There is no stopping the skin's aging process, but Igor Sokolov, a Physics professor at Clarkson University, doesn't believe your skin has to look as old as you are.
Scientists have known for some time that human epithelial tissues lose elasticity with aging, but until recently they didn't know all of the reasons. Chemical & Engineering News magazine recently reported on research conducted by Sokolov and his research team together with Craig D. Woodworth, Clarkson professor of Biology, which sheds new light on the causes. Sokolov has been using both atomic force and immunoflouresence microscopy to compare young and old epithelial skin cells. The magazine reported that the Clarkson scientists found that cells become rigid as they age. "Elasticity of these cells is important," remarks Sokolov. "In addition to cosmetic benefits, elastic epithelial cells help maintain the skin's integrity and facilitate healing after an injury."
Loss of elasticity is also implicated in the pathogenesis of many progressive diseases of aging, such as hardening of the arteries, joint stiffness, cataracts, Alzheimer's and dementia. The Clarkson team observed the increasing density of filamentous fibers, known as f-actin, is a major source of the increasing rigidity.
Sokolov used the Internet to research the process for making homemade emollients and then concocted a skin cream containing compounds known to interfere with f-actin polymerization. In collaboration with St. Lawrence University professor Joseph S. Erlichman, Sokolov tested his cream on hairless laboratory mice. After five months of daily testing the skin treated with the active cream gradually became softer.
Sokolov reported at the annual Applied Physics Society meeting that he had been treating himself daily with the emollient near one eye and a placebo cream on the other. The magazine reported "to the untrained eye" it appeared as if the cream was working - fewer lines and wrinkles are evident around the eye that had been getting the active cream."
Chemical & Engineering News is a member-supported weekly magazine of the American Chemical Society. It is the most read and the only global publication serving the chemical process industries.