The first skin cream ‘that can fight sun damage AND stop wrinkles at same time’
A NEW skin cream heals sun damage as it happens and blocks a process that causes wrinkles, scientists claimed yesterday.
The lotion contains an artificial version of melanin, the natural molecule responsible for tanning but which also heals the skin after it is hit by the sun’s rays.
The ‘super-melanin’ neutralises free radicals – molecules in the body triggered by ultraviolet light from the sun that can destroy the collagen needed for healthy skin.
Applying the cream long-term could potentially prevent the sagging, fine lines and wrinkles that appear after years of sun exposure. Dr Kurt Lu, a dermatologist and part of the team behind the breakthrough, said: ‘There was nothing before this to actually repair the damage done to skin by the sun.’
Professor Nathan Gianneschi, a bioengineer and chemist at the Northwestern University in the US who helped to make the super-melanin, said: ‘When it comes to face creams claiming to tackle the ageing effects of the sun, there is a lot of hype and hope. But we have a cream with science behind it which can continuously repair the skin as it is exposed to the sun, and we hope it might be available for daily use within 18 months.’
The super-melanin was tested on skin from ten individuals who had had plastic surgery. Further research is needed – with the cream applied directly to faces and bodies. A study on the breakthrough appeared in the journal npj Regenerative Medicine.
Dermatologist Professor John McGrath, of King’s College London, said: ‘This is a great example of basic science from multiple disciplines coming together to invent a product that is going to have many applications.’