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New Research Creates Protective Cream Similar to Newborn Skin
Posted: March 31, 2009
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The corneocytes were also studied using electron microscopy, yielding their size, shape and water content. But equally important is how the mixture arranges itself. Lipid molecules are shaped something like lollipops, with a round end that prefers to be surrounded by water and a stick that prefers to make a raft with other lollipop sticks.
VC contains several different lengths of lipids, which form different arrangements as the temperature changes. The result is that VC fulfils different functions inside and outside the womb, just as butter behaves differently in the oven and on the table. Again, the ESRF’s synchrotron light was used to illuminate the corneocytes and lipids together and look for any clumps or other ordering. Once they knew exactly what VC was made of and how it was arranged, they set about creating a synthetic version.
A readily available natural source of the sort of fat molecules needed is lanolin, the oil found in sheep’s wool, which is currently used as a skin treatment by some nursing mothers. The team isolated the fats that were the closest match to the measurements they had of VC, and used them to create a synthetic solution with the same behavior. The corneocytes were synthesized by M.H.M. Oudshoorn from the Utrecht University.
When combined, these synthetic ingredients made a cream that looked the same using both X-ray measurements and light microscopy as VC, while allowing the researchers to alter the water content and other properties at will. After pre-clinical testing, the developed creams showed great potential for use on disrupted and underdeveloped skin: the skin barrier recovered much more quickly when synthetic VC was applied.
These promising results will give rise to future clinical studies, in order to prove the benefits of the newly developed creams in treating healthy, dry and diseased human skin.