Scientists Invent Second Skin that Can Hide Skin Problems

June 28, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. artificial /ˌɑr təˈfɪʃ əl/ (adj.) – not natural
ExampleThe product contains no artificial ingredients.

2. cosmetic /kɒzˈmɛt ɪk/ (adj.) – involving the improvement of a person’s appearance
Example: Innovations in cosmetic surgery helped medical practitioners cure serious skin conditions.

3. adhesive /ædˈhi sɪv/ (adj.) – describing something that sticks
Example: The nurse used an adhesive bandage to cover the wound.

4. potential /pəˈtɛn ʃəl/ (adj.) – possible or capable of being something
Example: The new skin product is a potential cure for dry skin.

5. ailment /ˈeɪl mənt/ (n.) – a sickness or disease
Example: He wants to consult a dermatologist about his skin ailment.


Read the text below.
Experts discover an artificial second skin that can be used to hide wrinkles, eye bags, and other skin problems.

Scientists from Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed a skin-like film that they claim to be effective in protecting and enhancing human skin. Their study, which was published in the journal Nature Materials, involved 170 test subjects.

According to the researchers, they used chemicals approved by the Food and Drug Administration to create the second skin. According to Robert Langer, a professor of biological engineering at MIT, their team created a library of hundreds of long chains of siloxane–a chemical widely used to create cosmetic products. Out of these chains, they found one that enabled them to achieve the properties they wanted: elastic, invisible, durable, moisturizing, and adhesive.

The new product, which is being developed by a small, privately-owned Cambridge company called Olivo Laboratories, will also be used for medical purposes in the future, according to Langer. However, for the meantime, the second skin will be used only for cosmetic purposes while further improvements are being done.

UCLA School of Medicine dermatology professor Greg Henderson believes that the product could be a big seller if it worked well. He thinks that the second skin will mostly attract consumers from the skincare or cosmetic market.

On the other hand, R. Vincent Falanga, a dermatology professor at Boston University School of Medicine, is hopeful that the potential benefits will extend beyond cosmetic use. He believes that the product’s qualities can possibly enable it to cure serious skin ailments as well.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Why do you think Henderson believes that the second skin will be popular in the skincare or cosmetic market?
·         Would you like to try using the second skin? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think some people do not want to look old?
·         How can people take care of their skin without spending too much money? Explain your answer.

June 28, 2016