Celebrity skin?

Paul Raven @ 10-07-2009

wrinkled skinGot epidermis? Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany sure have – they’ve developed an automated system for producing two-layer artificial skin at a commercial scale:

The process starts with small pieces of skin, which are sterilised and then cut into pieces, modified with enzymes and isolated into two cell fractions. These are then grown separately on cell culture surfaces, before being combined into a two-layer sheet. The whole process takes about three weeks.

The flexible lower layer gives the tissue natural elasticity, but two-layer skins have until now been too expensive to mass produce.

The synthetic skins currently available are eventually rejected by the human body because they don’t contain blood vessels. Jörg Saxler, Fraunhofer’s technology manager, told Wired.co.uk that they have created skin with blood vessels using pig cells, and are working on a fully synthetic version.

Obviously the first take-up of this stuff will be medical in nature – grafts for burn victims, so on and so forth. But once it gets cheaper, the street will find its own use for the same technology. First up will be rough-and-ready elective cosmetic grafts: replace your aged original skin, or maybe go patchwork with different shades and levels of melanin!

But some sort of generic off-the-shelf skin won’t be sufficient for the glitterati. Will we be able to buy celebrity-endorsed brands and strains of skin? Will famous models and musicians have their skin cloned as the ultimate high-price catalogue-cap of their personal clothing labels? Will you be able to literally wear Armani or Hugo Boss or 50-Cent? [image by /charlene]


Easy-off tattoos for the impulsive

Paul Raven @ 19-11-2007

tattooist A lot of people don’t really give proper consideration to the fact that tattoos are, pretty much by definition, forever. For those people, good news arrives in the form of a new type of tattoo ink that is more easily removed by laser treatment; the ink itself is water soluble, and is encased in tiny balls of polymer which can be dissolved by a single laser treatment rather than seven or eight.

Now, perhaps I’m biased from being a tattoo collector and body-mod enthusiast, but this strikes me a product filling what should be a non-existent niche. As any responsible tattooist worth their needles should tell any prospective customer, if you’re going to take long enough to think about using a special ink in case you decide to get the tattoo removed in a few years time, you probably shouldn’t be bothering to get the tattoo at all. [Image by ElvertBarnes]

[tags]body modification, tattoo, cosmetics[/tags]