such as car exhaust.
The “super melanin” is designed to have a more absorbent and sponge-like structure than the body’s own melanin, allowing it to absorb more free radicals.
When the body reaches its limits for the amount of sun damage it can repair naturally, the non-toxic cream can step in to combat the rest.
Researchers also say it appears to trigger a helpful immune response in the body that further fights skin damage.
A breakthrough study has been published in the journal Nature npj Regenerative Medicine.
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