State University and China University of Mining
and Technology have found that certain types of synthetic skins are
capable of reacting to skin creams similarly to how animal skins react.
Bhushan, a Howard D. Winbigler Professor of mechanical engineering at Ohio
State University, and Wei Tang, an engineer at China University of Mining and
Technology, have discovered that some synthetic skins are
comparable to animal skins in the way that they react to generic skin
skin is being developed for burn victims that do not have enough healthy skin
left to attempt skin cell regeneration. To compensate, animal skin was
considered a viable option, but there are many problems associated with the use
of animal skin.
addition to ethical issues, animal skin is hard to obtain, expensive and gives
highly variable results because of individual skin variability," said
Bhushan. "Animal skin will vary from animal to animal, which makes it hard
to anticipate how it might affect burn victims individually. But synthetic
skin's composition is consistent, making it a more reliable
replace the use of animal skin, researchers have been working to develop
synthetic skins that act and feel like real skin. Now, Bhushan and Tang have
found that certain types of synthetic skins react to skin creams much like the
way animal skins react.
able to determine this similarity by using an atomic force microscope to view
the skin at a scale of 100 nanometers. At this level, researchers can witness
cellular events that are vital to understanding how the synthetic skin reacts.
The width of a human hair is 1,000 times larger than 100 nanometers.
applying the cream to two types of synthetic skin, researchers found that the
skin was able to perform similar actions as rat skin.
skin cream reduced the surface roughness, increased the skin's ability to
absorb moisture from the environment, and softened the skin surface," said
Bhushan. "After treatment with skin cream, the trends of the
peak-to-valley distance of the two synthetic skins and rat skin were the same,
and both of them decreased. This indicates the skin cream treatment smoothed
the skin surface."
step is to test different skin treatments on the synthetic skins and improve
testing methods for measuring specific skin characteristics.