Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania are currently working on a technology that could permanently erase scar and wrinkles. It uses a groundbreaking technology that enables the skin to regenerate, leaving no trace.
Researchers said that this technology could not only revolutionize the beauty industry. Apart from its application in wrinkle removal, it could also provide effective and quicker ways for wounds to heal.
Hair Follicle and Scarring
According to the study, published in the journal Science, the skin could revive its healing power without scarring by regenerating fatty cells in the skin called adipocytes, which are responsible for a glowing skin. Scarring usually happens when the skin loses these adipocytes.
UPenn Professor George Cotsarelis, as reported by the Telegraph, said that a special molecule called Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP) plays an important role in skin regeneration. The BMP is released by the hair follicle, which in turn responsible in keeping a glowing and scar-free skin.
“Typically, myofibroblasts were thought to be incapable of becoming a different type of cell. But our work shows we have the ability to influence these cells, and that they can be efficiently and stably converted into adipocytes,” Cotsarelis was quoted as saying by the Telegraph.
Cotsarelis, however, pointed out that the skin’s fatty cells deplete as a person gets older. Individuals with compromised immune system, including those with HIV, have a low supply of adipocytes. This makes wound-healing harder for them.
“Our findings can potentially move us toward a new strategy to regenerate adipocytes in wrinkled skin, which could lead us to brand new anti-ageing treatments,” he added.
Scar tissue does not have any adipocytes, but another type of skin cells called myofibroblasts. These cells were blamed for the rough and hardened appearance of scarred skin. Hair follicles in scar tissue are also damaged, which makes them recognizable from the rest of the skin.
The researchers realized that fatty cells develop separately, but not independently. Cotsarelis, for instance, form after the hair follicle. They have learned that hair follicle signals the formation of the BMP to trigger growth of fatty cells, making the surrounding tissue healthy again.