GOOD ENOUGH FOR SPACE

Here’s how as­tro­nauts have in­spired serums and mois­turis­ers, says pearlyn tham

Prestige (Thailand) - - BEAUTY -

it’s been more than 50 years since Rus­sian cos­mo­naut Yuri Ga­garin be­came the first hu­man to char­ter the un­known depths of space in his Vos­tok 1 space­craft.

While hu­mankind hasn’t built in­ter­ga­lac­tic cities or cul­ti­vated ama­ranth on Mars since, we are still fas­ci­nated with that ex­pan­sive mys­te­ri­ous realm way out (or up) there. We are cu­ri­ous about what as­tro­nauts do, eat and wear in space.

Dur­ing the 1960s fash­ion houses like Paco Ra­banne and Cour­règes prepped us for a fu­ture where we’d be wear­ing plas­tic shift dresses at space par­ties (it never hap­pened). More re­cently, Chanel and Coach launched space travel-in­spired col­lec­tions; the for­mer erected a rocket at the Grand Palais last year while the lat­ter launched, not a space cap­sule, but a sold-out cap­sule col­lec­tion filled with NASA em­blems.

What about skincare? There’s a lot sci­en­tists can learn about how hu­man skin be­haves and changes in an outof-this-world en­vi­ron­ment and how lack of grav­ity can mean good or bad for your com­plex­ion. And you know it’s se­ri­ous busi­ness when the space

agen­cies are them­selves spon­sor­ing stud­ies on how hu­man skin re­acts in outer space.

For in­stance, about a decade ago, the Euro­pean Space Agency was be­hind a hu­man phys­i­ol­ogy ex­per­i­ment — aptly named Skincare — to learn more about hy­dra­tion, wa­ter loss, ex­ces­sive dry­ness and in­creased cell loss and age­ing.

Space sta­tions keep hu­mid­ity lev­els very low to pre­vent mould and fun­gus from breed­ing. Such a dry en­vi­ron­ment is bad news for skin health and sea­soned as­tro­nauts have spo­ken about how they ex­pe­ri­ence dry, thin­ning skin in space.

In the Skincare study, re­searchers found that a trip into space re­sulted in de­creased skin elas­tic­ity and den­sity, and thin­ning of the top­most layer — con­cerns that most of us back on earth also as­so­ciate with age­ing skin.

Over in Asia, skincare gi­ant Shiseido and the Na­tional Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Agency of Ja­pan Aerospace Ex­plo­ration Agency also con­ducted re­search us­ing a closed-off iso­la­tion cham­ber train­ing fa­cil­ity at the lat­ter’s Tsukuba Space Cen­tre, where re­searchers ob­served “an in­creased dis­tor­tion in fa­cial ex­pres­sion” on those who stayed in the cham­ber.

While these stud­ies have not led to the for­mu­la­tion of skincare prod­ucts di­rectly, there are a num­ber of brands in the mar­ket that have been well in­spired by outer space.

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